White Van Man challenge on Top Gear

According to Today’s Sunday Times (of London, for the benefit of confused international types), July 30th’s episode of Top Gear is to feature the “White Van Man Challenge”.

The presenters (The One With A Large Face Who’s Always Cross, The Small One Who Hasn’t Had His Teeth Whitened, and The Other One) will engage in a variety of white van-based contests, and TOWALFWAC will probably win.

Pretending to be a White Van Man can be great fun, and is a splendid way to spend the afternoon. Helping The Joey move (while he still lived in a sensible country) gave me an opportunity to act the part of WVM, in a non-driving role. Now, to be honest, WVMing in this capacity doesn’t really seem that complicated. You just need to:

  1. Purchase a collection of the day’s tabloid papers to display on the dashboard. If you can get them in advance and leave them somewhere to get discoloured by the sun, all the better. I don’t care it features a pictorial on high-fashion lingerie, The Observer just doesn’t cut it.
  2. Make lewd comments (and, where appropriate, gestures) about members of the opposite sex.
  3. Shout at other road users, and generally drive like a… well, a white van man. If you’re the driver. Otherwise you can just shout.

Number one is not too tricky, and you get to enjoy insight into the important affairs of the day, such as the words of wisdom the Big Brother housemates have been sharing with the nation. This would be of particular interest to me, having recently bought a ticket in a Big Brother sweepstake. Accidentally, you understand. You can still buy your Observer to go with your News of the World, of course, as long as no-one sees you with it, when the subterfuge would be discovered.

Number two you’d think might come fairly naturally, certainly with minimal encouragement, but I really don’t think I’m cut out for such public lechery. When we tried it, we found we were far too prone to giggling excitedly and/or nervously. Especially if anyone noticed us.

Number three; as I wasn’t driving, I had to make do with the shouting elements. This was OK, but I made sure I did it quietly to minimize the risk of a physical confrontation with A Big Man With A Tatooed Neck. Especially as my physique is, as described by a former housemate, “like a stick-man with a beer belly”.

It will be interesting to see what the Top Gear presenters make of it, I can certainly recommend it as an afternoon’s entertainment. A random look on a popular vehicle rental company’s website quoted 24 hours’ rental of a Transit-sized van at £70. I’m sure the cost of van hire split among several aspiring WVMs would be more than reasonable compared to other leisure activities.

So go forth, men. In a van. Ideally a white one.

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