September 29, 2014

When are you going to replace that Marty Butch fellow who used to do your road test reports?

That’s one of the questions that people frequently ask Bankstone News.

Well, the short answer is… soon.

Mr Butch’s newly anointed successor, Bankstone News can now exclusively reveal, is a gentleman by the name of Davy Sim.

No relation to that clean-living, rapidly procreating American family who keep destroying themselves, their homes, and their families in freak domestic conflagrations, Mr Sim comes to us highly recommended as someone who knows motors inside out (surely the right way to know them – although, try telling that to some young journalists these days – see separate story) and is a dab hand with anything that needs dabbing, basically.

Mr Sim’s first contribution, expected to be a road test on a strangely coloured Audi A5 Cabriolet, will be published as soon as he can be bothered to submit it. So that’s something to look forward to, we feel sure you will agree!

In the meantime, curious rumours have reached our ears suggesting that the late lamented Mr Butch may not be quite as late as was originally supposed. There have been several, as yet unconfirmed, sightings of someone bearing a close resemblance to the Butchster wandering confusedly around a variety of remote roadside locations across the Yorkshire area in an RAC patrolman’s outfit.

All very strange. But then if you link these (surely inauspicious) sightings with the recent news that the RAC has abandoned its plans for an IPO and decided instead to sell itself to Singapore (a country in Asia, where everything that is not compulsory is illegal), it all begins to make a certain kind of sense. Exactly which kind of sense we’re not quite sure yet. But if you know, we’d be delighted to hear from you via the usual channels.

In the meantime, let’s look back at some of the marvellous work Marty did whilst still a correspondent for Bankstone News.

Who could forget, for example, his review of Dickon Tysoe’s beloved Fiat Panda, or the time he tried out Rachel Stow’s Audi or his brush with a Bristol big cat in the form of  David Haynes’ Jag?

No we can’t remember any of those either, but it’s all there in the archives, as plain as the nose on your face. Well, maybe a little less plain than that. But you get the general idea. Probably.

Here now, for your exclusive delectation, without further ado, we reproduce Mr Butch’s final column:

If there’s one person who’s guaranteed to get all over-excited about a small economical car, it’s that flippin’ Dickon Tysore.

First he had me in to road test that ridiculous Panda thing of his. Nearly did for me that one! Now he’s positively imploring me to take out this new Volkswagen Up he’s got.

“It’s ‘blue motion’ he tells me proudly.” Last time I had a blue motion was after I necked an entire bottle of Curacao at Christmas.

“The model I’m really after,” he tells me, positively drooling at the thought of it, “is their new electric one – but that’s not out til next year.”

“It’s called…” he chortles merrily, “and as a fellow Yorkshireman, I think you’ll appreciate this…”

Tysore’s not from Yorkshire, mind, he’s from Nottingham or somewhere down south, but doesn’t want anyone to know that.

“…it’s called an e-Up!”

How we laugh! Or, rather, how he laughs, and laughs… and then laughs some more. He actually gets up, walks over to that coffee machine he has in his stripy boudoir of a boardroom, makes himself his third or fourth cup of some gut-churning brew, and sits back down again, chuckling all the while.

“It’s the little white one next to the Jonesmobile,” he finally gets out – sliding the keys in my general direction across the desk. “You can keep it over the weekend, but I want it back on Monday – in one piece – along with your review.”

I grunt assent. I’m mostly a man of action, as opposed to words, me.

“And try and take in some nice scenery while you’re out with it”, he tells me. “See if you can get round some of the places we’d be likely to visit on the Medieval Monkeys run.” I shudder at the mention of those bloody monkeys. Three fookin’ year I’ve trailed up hill and down dale after that miserable bunch. I’m not doing that again!

Out in the yard, Tysore’s Up is easy enough to find. That name reminds me of a film I saw once. I fire her ‘up’ and get her out of the car park with barely a scratch, before burning off home for tea.

She’s roomy enough inside – for a TOY CAR – but her 3 cylinder engine makes a heck of a racket. There’s wind-up windows in front – what a joke!

Over a couple of pints down the Headless Ferret later on I have a bit of a brain wave. Tysoe says he wants an e-Up. I’m going to make his dreams come true!

So first thing the next day (before I’ve even had me dinner) I’m down in the shed, dragging out this sodding great battery I nicked out of this total loss artic the other week, and using a winch and pulley rig to swing it into the boot of Tysore’s sorry-arsed motor.

I have to put the seats down, mind, coz there’s hardly room to swing a gnat in there. Next I drag out some wiring from that washing machine that blew up last year, and in no time flat I’m pretty sure I’ve bodged up Britain’s very first e-Up. Wait til Tysoe sees this!

I nip back inside for a good supply of fags and a couple of four-packs of John Smith, before nipping back in again to scoop up some gentleman’s reading material and a bottle of Teachers, just for good measure.

I’m ready to take this baby out on her maiden voyage. I’m turning the key, and… that’s funny… what’s that fizzing sound? Oh f

marty butch


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