WE KNOWWHERE YOU’RE GOING…ANDWHERE YOU’VE BEEN, TOO!
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.