Friday 11 October 2013

Vroom vroom

On the Erasmus Students tumblr here.

I am a woman. Although I can appreciate men’s obsession with cars, I will never understand it. The route to my heart tends to be one that teeters on designer heels, rather than revs with a powerful engine. My kind of suede interiors are those which envelop my feet, not those designed for swanky seating, and I have more experience with safety straps which prevent ankles slipping than bodies escaping.

It was thus with muted enthusiasm that I embarked on a visit to the IAA, Frankfurt’s famous annual car show which attracts auto aficionados in their droves. There were traffic jams of people queuing up to photograph the latest models, with cameras flashing and people shouting in a frenzy which I can only compare to that which surrounds the release of a highly-anticipated new collection at fashion week.

My brain must be wired differently, I initially thought. While the intricate embellishments of a couture gown could captivate me for hours and engender a quasi-religious reverence for the talents of its designer, put a car in front of me – whose design has required equally lengthy deliberation, undergone just as many prototypes, demanded the same painstaking attention to detail – and I fail to be moved.

Until last weekend, that is. There was something about the show that swept me along in all the excitement. Was it the glossiness of the bodies, kept optimally glitzy by dedicated helpers holding fluffy cleaning sticks? Or the tone of the engines, appealing to me to reassess their outpourings as friendly purrs rather than hostile roars? Or simply the glamour of it all, with cars displayed in all their glory like catwalk models on display to adoring fans?

Whatever it was, I was completely won over. I watched with wide eyes as new models were rolled out and driven across the stage. I queued for photos inside cabriolets. I pored over brochures detailing the latest hybrid technology with a level of interest formerly only ever exhibited upon the publication of Vogue’s couture reports.

And when we were given a demonstration of an app which parks a car itself, my transformation into a car lover was complete. Now it would be possible to not only wear unsuitable shoes for driving, but also not worry about the consequences of doing so for the car! Genius.

Somehow I think the shoe addiction might have been a safer affliction. Blahniks are certainly cheaper than Bentleys.

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