Pain on the road

There are many visions of happiness as there are of love, riches and sex. But my favourite reverie rests on Henry James’s idea of paradise as a “perfect automobile going thirty miles an hour on a smooth road to a twelfth century cathedral”.

But take that perfect car, outfit it with the Grille of the Peugeot 207 Gti, and you have the most consummate grimace mounting the frontal intakes. It’s the grimace of high pressured winds buffeting against one’s face. The grimace of Ugolino gnawing upon Archbishop Ruggieri in Hell – “ La bocca sollevo dal fiero pasto quell peccator

Then there is also the Audi R8’s twinking succession of 24 Light Emitting Diodes below its headlights, applied like tearful mascara beneath its eyelets. Nothing Moulin-Rouge about its appearance. Just pain, speed and tears on a smooth road…the perfect start to that paradise.

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