Alexei Sayle: Is there a typically gay car?

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Indy Lifestyle Online

About 18 months ago I was working on devising a new reality TV programme for my production company Wombat Wombat Wombat Productions PLC Wombat. We have quite a slate of spin-off dramas in pre- production including CSI Wigan and Baywatch Coventry, plus quiz shows including Who Wants To Be A Frigidaire?.

About 18 months ago I was working on devising a new reality TV programme for my production company Wombat Wombat Wombat Productions PLC Wombat. We have quite a slate of spin-off dramas in pre- production including CSI Wigan and Baywatch Coventry, plus quiz shows including Who Wants To Be A Frigidaire?.

The programme I was working on was called Straight Eye For The Queer Guy which features five undeniably heterosexual males comprised of myself (stop sniggering there: my best friend's a libel lawyer), Lieutenant General Anthony Farrah Hockley, former C-in-C UK Armed Forces, BBC foreign correspondent Rageh Omaar, pugnacious one-time England and Leeds FC defender David Batty and mountaineer and author Joe Simpson.

We five are introduced to a super-groomed, gym-buffed, lifestyle-obsessed gay man and give him frank advice on how not to be such a self-obsessed consumerist nelly at the mercy of every designer's whim. My area of expertise, of course, is cars and my brief is to persuade the chosen gay man to drive something more straight. My first problem arose when, during my extensive research, it turned out there is no such thing as an exclusively "gay" car. Sure, I have a feeling that there would probably be a higher- than-average number of Minis, Audi TT's and Jeeps in the car park of a Kylie Minogue concert.

However, thinking of the homosexual men I know I realised their cars are a Jaguar XK8, a new XJR, a new BMW 5-Series and an Audi A3. No link there, apart from the fact that they all have a few bob and there are no crap boxes. (Mind you it's just occurred to me that Graham Norton owns a Porsche Cayenne, but he told me his assistant chose it, so maybe his assistant is straight.)

Now, obviously, in the show we could force our gay victim out of his nice car and put him in a boring one, say a Nissan Almera, Citroën Picasso or a Kia Sedona, but I felt that that wouldn't be hilarious and this led me to the terrifying conclusion that there are no funny cars any more!

I can't tell you how scary this is for the automobilecentric, print-orientated humorist such as myself. (Come to think of it, as far as I know, I'm the only automobilecentric print-oriented humorist there is, so it's even more scary.) Back when I started out as a comedian it was different. I am after all the one who, noticing the numbers of Suzuki SJ Jeeps emerging on the streets of London, coined that line about how "you really need four-wheel drive to go to Sainsbury's". People are still using it to this day. The documentary I presented and part wrote on the Ford Cortina was the most-watched in TV history.

Those were good days: there were so many ludicrous cars about. People made themselves look stupid by sticking to brands regardless of their deficiencies. The car park of any social work department would contain more paper-thin, wobbly-wheeled Citroën 2CVs than all of rural France because their owners thought they were being sophisticated and cosmopolitan. Now, though, there are just good cars in all price brackets. This situation can't be allowed to continue: there simply have to be funny, crap cars or the world doesn't make sense.

Luckily I have many contacts in the industry and they have helped me out enormously in my quest to bring the funny, crap car back to the marketplace. In a fortnight I will reveal how we did it.

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