Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Driving songs to keep your license by

Quite some time ago the Top Gear programme conducted a poll to find the best ever driving songs.
The kind of songs that made the final list were all energetic numbers that really would be great for those times when you find yourself alone on an open road with good visibility, no cops and no cameras. A road with lots of twisty bits to push the limits without coming up behind a pensioner doing 35 in a Toyota Verso.
Buttertubs pass in North Yorkshire is a fantastic road for this sort of thing (see YouTube link below if you're not familiar with it) although due to its popularity it's also a magnet for traffic cops, and the last thing you want to come across when you're enjoying yourself is PC Plod pointing his hairdryer at you, and you finding yourself in front of the judge trying desperately to think of an excuse he'll buy for why you were doing 140 in a 60 limit.
Admittedly, when I drove this road I did it within the speed limit - partly because I was unfamiliar with it, and partly because the wife was virtually crapping herself in the sections that had little more than a bit of wire fence as the only thing between the road and a very long drop to certain death.
It would be wonderful if these opportunities presented themselves regularly enough to not feel the need to blow off steam by doing a track day or, failing that, having a mad session playing Forza.
However, the reality of driving for most of us is being stuck in a queue of traffic doing 40 or 50 if we're lucky, or going nowhere at all if we're not.

Listening to heavy rock in these situations is a recipe for disaster. The music gets you going and you're far more likely to end up angry and frustrated by your lack of progress, and more likely to make a risky manoeuvre to pass someone.
What's needed then is a selection of music that soothes the soul and mellows you out so that you're better able to cope with the tedium of driving. Everyone will have their own preferences for this, but it's a good idea to be open minded - what you'll happily listen to in the car is not necessarily the same as you want to sit and listen to at home. Experiment with different things to find what does and doesn't work for you. I once tried some Bob Marley, thinking the cannabis-fuelled Jamaican vibe would induce an appropriately chilled out state. Unfortunately, it just irritated the hell out of me and consequently I drove worse than if I'd been blasting out Judas Priest.
So here's ten of my personal top choices (in no particular order) of driving songs for those who want to keep a clean driving license and not have other road users think they're a complete twat.

Moby - Porcelain
Coldplay - White Shadows
Roxy Music - Don't Stop The Dance
Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
Diana Krall - Stop This World
Jamiroquai - Feel So Good
The Heavy - Short Change Hero
St Etienne - You're In A Bad Way
Wang Chung - Space Junk
Morcheeba - Aqualung

Buttertubs Pass - you know you want to play too