Thursday, July 30, 2015

Prime Deprivatioin

Oh, woe is me!

This sad tale begins…  Well, it begins sometime earlier in this century when I was introduced by my beloved husband to what is, and always will be, the best TV show ever produced (in my humble opinion).  After 22 series on the BBC, it came to a crashing end when the allegedly inebriated star punched out one of the producers over sandwiches and was, subsequently, fired on the spot.

If you haven’t already figured it out, the show is Top Gear.  And the star is Jeremy Clarkson.

Jeremy Clarkson, not to put too fine a point on it, is an ass.  But he’s a loveable ass and, while the somewhat less than dignified end of an era brought on by his somewhat less than good judgment was somewhat less than a surprise to me, I was saddened by the seeming finality of it all.

Top Gear is a show about cars.  Or, more accurately, about vehicles.  It is British in all aspects:  content, humour and make and model.  It’s also brilliantly inspirational.  Sometimes, when I’m driving, I pretend that I am a Top Gear host and I deliver witty monologues in my head about the imaginary super car I’m test driving and reviewing for my segment on the show.  Alternately, I imagine the Stig sitting next to me in the passenger seat, coaching me around Hammerhead and through Gambon across the finish in a reasonably priced car.  Of course, my final lap scores me the fastest time.  Eat your heart out, Angelina Jolie! 

Now for those who know me and know also that I hate driving as a general rule, but acknowledge that it is a very handy skill, may be a bit puzzled as to why I have dubbed Top Gear as the best TV show ever.  It’s true that I possess only a rudimentary understanding of how cars work.  Horse power, though having been explained to me several times, remains a mystery to me beyond the bigger the number, the more powerful the engine.  I have a vague inkling about what torque means and does.  I know that the V in V8, for example, refers to the cylinders in an engine being configured in a V-shape.  I know that distributor caps make great pencil holders!  In the simplest terms, I appreciate the art of design and designing cars is as much art as it is science.  There is beauty in the sculptural result of a process that holds my very life in its hands.  I am in awe of the knowledge, the skill and the talent that provides me with the transportation that I rely on.  And to have it so expertly, humorously and thrillingly explained to me by the Top Gear hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, through the magic of television makes me feel good. 

L to R:  Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, James May.
My vehicular heroes!

So, why the woe is me stuff? 

Not, as you may have thought, because Top Gear is over and done. 

Recently it was announced that the Clarkson, May and Hammond trio are reuniting to do a new car show. 

That’s not it, either.

But this is…  The deal for the new show is with Amazon Prime. 

Amazon Prime is a Netflix-like service provided, obviously, by Amazon to its US and (I might be wrong about this and I am investigating) UK customers.  A vastly different service, also called Amazon Prime, is available in Canada, but it’s, at best, a parody of the US/UK version and, I suspect, because I’m highly suspicious that way, is called Amazon Prime to sucker unsuspecting and trusting Canadians to part with $79/year thinking, erroneously as it turns out, that Amazon Prime is Amazon Prime no matter where you live.  The stinkers!  Amazon, I mean.  (I concede that Amazon may not be entirely responsible for this sad oversight and that the CRTC's influence may be a factor.) 

Would I part with $79/year just to watch Clarkson’s, May’s and Hammond’s future antics behind the wheel?  You bet your sweet bippy I would!

But, alas, Amazon seems to think Canada doesn’t need the real Amazon Prime; that we, in our inherent and typically complacent ways, are happy to pay them for free shipping.  (Yep!  That’s one of the featured features of the program!  You pay for free shipping even though you can get it for really free anyway.) 

I am cautiously optimistic that the new show will show up on the Internet somewhere and that I will be able to watch it.  And I hope that it will be as entertaining and informative as Top Gear was (is).  In the meantime, I will re-watch my favourite episodes and continue to expand my limited knowledge about cars and vast appreciation for the incredible and artful technology that moves our world. 

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