The original Mille Miglia was a 1,000-mile, full-speed car race run on open, public roads in Italy from 1927 to ’57. Many legendary drivers and carmakers participated in it. For the times, it was a very long race full of danger, calamity and, for some, triumph.
I welded the first few pieces of steel together for this project in 2011, a few months after my mother died, but this journey began nearly 50 years ago. I am building a ’74 AMC Javelin racecar that is, to this point, a culmination of my history, my dreams, and, for the most part, my identity.
When you go to Berlin, bring your Depends. In the major areas, like Brandenburg Tor (Gate) and other tourist spots bathrooms are either restricted or the line up is so heavy, that even if you have your euro or 50 cent piece ready you could fall over hopping on one foot before you finally get into a stall and the tide not stemmed.
There might be a culture of shame for public bathrooms. They are staffed by attendants who feverishly try to keep them clean by going in to freshen things up, wipe things down, and provide napkins to patrons with each use.
You see it in racing all the time, a car traveling at high or maximum speed; it either twitches or slides. The professional at the wheel often catches the car but sometimes doesn’t. To become a better driver, amateurs and near professionals should examine their sometimes less successful techniques up close. What you do behind the wheel; steering, throttle control and braking, should always be questioned if you’re interested in improving racing and driving skills.
I see a photograph of myself. In it I was on the bus travelling north to Tehran. We were going to visit friends, but that is not so important to the story. I was sitting alone because he was not talking to me. We were driving through the flat, dry landscape of my dreams, like the movies. I was wearing a maghnae, like a schoolgirl would wear, or a nun’s wimple. It’s tight around my face, but easier than wrestling with a headscarf that slides off my hair too easily. This particular day there was a stray hair sticking out, under my chin. I remember trying to locate it, unsuccessfully. It was troubling me. In the photograph I can see it, under my chin. That little hair sticking out reminds me of how I felt that day. Resigned. As much as I may have tried to tame the stray bits, one always found its way out of its cover.
What do The Cockroaches, Lou Reed, The Ramones, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Mingus, Jimmi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Bob Marley all have in common – aside from the fact that they are captivating performers and musical geniuses? They have all graced the stage of a legendary Toronto concert venue.