Everyone with an ounce of passion for driving should read this book. If you’re appreciative of real writing, motoring or otherwise, I urge you to read this. If you only graze the occasional magazine, ou may not be aware of Mel Nichols. I rate him right up here with the late Russell Bulgin, a member of the group of writers that shaped and defined the motoring magazines I grew up reading including Car magazine, Cars and Car Conversions and Fast Lane. The foreword by Steve Cropley gives you an overview, plus the introduction by Mel of his journey from Australia, starting out as a local motoring writer, leading up to the point when he became editor or Car magazine filled in gaps for me. I mostly skip past Forewords but read this one. Then delve into the features…..
Mel’s ability to grab your attention in the first sentence of the first paragraph is evident throughout the book. Indeed, his style of writing would lend itself very well indeed to today’s online blogging world where the writer has just moments to stop the mouse moving to a hyperlink
Apart from the obvious favourite of the now legendary drive across Europe in the Lamborghinis, Mel’s collection also includes an atmospheric account of being ushered into Mr Ferrari’s office to meet the great man. You can feel the nervousness of the young writer brought the paper, pitching questions at the great man, wanting to probe, but not overstep the mark.
It’s not the kind of book you’d sit down and read in one hit, or even over the course of several evenings. It’s a collection of features to be dipped into as and when you feel the urge, over a glass of ice cold white or a soft, friendly red. Pick it up, delve into one of Mel’s descriptions of what it’s like to drive a Bora, ride shotgun in one of the first Porsche 930 Turbos in the UK alongside Nick Faure, deliver brand new Lamborghinis across Europe, take a BMW 3.0CSL to Bavaria.
Magazine journalism is different these days. Can’t put my finger on it, but the tone is different. There’s a harshness, a competitiveness, a “look at me” that sometimes smacks of desperation about it that’s missing in this collection. Perhaps it’s just me with my glass of wine and rose tinted glasses, but there’s a fluent, flowing style that makes these features effortless to read, not a chore that I sometimes feel with many examples of modern motoring writing.
The style is one of, “Come with me, look over my shoulder, isn’t this cool?” No arrogance, just a desire to share a story, a great drive that he wishes you could have been with him to share when it was undertaken. As you gathered, I loved reading it. And in a few months time, I’ll take it down from the shelf and dip into it once more.
And The Revs Keep Rising will be available from all good bookshops and direct from Haynes at www.haynes.co.uk or by calling 01963 442030, priced £19.99