Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


“Christ, if Ireland had just beaten England 4-1 in the World Cup, there’d be bodies strewn in the ditches today…”

driving in germany
The internet was aflame last week with rumours that Tuesday (or was it Wednesday? or Thursday?) was the exact date Michael J. Fox travelled forward to in Back to the Future II. The story was a hoax, of course. The actual date the DeLorean transported to in the film was October 21st 2015.

Insofar as anyone in 1985 would have understood it though, the future already is upon us today. No, we haven’t developed hoverboard technology yet. (Who gives a shit? How many of us even know how to skateboard?) But we have perfected a slew of technologies that would most likely make Dr. Emmett Brown smack his forehead and exclaim “Great snakes, Marty!” Among the more mind-blowing of these, I think, is satellite navigation. Just as I have literally no idea how mankind ever survived without the internet, mobile phones or ATM cards, I’m pretty sure that kids today will grow up baffled that SatNav wasn’t always standard on all motor vehicles. I mean, how did we ever do without it?

It’s a scorching hot summers’ day and I’m shooting like a blue streak through the German countryside at the wheel of a brand new Audi A1. I have no idea why Audi invited me to test drive their new car here. I’m most assuredly not a motoring correspondent. The A1 has traditionally been seen as a girly car, so perhaps they’re hoping I’ll burnish it’s macho credentials. But as the owner of Ireland’s largest collection of My Little Pony figurines, is anyone really going to listen to me?

The car drives nicely, I suppose. By that I mean it turns when I want it to turn. Speeds up and slows down pretty much on demand. I don’t know what else to say about it. It’s a car.

At lunchtime there is a boring presentation. The Audi executive speaks in German, but there’s a simultaneous English translation in my earpiece. How badass is this? I feel like Boutros Boutros-Ghali or Slobodan Milosevic or somebody. We’re told the A1 is Audi’s most “lifestyle oriented” vehicle to date. And if you the first fucking clue what that means, please, answers on a postcard.

Over food, the TV3 contingent argues over which vehicle they’re going to test drive next. The cameraman wants a blue car, since the available stock footage was all shot with a blue car. The presenter wants red, because red is a way cooler colour than blue. As I said, this is all highly technical stuff that I’m sure goes way over my head.

I skip out on dessert, but as I ventue out onto the autobahn for the first time minutes later, there’s almost a surprise serving of black forest gateau in the seat of my trousers. Jesus, these Bryan Adams-loving maniacs don’t half know how to put the pedal to the metal. They’re driving at insane speeds here. But I come around. I’m not sure if this is an endorsement of the vehicle itself per se, or just free holidays in general, but as the quaint hamlets and picturesque windmills zip paston either side, I’m really beginning to enjoy this drive.

Haha, I cackle, I’m the new Jeremy Clarkson. Except I come without any of that tedious anti-German chauvinism. In fact, as far as I can tell, the Germans seem like a pretty cool bunch. They demolished England 4-1 in one of the games of the World Cup yesterday, but they don’t seem to have gone too far overboard in the excitement. Christ, if Ireland had just beaten England 4-1 in the World Cup, there’d be bodies still strewn in the ditches today.

In fact, if anyone is stoking my inner xenophobe right now, it’s that snooty English lady on the SatNav who keeps telling me to turn right. Listen lady, I’ll turn right when I want to turn right and we’ll have less of your yapping until then. Yip… when God made me he made a rambling man!

July 16th, 2010.

8 Responses to ““Christ, if Ireland had just beaten England 4-1 in the World Cup, there’d be bodies strewn in the ditches today…””

  1. Ger Says:

    Sat nav is overrated I’m my opinion. What percentage of journeys in ireland would you even use it on? It’s only abroad you’d need it and when you’re abroad it’s not your own car you’re driving.

  2. Stan Says:

    I loved Back to the Future so much back in the day. Still watch it every christmas when it comes on television. Why don’t they make films that good anymore?

  3. Eoin Says:

    @ Ger – if your main journey is driving from home to work and back every day then you probably don’t need it. But if your job takes you different places it’s a different story.

    @ Stan – well there’s a new film out called Inception that’s really a hoot.

  4. Eoin Says:

    P.S. Someone showed me this recently. It’s pretty cool.


  5. Stan Says:

    I’ve seen that before but it is pretty mindblowing alright. I wonder if they’ll ever do a Back to the Future IV? Never say never like.

  6. mary naughton Says:

    Is Inception good? I mean I know Leonardo DiCaprio is usually a man who makes fine film choices but well…it looks really stupid!
    @Ger- of course Sat Nav is useful in Ireland- haven’t you ever been to the West? Rather a lot of the things that are worth seeing here are cleverly hidden down narrow, twisting, altogether confusing roads, Sat Nav is a godsend!

  7. Eoin Says:

    @ Mary – if it seems like the kind of film you might like, then you’ll probably love it. Otherwise no, it’s a pile of shite!

  8. mary naughton Says:

    Thanks for that very clear advice!

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