911 Porsche World - - The Usual Sus­pects -

It’s all very well hav­ing a dash-cam – and frankly it’s be­com­ing so dan­ger­ous out there on the roads that I’m think­ing se­ri­ously of buy­ing one for each of my reg­u­larly used cars, es­pe­cially as the de­vices be­come ever more af­ford­able and com­pe­tent. But the ob­vi­ous corol­lary is that one be­comes one­self the sub­ject of some­one else’s footage. Or more likely, as the de­vices pro­lif­er­ate, many other peo­ple’s footage. I have no prob­lem with that – if you are be­hav­ing your­self, why would you? – but, even so, it was rather sober­ing to see an e-mail in my in-box headed ‘This morn­ing’s drive on the M40’. What on earth is this all about, then…?

Turned out it was from 911 & Porsche World reader and fel­low-944 owner Paul Barker who, driv­ing to work in his MercedesBenz CLS, had spot­ted me in my 924S, on my way to Porsche-torque in Uxbridge for the Fe­bru­ary is­sue’s how-to story. At­tached were a cou­ple of clips of the ‘S’ from his dash-cam, and which Paul kindly thought I might en­joy see­ing as much as he ob­vi­ously had watch­ing an­other transaxle car in ac­tion. (And yes, I did. Thanks, Paul!) Nat­u­rally I can’t share them with you here in a print mag­a­zine, but I think a screen grab, re­pro­duced here with Paul’s per­mis­sion, does show the car off to quite good ef­fect – not­with­stand­ing the red rear bumper that I fit­ted a few months back. And as I noted in my re­ply to Paul, ‘I'm glad I have the wider tele-dial wheels with the dif­fer­ent off­set – I think they look so much bet­ter than the stan­dard 924S rims, which al­ways ap­pear a bit awkward to me.’

What made me smile even more, though, was the fact that the sec­ond clip, a cou­ple of miles or so fur­ther on, where the two lanes for the M25 start to peel off, showed some go­faster Audi or other cut­ting up both me (then in what was ef­fec­tively lane three) and, to a lesser ex­tent, Paul (who was in lane two), as Mr Im­por­tant darted across from lane four to lane one. I had no idea at the time that this was be­ing recorded from the ve­hi­cle right next to me, of course, but I clearly re­mem­bered that mi­nor in­ci­dent which, even if hardly the mo­tor­ing mis­de­meanour of the cen­tury, was both in­con­sid­er­ate and po­ten­tially hazardous. And com­pletely un­nec­es­sary, too, be­cause even at my steady rate of progress I could eas­ily and safely have placed my­self in ei­ther of the two M25 exit lanes way be­yond where the Audi ended up, baulked by slower traf­fic.

We seem, in­ci­den­tally, to have be­come ever more cau­tious about show­ing num­ber plates in any kind of pub­lic arena or medium, not­with­stand­ing the per­haps blind­ingly ob­vi­ous fact that their en­tirely rea­son­able pur­pose is to en­able any given ve­hi­cle to be iden­ti­fied by any one at any time – or that our ev­ery move­ment is in any case be­ing recorded by prob­a­bly hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, of ANPR and other cam­eras over the course of a week. TV is the worst of­fender, with even news and cur­rent af­fairs pro­grammes blur­ring most – but bizarrely not all – plates that might be in shot, pre­sum­ably on the ba­sis of some data-pro­tec­tion non­sense or other. I have even seen clips of am­bu­lances and marked po­lice cars with their plates hid­den. Se­ri­ously? (And on a sim­i­lar note, you do have to ques­tion why uni­formed – as op­posed to plain-clothes – po­lice of­fi­cers might have their faces blurred. Are all those who en­counter them in real life – re­mem­ber that? – later taken aside and ‘neu­ralised’, like in those won­der­ful Men in Black movies?)

I have even be­gun to won­der whether I ought to blur the plates of my cars in any of my own pic­tures that I now post on Face­book, and for a split-sec­ond I even thought about do­ing the same with the im­age shown here. But then san­ity pre­vailed, when I re­mem­bered that for that to have any pur­pose or ef­fect I would have to track down ev­ery­one who has ever seen any of my Our cars re­ports these last 20 years, and neu­ralise them, as well. As Mark Twain is widely be­lieved to have ob­served (and so prob­a­bly did not), if you al­ways tell the truth, you never have to re­mem­ber what you said. Or, in a mod­ern con­text, where you were, and when and why.

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