Thursday 6 September 2018

So Long As It's Black

Walking past a car park the other day, I noticed a line of bulky black cars and thought, 'Ah, looks like there's a funeral.' Then I looked again and realised that no, there was no funeral – this is what cars look like these days, black and bulky. Streets of parked cars often resemble some kind of cortege, and many slab-paved former front gardens around my way contain nothing but one big black monster parked in front of the living room window. How did it come to this? Surely it wasn't that long ago that black seemed the last colour anyone would choose for their car – too redolent of the fusty old days and police cars with blue lights on top?
  Actually it was that long ago. The trend towards black in all things began well before the end of the last century, and it shows no sign of going into reverse now, at least as far as cars go. One of the many little things that make Wellington such a pleasant city is the fact that cars there are overwhelmingly white. No one seems to know quite why, though it probably has something to do with importing so many of them from Asia, where nearly half the cars manufactured are white (again why? Why does Asia prefer white cars to black? Why don't we?). Over here car owners seem to be living out Henry Ford's 'any colour so long as it's black' maxim. But even Ford probably didn't mean it – from the start, his cars were usually available in a wide range of colours. Only now and only here in the UK, it seems, have we finally embraced the black-only ethos. After all this time, have we finally succeeded in painting it black? If so, I don't think this is quite what Presuming Ed (see Withnail and I) had in mind.

Tomorrow I'm off to Edinburgh for a few days  – a family wedding. I shall not be wearing a kilt.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a London thing - specifically a 'groupthink' thing, you also notice it in winter where everybody on the tube seems to wear a black coat for fear of standing out. The more cynical amongst us may also think that this extends to love of the EU and other such popular metropolitan fancies...