Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Today I was recalling the Sinclair C5 when I noticed Clive Sinclair being interviewed on the news. It was released in 1985 and at that time there was a terrific buzz about how it would eradicate cars or revolutionize personal transportation or some such prediction.

I looked up the machines to remind myself of what they looked like. I think in 1985 I would have been 15 and I probably learned about the C5 from the radio thus my imagination had created much of what I thought the C5 was. It was funny to see it donkeys years later in reverse.  Admirably people are still fixing them up and selling them here and there (around 300 – 400 English pounds they cost) but it was the two handlebars type things inside them that surprised me as in my mind I’d created or remembered a machine that was much lower to the ground and covered over the head of the passenger.

I had conflated it with a strange tunnelly looking recumbent bicycle that the bike shop owner drives around the corner from here. My son is quite obsessed with cars and a firm devotee of Top Gear, thus he constantly remarks on usual cars he spots and discusses the general attributes of various motors with me. (His father it should be noted is a visual artist who uses small motors in his work). My days are often interspersed with remarkings on cars and stories about them. I am looking forward to introducing him to the C5 because I think he’ll consider it mighty peculiar but will examine why it did not become widely adopted based on the mechanics.

I’ve also never quite understood why the milk float didn’t get developed further into a neat, compact vehicle for one, low to no emissions and for those not in a hurry, who might enjoy frequent stops and wearing warm hats.

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