Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Access All Areas

The Gnome family have been on a bit of a roadtrip recently. Usually it's because Mr Gnome has to go to Monza or the Nürburgring, but this time it was Mrs Gnome calling the shots.

Mrs G is a Rufus Wainwright fan. Rufus, in case you don't know, is one of the hottest musical talents around. If you don't believe me, click on the link to his "Want" album on the right hand side of this blog and read the reviews. Anyway, Mrs G is enough of a Rufus fan to want to see him play live. Three times in the space of two weeks in fact. In three different countries. As I said, she's a fan. And to be honest I'm happy to go with her because I think he's great too.

He played at Brighton last week, and she decided she wanted to meet him. So after the show she waited with some other Rufanatics for him to appear at the stage door. And sure enough, after a while, he came out, talked to fans, signed autographs, kissed cheeks (she hasn't washed since) and was generally fabulous.

Why am I telling you this? Because when I went to Monza this year, on a test day, not a race day, it was impossible to get near any of the drivers unless you had a pass signed by, if not God, someone that thinks they are. And I find that very annoying. When I was a child, we could wander round the paddock at Brands Hatch or Silverstone, and my father would say "that's Jackie Stewart - get his autograph". And drivers were always happy to do sign and smile, so somewhere in the loft there's a book signed by three world champions and countless other F1 stars. Try that now. And it's not as if the crowds are any bigger - the audience at the British GP last year is probably lower than it was in 1965. So what's changed? I guess it's just about money, but if the people involved could relax just a little bit, they could bring a lot more joy into the hearts of race fans. And it wouldn't cost them anything.


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