December 19, 2003

Faithless - Insomnia

Faithless' Insomnia acts as a warning that the mood-enhancing effect of music isn't always a positive attribute.

A few years ago, late one evening, I was returning to Bury St. Edmunds with a few friends after a night out in Thurston (exciting and heady days I know ;-). The roads were empty, the weather was good, so I was enjoying the drive. There are a series of roundabouts as you approach Bury, so there were heel-and-toe downshifts at the entry to each, and then maximum acceleration runs on the way out. The (admittedly a little too loud) exhaust on the M3 was sounding glorious.

As we reached the roundabout with the A14, Insomnia was just starting on the radio, so I decided to continue the adrenaline rush with a quick blatt along the A14 before heading into Bury itself. As we accelerated up the slip-road, the song was starting to hit full steam, and fuelled by the beat I slotted the gearstick into fourth, and continued to accelerate as we progressed down the dual carriageway.

Now the problem with accelerating in fourth is that third only runs out at about 90mph. Usually I'd stop accelerating in third, and then cruise along in fifth, but being caught up in the moment, we ended up cruising along at about 110mph until we got to the next exit.

This is where things got more, err, interesting. As we decelerated down the slip road, I was suddenly aware of a car having arrived just behind us. A white Mondeo. One of those lovely white Mondeo's that soon gained some flashing blue lights on top.


I dutifully pulled over to the side of the roundabout, and wound down my window ready to have a chat with the nice officer.

Unbeknownst to me (obviously, I'm not that daft), they'd been following us since before we hit the A14. Although they did lose sight of us for a while as we joined it; M3s can accelerate a bit better than Mondeos it would seem, but I don't think that they were impressed by that.

Their mood wasn't about to get any better. The policeman wandered up to the offside window, and waited expectently for it to open. This took a moment or two because the person sat next to that window was (a) slightly inebriated, and (b) not a driver, and so not versed in the protocol for being stopped by a policeman. Once my mate had realised that he was required to participate in matters, and had rolled the window down, the officer began his spiel.

A few words into this, he noticed that there wasn't a steering wheel in front of my mate, because the old M3s are all left-hand drive. This realisation stopped him in mid-sentence. "I suppose I should talk to the driver really..." He walked round the front, and had me get out of the car so that he could talk to me.

I got the full drill, derogatory comments that I'd been intending doing laps of the roundabout (which I hadn't), and a breathalyser test (because I'd had one short just before we left, so passed easily). Then, around six months later, I got to present myself in court, before three magistrates (surely overkill for a speeding offence?) and was allowed to give them 300 and walk everywhere for three months.

The moral of this tale? Well, first off, I don't think the police like it if you out-run them and then make them look silly when they do pull you over, and second, be careful as to just when you let yourself get carried away by the music.

Posted by Adrian at December 19, 2003 12:30 PM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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