|  February 28, 2011

When I learnt that the theme of this month’s magazine was Subculture, I got very excited. I have a friend back in the UK who spent several years in the Navy as a submariner. Not in the large nuclear powered ones but in the old, small diesel-electric kind that date back to the Second World War. At over two metres tall, I could never quite understand how he could fit, let alone live in one and therefore, thought I had a brilliant angle for Daring’s ramblings.

However, it was explained to me in words of one syllable that life in a submarine was not the intended topic. Writing about large men in small spaces will have to wait for another day. Mrs. D seemed quite disappointed by that but I am not entirely sure why. Instead, I started to think about what subculture I might have been involved with but in a life of stunning blandness, I couldn’t really think of one of any significance.

As we got ready for bed that night, Mrs. D pointed out, perhaps a bit too readily for my liking that they are often considered to be trendy and young and neither of those words could be applied to me. I lay there in the dark thinking about what she had said. Although harsh, she was technically correct but the thing about those kinds of subcultures is that they tend to be quite transient and are not really passed from one generation to the next.

For example, whenever I play a nineteen-seventies punk rock single to D2, she just rolls her eyes and looks at me in a sad way. At the time, ‘Punk’ was going to change the world but just as any other youth subculture, soon changed into something else, which in turn became something else. Today, youth subculture seems to be created at the whims of vast marketing machines so that doesn’t really count in my mind. I wanted to know more and so making sure that Mrs. D was asleep, I went downstairs to search the interweb.

The accepted definition of a subculture is a group of people who share a common ideology and lifestyle that is enduring and distinct from the accepted societal norm. Almost sounds as though I know what I’m talking about… thanks Wikipedia… I know everything on there is true…

The most commonly cited examples are often religious such as Mormons or the Amish peoples in the USA. Not getting political but at least there, they have the freedom to live according to their own beliefs. As do Nudists, who were also cited as a subculture and to be frank, much more interesting and appropriate investigation material at that time of night.

I then discovered another group that would have made an excellent feature for last month’s ‘strange-love’ magazine. I am pleased to say that its most enthusiastic protagonists also appear to be from America but even at my most liberal, I have to admit that I found this strange and it is people that love cars.

I don’t mean in the ‘I’d love to have a Ferrari’ kind of way that most of us experienced every now and again but in the ‘I’d love to HAVE a Ferrari’ kind of way. There is a man in Washington State who claims to have made love to over 1,000 cars since his first experience at the tender age of 15.

Apart from ‘WTF?’ and ‘why?’, how on earth would you do that? Where would you put it? Does the car have to be turned on? What are the servicing intervals? How would you explain the burn marks if you used a hot exhaust? Do people put their private videos up on ‘You-Lube’?

There appears to be a whole worldwide network of people who prefer cars to women, using technology to reinforce their subculture. My research was cut short when one of the sites asked for my email address to receive their newsletter but the thought of buying a second hand car from one of these people left me slightly bemused. One could never look at a stain on the backseat again without wondering.

I returned to the bedroom to find Mrs. D awake and the lights on. I was immediately interrogated on what I had been doing, downstairs, on the computer at that time of night. Not that she has a suspicious mind or anything.

I explained what I had found and she agreed that it would certainly qualify under the heading ‘strange-love’ if not subculture. As she pointed out, it certainly adds a whole new meaning to a car-key party. And if you don’t know what one of those is, ask your Mum.

She turned the light off.

“Now what are you doing?” she asked.

“Nothing dear. Just checking your intake valve. Dive! Dive! Dive!”