I’m about to spend a week driving in the UK. I’ll be reading Ben Elton’s “Gridlock” (review from ‘Punch’ 1991). The book title alone is personally relevant given the time I’ll be spending in s ‘Small Car” (Peugeot 205) on infamous roads!
I’ll be driving on the M25 (nicknamed ‘Road to Hell), the London North Circular, A4, A40 M4, M40, M3, M23, M27, and other lesser known but equally mystical highways. I do find British roads fascintating. There is even a webpage describing infamous bad Motorway junctions!. Such a thoughtful service to internet enabled drivers.
The infamous Swindon “magic roundabout” is just one of those life experiences that everyone should have
It is the ultimate ‘traffic calming’ device. You have no idea where you should be going, where another confused driver might be coming from, or who has the right of way. The ony safe strategy is to drive extremely slowly, keep looking around, and ignore your mobile phone..!
I must confess my road-geeky-ness inspired me to read Jack Kerouac’s book.
I love the description of Ben’s book as a “Comedy Thriller“. That description applies directly to roads and junctions like the Magic Roundabout!
Excerpt from the linked review:
“Gridlock is about that den of capitalist conspiracy, that teeming cesspit of iniquity, that well-known centre of the military-industrial complex, the…er…car industry. Yes, that’s right. Elton has got a bee in his bonnet about motor cars. He doesn’t like their macho image, he doesn’t like their snooty names, and he doesn’t like the carbon monoxide they spew out into the atmosphere. Above all, he doesn’t like traffic jams. Faced with a traffic jam, Elton starts frothing at the mouth with righteous indignation. In Elton’s exaggerated, hyped-up view, traffic jams are responsible for the death of innocent babies. In one scene, for instance, a heart destined for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital gets held up in a traffic jam and the patient dies.”
When I return I’ll let you know if the actual book lives up to this generally rather unencouraging review. I know the roads so well already they are like old friends
Sleep tight, Wendy