Friday, November 25, 2005

Changing Vrooms

I got quite excited when I saw a reality show with the word 'pimp' in the title. I'd pay good money to see the likes of Biggins, Sonia, and The Krankies wearing white fur coats and snakeskin shoes, standing on street corners and trying to bitch-slap a few 'ho's. But sadly 'Pimp My Ride UK' is no such thing. Though it does feature Tim Westwood, who is to the world of hip-hop and gangsta rap, what Ali G is to black people.

'Pimp My Ride' first started on MTV in America, and like so many other shows which would clearly never translate well to a British version, has now been translated to a British version. Hence the addition of the word 'UK' - presumably a condition imposed by the American producers to make it clear that it has nothing to do with them.

The idea of the programme is simple: it's a makeover show for cars. Find a frumpy old runaround who's seen better days, tart her up a bit, and send her back out onto the streets looking a million dollars. The only problem with 'Pimp My Ride UK' is that in order to get the vehicles looking a million dollars, the team seem to end up spending a million dollars. And unlike users of L'Oreal, the cars just aren't worth it.

But anyhoo, in tonight's edition we met Asif, a young man from North London, who appears to have been named after Alicia Silverstone's catchphrase in 'Clueless'. Which is kind of appropriate, as he lacks much idea about anything except football. Asif drives a 1989 VW Golf Mk II in the kind of condition which would embarrass a scrapyard. The seats are broken, the headlights are missing, the bumpers are hanging, the wings are rusting, and the stereo's wedged in with coins. Which is the only thing keeping the car's value above zero.

Enter DJ Tim Westwood, who spent a few minutes gesticulating at the camera in a 16-year-old's clothes, before asking Asif "Do you worry about the car getting stolen?". Asif looked concerned, and replied "Every night. It's such a vulnerable target". Which either indicates a dry sense of humour, or a level of stupidity rarely seen outside of the Big Brother house. Westwood then stated the obvious: "We've got one choice: to dump it or to pimp it". So will they dump it? Asif. Sorry, I mean as if. After all, why buy a new car when you can spend fifty grand doing up your old one?

Timmy duly promised to make Asif's car "mad hot" (which I think is good) and took the rustbucket to his team of car makeover experts, led by mechanic Jamie, audio man Bluey, and designer Pinky. Presumeably Perky couldn't make it. Never ones to do things by halves, the gang decided to go one small step beyond a new headlamp and some furry dice, by stripping the car down to little more than the chassis, and installing a DVD player, PS2 console, top-of-the-range sound system, video camera, monitors, two fridges, and some red leather seats which cost £1200 each. Which clearly wasn't enough. So they added a vibrating massage and heat function too. And a 15" LCD screen in the boot.

That done, they fitted Lamborghini-style doors, smoke-tinted windows and a custom-made football boot cleaner under the rear bumper. Which is what the new Nissan Micra lacks in my opinion. They then painted Asif's name on the roof and handed it back to him. In the words of Tim Westwood, "The boys have blessed it with the mad flava". Which I didn't think made a lot of sense, until he added "Understand what's going down. He's given you crazy heat". Which frankly meant even less.

The car's now apparently worth more than £50,000. Though ironically you'd have to pay me at least twice that to drive it in public.