Sunday, 19 August 2012

Test Drive: Renault Twizy

This morning in Glasgow, the nice folks at Renault gave me a spin in the Twizy - an electric tandem quadricycle aimed at young city dwellers. Since I fit neatly into the target market for such a product, it was a great opportunity to see how Renault's product planners envisage me getting to work in the not-too-distant future.

Now, the Twizy hasn't been particularly well received by us Brits. They've sold about 250 of them since launch in May - which probably isn't surprising considering the motoring press has been overwhelmingly negative about the car.

There is no getting round the obvious impracticality. The basic £7k model does without doors or windows, or even a heater, leaving you perilously exposed to the elements. The battery, however, is charged in 3 hours or so, from a regular 3-pin plug - much like an iPhone or laptop.

I had an absolute ball hurling the thing around the Merchant City - it feels like a real-life version of Mario Kart in this thing. Being electric, full torque is available throughout the power band, hurtling the plastic quad to a faintly terrifying 50 mph top speed - enough to zip between gaps in urban traffic.

Sure the ride is harsh, and since your passenger sits behind you, conversation is a bit tricky. And I'm sure it would have been less exciting in the middle of winter (although, being rear-wheel drive, it's probably equally fun once you've wrapped up in several layers).

The price is probably a bit steep, however the satisfaction of not having to visit a petrol station for the weekly raping leaves me with a warm endearment for the Twizy. The range - 60ish miles on a charge - thankfully allays much out of town driving, where the illusion of fun would disappear with the first artic breathing down on your defenceless Twizy - however is sufficient for a short, fun commute within town.

If I was living in London, or any large city, then I could really see one of these working. After all, properly financed, it must be similar in monthly outgoings or pence-per-mile to rail, Tube or bus multi-ride tickets - and even the Twizy, sans doors and weather protection, is more comfortable than that.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Edinburgh FRINGE - I Got It! An Actor's Tale Review

Edinburgh's International Festival - and its associated up-staging, cheaper, dirtier, funnier, rawer sideshow, the FRINGE - rolled into town last week with a fresh selection of shows to delight all walks of life. Indeed, such is the multicultural mix of tourists which descend upon Scotland's Capital, it's amusing to see how astute show-boaters tweak their shows for niches, and sub-niches, of the holiday-making throng.

Whilst its possible to catch a big-name show, the FRINGE cut its teeth on the up-and-coming stars of tomorrow. Therefore, I found it appropriate that my first FRINGE experience this year was at the hands of 18-year-old Marc McKinnon and his self-produced, self-written, self-starred and self-directed show I Got It! An Actor's Tale.

McKinnon and his fresh-faced cast produced a stunning show - all the more impressive considering their relative inexperience. Clearly carrying shades of the biographical - it tells the story of a young actor searching for his big break - the music, the cast and the choreography - not to mention the singing - punched well above my expectations.

A standing ovation for the young cast rounded off a pleasant evening. Mark my words - you'll be hearing lots more from the SMILE-N Productions in the future.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

A (re-) Introduction

After several years in hibernation, I've decided to brush off icJournalism and bring it back to the masses.

The blog will cover all variety of things, from watches through business, cars through sport. A blog for the boys, the lads, the men.

Stop by and take a look, once in a while.