September 29, 2014

When are you going to replace that Butch fellow who used to do your drive test review things?, people keep asking Bankstone News. Well, the short answer that that one is: very soon, as it happens!

Is it still OK to say ‘as it happens‘ without people thinking you’re some kind of hyperactive mad-eyed child molester? Should be really, as long as you don’t follow it up with something like ‘Now then, now then,’ or for that matter, ‘Can you tell what it is yet?‘ But we digress.

Mr Butch’s newly anointed successor, Bankstone News can exclusively reveal, is a gentleman by the name of Davy Sim. No relation, apparently to that clean-living, rapidly procreating 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 their 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’s got round to writing it. So that’s certainly something to look forward to, we feel sure you will agree!

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

All very strange, if you ask Bankstone News. 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 somewhere, where everything that is not compulsory is actually illegal), it all begins to make a certain kind of sense. Which kind 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 magisterial work Marty did whilst he was still a correspondent with Bankstone News.

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

No we can’t remember them 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 idea. Probably.

And now, here, without further ado, that column is, along with its original preamble:

It is with great sadness that Bankstone News must this week report that our much loved motoring correspondent and chief test driver Marty Butch passed on a few days ago. Though you would never know it from his sleazily rugged exterior, Marty died tragically young and will be greatly missed by someone or other, we feel sure. He is survived by a string of abandoned families, unpaid bar tabs and a whiff of foul language still hanging poignantly in the air.

As a tribute to Mr Butch, we here offer his final – tragically incomplete – road test review for Bankstone News:

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 he’s really after, he tells me, eyes lit up and drooling at the very 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 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 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 at me 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 round Yorkshire after that miserable bunch. Not doing that again!

Out in the yard, Tysore’s Up is easy enough to find. I’m sure I saw some kind of titty flick once called Up. I fire her up and get her out of the car park with barely a scratch and burn off home for tea. She’s roomy enough inside – for a TOY CAR – but her 3 cylinder engine makes a heck of a racket. She’s even got 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: Tysore says he wants an e-Up. I’m going to make his dreams come true!

First thing the next day (before I’ve even had dinner) I’m down in the shed, dragging out this sodding great battery I nicked out of this total loss artic cab 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 Tysore sees this!

I nip back inside for a good supply of fags and a couple of four-packs of John Smith (I scoop up a couple of girlie mags and a bottle of Teachers as an after thought). And I’m all ready to take this baby on her maiden voyage. Turning the key, and… that’s funny… what’s that fizzing sound? Oh f

marty butch


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