Sunday, 18 September 2011

Goodwood Revival

It starts with the cars. And I love cars, especially the ones that I lust after… and there are others that will make me drool and I mean literally, as I know there are vehicles out there that I would love to own that are beyond my wildest dreams or financial means! But that doesn’t make my desire to own them abate.

Set high on the South Downs the track at Goodwood was bathed in glorious sunshine, it really could not have been more perfect, there was even a slight breeze and just for a day summer returned, a quintessential English summer afternoon played out to the assembled throng.

And that roar. It is titanic. The volume control set at full blast to burst your eardrums, this is not a sport for the faint hearted as throaty engines roar into life, then race flat out screaming their intent… thunderous and sexy.

Goodwood is eclectic and electric, which goes a little way to explaining the appeal that this event can offer. The punters make a huge effort to follow a dress code that can be one of several eras: 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and perhaps 70’s. Men in tweed jackets turned out smart. Sophisticated women wear headscarves Audrey Hepburn style. Men in crisp white overalls, and Land girls in dungarees with head scarves and carry hoes. Teddy Boys in vivid ultramarine blue loafers with matching frock coats. And guys in faded black leather jackets who emulate the Fonz!

Civilised society gathered around picnic hampers with rugs stretched out across the lawn, sipping champagne. Period costumes everywhere and some of them were originals. Bobby socks and flat pumps, gloves and twee handbags, cardigans and pearls, hairnets that held crimped curls, petticoats and booties, seamed stockings and unsuitable heels. I don’t think I have ever seen so many men dandified, but not dandies, they were superbly attired. Brown pin stripped suits as loud as the racing cars that tear across the tarmac. Beautifully tied cravats set off by deep brown trilby hats.

A trio of Spitfires flew in low over the race track, spectacular flying in close formation - they peeled off and climbed to dizzy heights set against a pale blue sky. I raised my hand to protect my eyes from the glaring suns rays and watched as the pilots executed acrobatic manoeuvres and barrel rolls and looped the loop. They flew overhead undaunted by the suns brilliance and somehow there is something very satisfying listening to their low reverberating engines flying overhead. It was a magic moment.

And the cars ripped through the straight, the crescendo of noise that emanates from these finely tuned engines quickens the blood, makes the heart race faster, there is nothing like it: this cacophony of sound that deafens and excites all in the same moment, as the crushing loud roar compresses your chest and fills you with anticipation and excitement.

There were men who dared to indulge their military obsessions, or desire to be King. And we had hippies, a vivid splash of colour that blurred the senses and my camera! It was encouraging to see the attention to detail that people had put into their outfits. And I’ve never seen so many handsome, eligible men make such an enormous effort – I would have been hard pressed to pick one beau!

Swing music from the 40’s played and made my foot tap in time to the music once the race commentary was complete. And there were ice creams and fish & chips in a box.

Women beautifully dressed in frocks with hats in all shapes and sizes and furs. Fur capes and wraps and fox stoles draped casually over one shoulder, the paws tucked into the belts to keep them safe and in place. If you want to step back into a bygone era this is the place to do it. This weekend end you can even buy Treets, Opal Fruits and Marathon!

The air rent with man made noise combines with sweet high notes of corn oil mixed with high octane fuel it’s a seductive blend, a heady atmosphere.

I kept expecting to hear the Director call: ‘Cut… that’s a wrap.’

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading your thoughts on Goodwood Revival. Every year we keep saying we must go (only live 7 miles away)but somehow never manage it. The photos in the local paper always look great fun. Will have to put it on my 'To Do' list.