I’m not really quite sure where to start to describe this smorgasbord of vicious indulgence. Around ten years ago a rather entertaining Glaswegian who was then the maître’d at Soho House in New York engaged in a chat with your’s truly that resulted in a small gathering around January 25th to celebrate the greatest of all Scot’s exports, Robert Burns. Rather ironic given that my father (when he was not chasing bank robbers, serious smugglers and other notable questionables) had founded the ‘Burns Supper’ at Scotland Yard, and latterly was the President of the Burns Club of London.
In true Churchillian form, I decided I knew better when he tried to gently cajole me every year to partake of the Rabbie Burns kool-aid and so, for many a long year, I dodged the bullet that would later return to find its target through the able assistance of the aforementioned Mr Andy Young.
Some might say it was destiny that drew me, malt whisky, a philosopher poet’s annual remembrance shindig and a group of characters munching on haggis, neaps and tatties together. I’d like to think I just eventually realized what great fun it is to get together with like minded spirits to indulge in some high spirits. But it could always be that any excuse is a good excuse for a party.
And thus, almost ten years, many a dram of the finest of scotches, good, bad and indifferent haggis, and some rather serious butchery of the good bard’s poetry I arrived at the doorsteps of that most hallowed of grounds, Chateau Marmont, with a loch full of Macallan, a bagpiper, and the intention of having myself some right royal times.
Just as well as they’d seen fit somehow to deposit me in one of their infamous bungalows. Yes, those of John Belushi overdose and Lindsey Li-lo hiding fame. If celebrity turn out were the criterion for the allocation of hotel *s, Chateau would probably score higher than the Sharm El-Sheik.
“Some might say it was destiny that drew me, malt whisky, a philosopher poets annual remembrance shindig and a group of characters munching on haggis, neaps and tatties together.”
After spending most of Friday evening dealing with an urgent DQ matter for a rather royal type, the night was ushered in with some people watching and a fine bottle of one of Sean Thackrey’s spectacular wines just to prime the nerves for a little exercise in the am.
A brisk 4 miles, some calasthetics, and pondering how my fellow gym rat could possibly train to Madonna at full volume at 7am of a morning got Saturday cooking as I mentally prepared for the abuse I was about to inflict on my long-suffering liver, and the victims of the night who would be asked to read some words in a strange long forgotten dialect of Scots with only a large glass or three of Macallan to provide the Dutch courage and highland hubris required to pull off such a task with aplomb.
Needless to say the 50 or so guests had a roaring time, but God only knows what everyone else at Chateau dining outside in the garden thought as we in the lobby gradually crescendoed bagpipes and all into a buzzing hive of honey colored scotch mist.
I awoke on Sunday morning feeling rather foggy and thinking yet again that cigars are always a friend at the time, especially the odd Cohiba, and more than especially when chin-wagging heavily in the garden of a Bungalow at Chateau Marmont with chums old and new after a rather spirited dinner wearing a kilt, and yet come morning they seem to always have turned into the sensation of waking up with an old sweaty boot in my mouth. Hmmm. Note to self.
That of course was my cue to hop into the Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder that Lamborghini had kindly provided in lieu of aspirin so that I could clear my head. Forced oxygen at speeds-that-may-not-be-mentioned is more than sufficient competition for the best of Cox-2 inhibitor pills.
The baby brother of the Lamborghini line is of course rather more of a beast on paper than most would think, with enough power to remind you that the back of your head belongs on the headrest, and enough limpet like grip with its full-time all wheel drive to give a Scandinavian rally merchant a sideways grin to rival the Cheshire Cat’s. It's not the snorting, menacing, baby-eating machine that is the Aventador, but then its no wallflower either.
I’ve always been a fan of the madcap styling of Lamborghinis, and although the Gallardo could never be accused of having the grace of a Miura or the swagger of a Countach it is a very pretty car indeed. Perhaps not one that polarizes its audience but it would be tough to accuse it of being ugly. I’d even go so far as to say it was rather elegant in the gunmetal grey I had to play with (although the guy who was kind enough to lean out of his window to exclaim at me “asshole” upon my having lost my way and had to make a particularly choice maneuver only possible with 560hp to cut to the front of the lane to turn may not entirely agree).
And yet, alas, for me the soft top automatically gave her the “hairdresser-handicap”, even in the case of a piece as lithe, able and willing to use as this. That said, if growing up in the south of France teaches you nothing more, you soon learn that when the heat goes up, tops come down, so I had to love the push-button miracle that lopped off the canvas and hid it nicely under the carbon fiber covering the tasty V10 so that I could tan my pasty swede while on the attack.
As we blasted up the magical Route 33 after a brief respite to ingratiate ourselves with the local chapter of the Hell’s Angels and some damn fine BBQ at “The Deer Lodge” I couldn’t help but think of Woody Allen’s Orgasmatron in “The Sleeper”. Especially in “Corsa” mode with the exhausts barking like banshees and tickling my fancy. Although she doesn’t blow your mind, rock your world and leave you weak at the knees and gagging for more like a fix-deprived crack head, you certainly have an insistent and constant urge to go play more. More smack, less crack.
She’s a phenomenal piece of kit and the sound track while you thrash her to within an inch of her redline will both send a tingle up your spine and alert the local constabulary to your spirited progress. The worst thing (if this can be a bad thing) is perhaps the fact that she’s so good at getting from A to B exceptionally fast no matter how twisty the road with not one iota of fuss that it almost spoils the fun.
But I did say almost. She makes all the right noises at all the right times, and I’m still not sure if that was because of me, or because she knew that that was what I wanted to hear.
But when its really good sometimes you never can tell….
Chateau Marmont: ***** (5/5)
Route 33: **** (4/5)
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4: **** (4/5)
Macallan 25: the dog’s danglers.
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