I bought a car mag today, two of them in fact but I only intended to buy one. It’s Wednesday and that means that it’s Autocar day. I was in town this morning for a meeting and went into WHSmith, avoiding eye contact with the Big Issue seller who was standing in the shelter of the doorway out of the rain. I always feel that I should be buying a copy if all I want is something to read with my coffee in the morning. Instead, I’ll buy another car magazine or worse, carry around an old one. So, I ducked past the poor sod trying not to get wet in the pissing rain which was keeping most of his passing trade away.
I picked my copy of Autocar off the shelf and headed to the till to pay. My eye was drawn to the cover of another magazine which had a picture of the new McLaren MP4 12C and Nick Mason’s F1 GTR on the cover. I’m a big McLaren fan so I reached for it before I registered that it was the new issue of octane. octane is just about my least favourite magazine. It’s better than Practical Caravan but not much and it’s down to the former editor. It’s not his writing which is clean and competent; it’s his attitude. The journalists I enjoy reading the most drive the cars we can’t and try to include us in the experience. Robert Coucher drives the cars we can’t and seems to revel in the exclusiveness of the situation.
There are other things I don’t like about octane. The column on watches written by Nick Foulkes is particularly precious and unpleasant. I don’t like to think about the rare exotics I like being investments and yet they made a special feature about an index they keep of the values of certain marques at auction. What finished things for me was their sponsorship of Salon Prive at the Hurlingham Club. I bought a few more editions because I thought I could just miss out the bits I didn’t like or which particularly annoyed me. I still enjoyed the rest of the magazine. The other writers are excellent as are the photographers and the layout and design. In the end, the things which annoyed me about it overpowered the things which didn’t and I decided I didn’t need to be spending so much on something which was getting on my tits. I could just buy the Daily Mail if that’s what I wanted.
This morning’s discovery of the McLaren story put me into a quandary. In the end, the draw of the story was too strong and I bought the magazine. I haven’t read it yet. I haven’t even opened it. I checked in Smith’s that the story hadn’t been written by Robert Coucher. The magazine is still in the bag. I’ll read the story in bed tonight and hope that I don’t get too annoyed by the rest of it.