"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky


Two brands have dominated the history of Scooters: Lambretta and Vespa.

The larger and more decorative Lambretta is often considered more desirable for vintage scooter enthusiasts, however, I have always preferred the minimalist simplicity of the snail-like Vespa from the early 60s, which seems to better capture the spirit of modernism rather than Mod.

This documentary traces the history of Viaggio and Innocenti scooters from post war Italy to mid 60s Britain. It has some particularly great period footage from the 50s.

8 comments gear, history

Music for Ejection Seat Test Videos

I’ve posted a list of ejection seat videos over at Oobject today. The top clip stood out because of the oblique choice in music. It features extremely calm oriental sounds of the type used to represent ‘a taste of the orient’ in a commercial for: (a) a Chinese restaurant; (b) a spa; (c) somebody about to get a Kung Fu beating. As a backdrop for the extreme violence of a fighter jet ejection, it works surprisingly well, while the more obvious choice of Blur’s ‘Song 2′ is used for the second clip.

Interesting that such different pieces of music can be used quite effectively, for the same thing.

8 comments gear

21st Century Jet, Making the Boeing 777

The Triple Seven has been eclipsed by the Dreamliner and the A380, however, this fantastically comprehensive documentary shows just how important a plane it is. Part 1 of a mammoth 5 hour joint PBS/BBC production about the making of the 777.

3 comments gear

Richard Hammond Meets Evel Knievel

When Evel Knievel died last year it felt like Elvis had died, finally. Knievel wore the same satin flared outfits as late period, paunched and side-burned Presley.

He was representative of a peculiarly American Maverick adventurer culture that I remember from childhood, where conservatives like John Wayne seemed cool to us would-be liberals. Unfortunately these True Grit types have been passed away leaving the anemic, conservative, cultural window-dressing of Pottery Barn, McMansions and Evangelical Christianity.

The documentary is presented by Richard Hammond from Top Gear, a program which is being brought from the UK to the US, largely as a result of its cult following via YouTube. 48 hours before the film crew arrived Evel had a stroke, he died 4 months after filming and the program was aired afterwards. Like Top Gear, the film is interesting even if you are not remotely interested in things like cars or motorbikes, only its a tad more cerebral.

58 min 57 sec Dec 26, 2007


1 comment biography, gear

F1 Chasing the Dream

I’m not interested in sports and in particular motor racing. But something wonderful is happening in the heroic combination of McLaren and Lewis Hamilton.

Nascar is a sport who single tactic seems to be ‘turn left’. Formula 1 allows you to turn right as well. But despite the similarity of the two sports, including, massive sponsorship by semi criminal organizations like cigarette firms and garnishings of spandex-clad, pneumatic, hyper-attractive women, they could not be more different.

Like the difference between Vegas and Monte Carlo, Nascar is Trailer Trash while Formula 1 is Euro Trash. The chairman of F1 is the son of the head of the British Fascist party, Oswald Moseley, and the early drivers were wealthy aristocrats who had nothing better to do than invent spectacular ways to kill themselves at high speed.

Within this mix of nasty sponsors and elitist society, is the perfect modern-day fairy tale, like a pauper winning a jousting contest on great horse. The McLaren team provided the great horse and Lewis Hamilton is its rider.

McLaren are not like any other provider of horse power. Their headquarters is a gleaming white, Norman Foster designed, high-tech clean space that is more futuristic than a NASA assembly room and their pit team are testing cooling suits developed by the European Space Agency and designed by Karada for Hugo Boss. Lewis is not like any other racing driver, in fact the closest person that comes to mind is Tiger Woods. Hamilton is the grandson of Grenadan immigrants, and called Lewis after Carl Lewis. He won a black belt in Karate when he was twelve, and won the British Go Karting Championship at age 10. The 10 year old approached McLaren F1 team boss Ron Dennis and told him, “Hi. I’m Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars.” This year he very very nearly won the World Formula One Racing Championship in his debut season at the age of 22.

Thats what makes this rather ordinary sports program extraordinary.

47 min 51 sec Nov 7, 2007


5 comments gear, sport

Jeremy Clarkson – The Century of Speed

28 min 18 sec – Aug 16, 2007


1 comment gear, history, technology

Jeremy Clarkson’s the good the bad and the ugly

1 hr 19 min 16 sec – Jul 11, 2007


The Inimitable Clarkson makes cars interesting even for people who are not into cars. Here he looks at American cars, which seems like a good precursor for the, soon to be released, US version of Top Gear.

1 comment gear

1957 Triumph Motorcycle Factory Tour

Great period piece

Running Time: 31 mins.

Full Screen

2 comments gear, history, nostalgia, technology


Documentary about the cult car maker.

Running time: 59 mins.

Full Screen

Comments Off gear, technology

The iPod Revolution

The history of Apple’s iPod

Running time: 43 mins


Comments Off gear, music, technology