Does that sound a bit ridiculous?
Well, I would have said so too until himself suggested that since its half term and large boy is almost 9 and the clocks went back so it’s not such a late night, would large boy like to stay up and watch Top Gear with us this week.
A family event
Even back in the day before Top Gear became an entertainment show, when it was all about the cars, watching it was a family event in my parents’ house. Just like Doctor Who or when the BBC made all the series of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. We’d all sit down together and watch as a family.
My dad would inevitably disagree with the more ludicrous reviews from Jeremy Clarkson, my mum would agree on all the practical comments and my brother and I would wait avidly for the thrilling cars to come on. Who wants to see a Vauxhall Vectra when we could be watching Jaguars and TVRs?
Since leaving home and meeting himself, Top Gear turned into more of a personality driven show. But we loved it none the less, we’d watch it with housemates and then just the two of us. For years himself had a magazine subscription and I’d read each month’s issue too – especially the lovely James May’s articles.
Then all the changes of more recent years came along. Chris Evans was a bit shouty and trying too hard, Matt Leblanc was surprisingly good and I do miss him. Flintoff and McGuiness don’t know what they’re doing and are clearly just mucking about having fun, but Chris Harris does a decent job of tempering that with experience and expertise.
I guess it’s already evident that I’m not a stereotypically girly girl. I never had boy bands festooning my bedroom walls. Yeah so I did have Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. But I also had a Jaguar XK8 posted up, I just loved the lines and the sleek sophistication.
Sure that wasn’t really mirrored in the humour and style of the Jeremy Clarkson presentations, but Tiff Needell and Quentin Wilson were so quietly knowledgable and informative. Hell, I wanted to be Vicki Butler-Henderson.
Passing it on
We’ve introduced the boys to bits of the Clarkson, May and Hammond years’ Top Gear evolution – they loved watching all of the attempts to destroy a Toyota Hilux and guffawed at tumbling-over Robin Reliants. Both boys love their car books and we have fab photos of them as toddlers perusing Top Gear magazine, showing a Subaru history book to Colin McRae on TV or waving at a Stirling Moss interview.
But now the time as come for large boy’s involvement to be promoted from YouTube and Dave reruns, up to watching it live on a Sunday night with his parents – just like himself and I both did with ours.
Its not the same sort of tradition as reading The Night Before Christmas, making gingerbread houses or experiencing family camp. But, for our family, it is quintessentially “us”. Large boy getting to stay up late and watch Top Gear is yet another sign that he’s growing up. He loved it and spent lots of time on Monday retelling anyone who would listen about what he’d seen.
I’m trying not to dwell on how this means he’s no longer a little boy. Instead, I’m looking forward to a different sort of shared experience with him – more on an equal footing than with a clear parent and child hierarchy. Not so different I suppose from him recommending books to me.