originally posted November 25, 2012
Okay, this picture might need a bit of explaining.
First of all, you may recognise the car:
As the car explains on its record sleeve, its name is Ford Timelord and it is the first car to have a number one record. This was in 1988, when the idea that an inanimate object could be a pop star was deeply controversial. Nowadays, of course, no-one would bat an eyelid.
Ford Timelord did not take to fame well. It started making bad decisions. It hung round with bad company.
Ford Timelord entered a self-destructive spiral that ended with a tragic final appearance at a stock car meeting.
But enough of the fall – what about the rise? How did this 1968 Ford Galaxy get from Detroit to Top of the Pops?
This is Christopher Reeve in the first Superman film. But look behind him – that’s not the real Metropolis. No, that’s a set in Pinewood Studios outside London. And those American cars had been shipped over from the US by Pinewood.
One of them was Ford Timelord.
Ford Timelord wasn’t a cop car, then, though. It was all black – and it looked good. But the film industry is fickle and as soon as the car started getting on a bit, it was out. Pinewood sold it to my friend Flinton Chalk for a few hundred quid.
It was Flint who decided to turn it into an American police car. Here we see the car in mid-transformation. This is clearly in the mid 1980s, as we can date the photograph quite precisely by the jumpers on display.
Flint & Co proceeded to add the giant pirate flag and largely trash the car, pulling donuts in the fields around Godstone, Surrey. Frequently, they would do so dressed as nuns.
I quizzed Flint about this and he explains, “If you drive an American cop car around Surrey dressed as nuns, the police never stop you.”
So that’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.
Flint later sold the car to Jimmy Cauty, Jimmy Cauty started making records with Bill Drummond, and the rest is history. You know it is history, because someone has made an action figure:
I think we can all agree, that’s pretty fantastic. More details about it are online here, but what I particularly like is the way it comes complete with a tea-crate Dalek.
Steven Moffat boasted about a recent Doctor Who story that it would feature “every Dalek ever”, yet that story failed to include the tea-crate Dalek. You can’t believe a word that man says.
But enough of this blather, and let us remember Ford Timelord in its glory days:
As a footnote – anyone who wishes to hear how Operation Mindfuck, an attempt to undermine consensus reality by Californian Discordians in the 1970s, led to the profits from this single being squandered on an unfinished avant garde road movie staring the eighth Doctor Paul McGann should consult my new book, KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money.