Today we are assailed by so many lists, list of things to do and places to go, long lists of things not to eat, hateful ones of healthy vegetables, infinite cateogrisation of best of this and worst of that. Films, songs, cars, dog breeds, DOG BREEDS FFS, the lists of lists are endless. Where does it stop? Are there editors meetings where some out-of-the-box out-of-his-mind eager-pleaser offers up “have we done the best 10 cats for stapling to your ears on a wet afternoon in Southampton”?
I tell you when it stops. Never. And why? Because men love lists. It’s perfect verbal pub food. “You can’t have the best 10 car chases without putting Ronin in, What’s that? Bullet? Shit”. You can arbitrarily rank stuff of which you have no knowledge “yeah Sienna is nice, but Jennifer’s always going to be a better shag”. Men and Lists, honestly after penis’s, it’s almost our next favourite thing. That didn’t come out quite right. But you know what I mean. Most of you, anyway.
So here on the hedgehog, we’re always ready to leap onto a bandwagon while proclaiming our vainglory in the van*, and we’ve come up with the list to end all lists. Something that’ll subvert and extend the genre. A collection of such perfect ideas, any other list can be consigned to the “list of useless lists that nobody gives a monkey arse about”
I give you THE LANDROVER LIST. This isn’t merely sequential items of stuff, it’s a celebration of all things that proper men need to have/do/own. Let me first define “proper man” using myself as an entirely manly and representative example of the breed. A proper man has a good few years behind him, he’s been around, he’s a little world weary and not easily shocked, less so impressed. He really was in Bagdad before you were in your dad’s bag.
And while not showy, or taken in by that marketing nonsense, he has seen and owned and achieved many many things. If you found him drinking a real ale in a post-modern ironic fashion, while laconically explaining to a keen audience howthe world’s entire financial and social problems were due to French people being in it, he may scribble a few things that – one day with the right amount of effort, valour and sheer bloody bloke-iness – may make you half as good as him.
This is his list.
Obviously. But not a new one, nor one with a marketing knob directing the owner/puffta to gently rotate some fly by wire fuzzy logic when faced with a spot of moist earth. No this will be from the Defender line or – preferably – A series 1 or 2. For credibility, no panel must be undamaged or even matching. Bits of dead animal adorning crumpled bodywork is a measurable bonus. Missing parts are absolutely fine, bumper torn off, trim crushed, random engine parts gaffer taped to the bonnet are all good. But it is vital that present and correct are the “air snorkel” and wired spots clumsily welded to the roof.
What we’re talking about here is a vehicle in a condition that could only be replicated if it has limped over the finish line after a particularly brutal Paris-Dakar rally. It needs no marketing knob. It needs no knobs at all other than the driver. It needs a hand throttle, a big fuck off v8, an MPG rooted before we even knew what the ozone layer was and it will be riding on dirt tyres you could lose the family dog in. It must have presence, it must have personality, it must have abandoned imperial tools rusting in zip tie suspension. It’d be even cooler with a winch. And ex-military? You are a man now my son.
If faced with the same muddy field, it would snarl its way out ripping though family saloons like a killer whale taking a seal.
That’s a man’s landrover. It’s used only occasionally for tasks such as a) treestump removal b) fetching silly cars out of ditches and c) taking stuff to the tip. But soon It will – of course – do many dangerous things tackling savage landscapes and impossible situations. And you’re working on that. Let me just get these few bricks to the Household Recycling Centre first.
The world’s most dangerous powertool. Imbued with the DNA of medieval siege weapons. A direct descendant of the flail. A tool any proper man must wield with both aggression and precision. The first to show it who is boss, and the second to ensure sufficient limbs remain to operate it. It’s more hardcore than a chainsaw and this is why. Fire up a chainsaw, there and is not a man here who isn’t thinking “fucking hell, this could get a bit lively” as the blade whines through the sound barrier.
So he takes care. He might even don protective equipment. He makes absolutely sure it’s not his foot underneath the cutting blade. He makes careful note of the kill switch position. Any job with a chaninsaw that finishes without bloodshed is a triumph. Survival is not Landrover List material, tool mastery is.
So angle grinders then. Nothing compares to the visceral joy of going postal at a million revs. Electric Sander I hear you say? I think not – try a rip snorting example of the angle grinder against a handy metal object and watch that object essentially melt. Sanding is something we’ve all suffered with; “do a bit, done? no, fuck, do a bit more, done? no, bollocks, boredom ensures next time it’s done. But then you start again with the next bloody grade down“.**
Angle Grinder. Turn on. Attack work with vigour. Wait 5 seconds. Turn grinder off. Put out small fires springing up in the vicinity. pronounce job done. If an electric sander is a whisk, the angle grinder is a three-phase food blender. Better still are the bench mounted variants where one can play “finger chicken” driving every smaller objects into a whirling disk of pain. And a proper mans’ man will unhook this evil bastard – in the manner of a tough Sarge unmounting a GPMY from a jeep -to go and find some innocent mental to maim.
“Put that file down, this calls for a proper tool”. That’s so right in more than one way.
So the list runs to two items. I’ve given you representative examples of what we’re talking about here. I can think of many, many more which says more about my current mental state than it does about the length of any final list. But – in a moment of rather un-manly inclusiveness – I’m going to throw it open to virtual pub discussion. What we looking for here are outstanding candidates for the Landrover List.
Obviously I’ll have the casting*** vote, but any activity, item or pastime is worthy of consideration. For example, earlier someone offered up “parachute jumping” which was kind of the right direction but lacked a certain oomph. I mean how hard is it to fall out of an aeroplane?
So we’ve made a start on the definitive list. What’s next?
* No not this kind of van: “While I accept your basic tranny is a good load carrier, it’s basically crap compared to a vito. Ask any roadie. Hate to say it, but you gotto go German here”
** Why is this? No, really. Why? Is it to prepare you for the eternity of hell?