Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Latte, home

I'm warming to the Australian version of Top Gear.
No, scrap that. Mark we warmed. As of last night.
I didn't really dig last year's series at all - though the GPS versus dude-who-can-track-things bit was kind of interesting - and I remember thinking that if this was the first international franchise for Top Gear, that it didn't seem like it translated too well.
See also: the US versions of Men Behaving Badly, Kath & Kim, Mr Bean, etc. You get the idea. Taking a show that works so well because it is British (or Australian, as the case may be) and doing it somewhere else, and totally missing the point.
But if Top Gear Australia is missing this elusive point, it is hitting another one dead center, splitting Robin's proverbial arrow in twain.

Australia's relationship with, and in turn Australians's relationship(s) with, cars, is altogether unlike that of our friends across the pond (sorry - I know there is no one body of water between here and the UK, but I just like saying "pond"), and so the show requires a different angle. Cars in Australia need to fulfil so many duties. They need to be equally comfortable with sitting in traffic on Punt Road, blasting across the desert Mad Max-style to certain doom, hugging the corners of the Great Ocean Road, striking fear into the eardrums of mortals on Chapel St on a Friday night, looking fully sick doing reverse donuts in the carpark next to Frankston Pier, and maintaining dignity while dropping the kids off at the pool - that's not a euphemism in this case. And to convey this versatile multi-talentedness, this jack- or even jill-of-all-tradesism, we need a versatile multi-talented host-of-all-trades. Ladies and gentlemen: James Morrison.

Reading his resumé aloud is often drowned out by the accompanying cries of, "What? Huh? Are you serious? Is there anything this guy can't do?!" He's famous for being a trumpet player, he's one of those guys who can play the pants off nearly every other instrument, but he has also found time to do the following:
  • pilot
  • abseiling (while playing trumpet, I hear)
  • rally driver
  • yachter (if that's the right word)
  • triathlete
I've heard a few more, but am finding it hard to prove them via the Internet. But he does a lot of things. So that's why I'm tuning in. I want to know what else this guy can do within the confines of a show about cars. TV host? Sure. Stunt driver? Why not? He just may be our Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris never played with Ray Charles, though.


  1. "Chuck Norris never played with Ray Charles, though"

    Yes he did. How'd you think Ray went blind?