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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At that precise moment Turnmarshallofdoom turned all their amps up to 12 and hit the opening Em7 chord of their signature tune 'Touch my Bumslot and Die'. The brass section of the Vienna Philharmonic chimed in with fifteen bass trombones and twelve trumpets hitting opposite ends of the human aural spectrum. The whole of Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon ground to a halt, and thunderclouds over the Bristol channel were cleaved in twain.
Any answers to the question 'has anyone seen Harry?' were drowned out entirely. The noise seemed to suck the power from the NSCC tracks and all the cars running at the time slowed down to a crawl. A welcome bonus for competitors in the VW camper van slow race. Lap counter digits danced implausibly and everyone felt a sinister shift of C.of G. in their lower bowel. Wankel 'Sniffer' Ickx slept through it all, despite the stirrings of several long dead inhabitants of nearby cemeteries.
But not all the visitors in the NSCC tent were stunned into paralysis. Gray Rewinder, long thought to be totally insensate, seized the opportunity to surrepticiously plug in his black box turbo boost. I noticed him dive under the track as the Turnmarshalls hit their second chord and the skies over Glastonbury shivered visibly again. I was just wondering how Badger could be surviving this, knowing that she would be in the front row of the audience, raising a finger to her old adversary, lead guitarist Sticky Bridgestone.
When Gray emerged from under the track, he hit the throttle. Immediately his 1/32 ten wheel drive articulated ELP tour truck surged forward on the NSCC main circuit. Simultaneously the Turnmarshalls third chord- that deadly Bm9- burst eardrums in four counties, stuttered, and died. Lights all over Glasto burst, and a black, reverberating silence fell over southern England......

4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For a while it was quite an inspiring sight. The whole Glastonbury site illuminated only by the glowing ends of hand-rolled cigarettes. A complete and catastrophic failure of the electrical supply provided a magical moment. The silence was quite uncanny- the whole place had turned into the biggest chill-out room in the universe. When the clanking of the Lithuanian balalaika ensemble on the remote World Music stage ground to an embarrased halt we experienced a, like, cosmic moment of stillness as heads turned up towards the glowing starlit sky.
Then a familiar silhouette appeared on the main stage, backlit by a Metropolitan police standard issue 6 volt torch.
Whispers sped round the gaping audience. A few recognised the shabby trenchcoat, the twisted trilby hat. You could hear the sizzle of hurriedly doused joints from here to Tierra del Fuego, and darkness fell again.
Then Inspector Thumb, for it was he, raised a loudhailer to his lips and addressed the multitude.
'I have reason to believe that an act of sabotage has been committed here. One single, selfish person has spoilt the enjoyment of one and a half million innocent spectators. Now it's not funny and it's not clever. Now unless that person owns up within the next sixty seconds, I'm going to have to put you all in detention. Yes, All of you. I have sent Sergeant Argent into town on his bicycle to arrange for sufficient police vans to be brought here to detain every camper in Glastonbury. Unless the culprit owns up, you will all be taken away to the police station in Shepton Mallet. Come on now- I'm waiting!'
'Don't you think your over-reacting a little here, Inspector? I can have the back up generators going in just a few minutes....'
The voice of Turnmarshallofdoom's chief roadie could not dissuade Thumb from his course.
'This troublemaker is not going to get away with it. His bad luck that he should pull his juvenile prank whilst Chief Inspector Thumb of Scotland Yard Slot Car Division was on the scene. Stand aside. I'll deal with this in my own way.'
The roadie groaned and turned away as Thumb counted down the last ten seconds into his megaphone.
'Right. That's it. Too cowardly to own up to your own little joke are you, whoever you are? Well, I want everyone, everyone of the 1,502,073 of you here tonight to file into the police vans Sergeant Argent has assembled at the gate of the bottom field. You will all give precise details of all your movements over the last twenty-four hours to the desk sergeant in Shepton. And no fibbing. All right now, form an orderly line.'
Unbelievably, half an hour later the place was deserted. Only one or two human remains were left on the fields of Glastonbury. In the NSCC tent, Wankel 'Sniffer' Ickx remained dead to the world in a narcotic stupor. Beneath him, the as yet unidentified owner of the other two feet tried to turn to a more comfortable position and failed. Beneath the main circuit, Gray Rewinder was desperately trying to dismantle his black box turbo charger, the one that drew considerable amounts of power from the main electrical supply. And at the foot of the main stage lay the inert body of Badger O'Halloran, her supple body trampled into the mud, and a dark trickle flowing from each ear....
And unbeknown to me at the time, from beneath a hedgerow Harry Porsche raised a scabby pair of army surplus binoculars to his eyes and surveyed the scene.

Howmet's adventures at Glasto, pt III

Personally, I was in the back of the 789,307th police van making it's way down the moonlit single track roads towards Shepton Mallet. I had nothing to hide, nothing to worry about, but it's still pretty creepy being in the back of a police van at two o'clock in the morning as my fellow passengers tried desperately to prise open the windows to dispose of small herbal packages or chew and swallow capsules of various colours, shapes and sizes. I had come to Glastonbury to see the legendary NSCC tent, to participate in some of the traditional Glasto slot racing events. Sex and drugs and rock and roll had generally passed me by on another lane in my young and lonely life. The conversations I overheard were abrupt and indignant, but somehow strangely familiar to me, a fan of the slots rather than hard core rock.
'I was well into that battle of the bands they had coming on tomorrow night.'
'What, Can vs Strap?'
'Yeah- Can have reformed specially for the gig. Come all the way over from Germany.'
'But Strap are well wicked. Can you believe it- the bass player from the Motors produced their first album?'
'What, 20.000 RPM?- Cool disc. I got it on MPV.'
'I came to see Grand Funk Railracer myself. They must all be in their 50s by now, but my Dad's got all their albums.'
As the caravan of black marias trundled over the countryside, I had little idea of what was going on back at the festival site, but this is what I pieced together afterwards…

Thumb himself made a bee-line for the NSCC tent. Of course. Only Gray Rewinder witnessed the events from beneath the track. He watched Thumb sidle in, looking askance at the body of 'Sniffer' Ickx.
'Drugs squad. I might have known. Bloomin useless. Good job Slot Car Division was here. Didn't know he had four feet though.' Thumb's powers of observation were legendary in the force. More so than his powers of deduction, as it happens. From a discreet pocket in his overcoat he drew a twelve volt car battery of compact design, and proceeded to hook it up to the track. From another pocket he pulled his hand-built and custom tuned Bently Speed-8 and placed it lovingly at the start line of the NSCC 'Overland to Goa' rally track, set the computer and hit the throttle. After a few runs he satisfied himself that he had established an all-comers record for the course, set the computer to store his times, and wandered over to inspect the other 1/32nd scale vehicles that lay abandoned around the place.
'This is the way to do it. I can't be doing with all those mud splattered new-age hippy grungers. But the NSCC always put on a good show. And now I've got the place to myself. Even got rid of that whining little stooge Argent. Could'nt have planned it better.' Thumb muttered happily to himself as he picked at the cars, ran a few of them on the various tracks, and noted a few design features in his little black policeman's
notebook. A neat Chaparral 2H took his eye and occupied his attention while Gray Rewinder struggled desperately with his hay-fever just inches away from Thumb's feet, beneath the six-lane club circuit.
Gray bit his lips, pinched his nose, pummelled his forehead to delay the inevitable sneeze, while the debris of his power-sucking turbo-boost lay hastily buried in half an inch of hard-packed mud beneath him.

Shepton Mallet was quite crowded when we arrived. There were a lot of people milling about, mostly standing in a huge line stretching away from a small police sergeant's desk that had been set up under a street light. Each person filed past the desk, gave a brief statement to the weary looking officer, smeared a muddy thumb across a sheet of paper, and shuffled in through the doors of Shepton Mallet CID. There the queue snaked around the corridors, up to the first floor interview rooms, down to the basement cells, up to the back entrance and back out onto the street again. As I neared the desk, mentally preparing my statement, I began to pick out the voices of the people ahead of me as they reached the desk. 'Name?' asked the sergeant. 'Porsche. Harry Porsche.' 'Occupation?' 'Paperclip bender'. 'Sex?' 'Yes please'. 'All right, wiseguy, we'll be checking up on this. Back in line.'
And so the next one also appeared to be Harry Porsche, paperclip bender. And the next one. And the next. Not the next- she was Harriet Porsche, for obvious reasons. But nevertheless also a paperclip bender with a keen interest in opportunities for sexual engagement. When my turn came, I answered straight- 'Name?' 'Howmet, TX' 'Occupation?' 'Freelance beer taster' 'Sex?' 'Not since..' 'Are you pulling my leg, sonny jim?' 'No, officer- honest, officer..' 'Why ain't you called Harry like all them others? All them 1,002,354 that's come through here already? You tryin' to be clever?' 'No sir- honest, sir- that's my name…' 'That's enough of that my lad. Here. PC World. Take this one down to the cells and lock him up tight. Take away his belt and hypodermic. If he ain't got one you can lend him one of mine and take that away. This one's trouble.' Cuffed and dragged away to the stinking cellary of Shepton Mallet Police Station, my mind began to wander in several different directions….

Gray sneezed violently. Inspector Thumb glanced at Sniffer and grunted. 'Bless you'.
But the force of Gray's sneeze bounced his head against the underside of the track and simultaneously brought his knee into sharp contact with Thumb's groin. The car Thumb was propelling around the track on the last amps of juice from his portable car battery leapt out of its slot and crashed to the coconut matting by Gray's feet. 'I've had it now' thought Gray. 'I might as well come clean. Own up to short-circuiting the entire electrical supply of Glastonbury and bringing Turnmarshallofdoom's headlining set to a hasty and premature conclusion. What can they do to me? A few months in Belmarsh? They have a cool six-lane MDF circuit there last I heard. Never liked running with magnets anyway. I wonder if they'll let me take my pit-box in with me, or will I get to do a couple of new scratchbuilds in the prison workshops as occupational therapy…' It only dawned on Gary very slowly that he shouldn't really have this much time to think. It was then that he realised that Thumb, still absorbed in his beloved slot racing, had stooped down to retrieve the car, rubbed his groin cursorarily, and resumed his solitary race against the clock without even noticing Gray's trembling presence. He therefore decided to bluff it out. He stood up, saluted Thumb, and walked briskly out of the tent. There was still time to make his rendezvous with Harry…..

Alone in the cell I reflected on my unique situation. One and a half million festival goers were milling about in the street above me, all of them named, as far as I could tell, Harry Porsche. And all of them probably desperate for a moment of privacy. And here was me. A lonely man with a different name. Why, why, why?
Then I heard the key in the lock, the creak of the hinges, a cry of pain, and a young woman was propelled roughly through the door. The door shuddered again, the key turned in the other direction, and I was left looking into the most beautiful face I had ever seen. 'Harriet Porsche I presume?' I managed to utter these words with my last reserves of sang-froid. She screamed. 'No no no no. Not you as well! This is madness! Help me!'
Eventually she seemed to lose the momentum of her hysteria and collapsed sobbing on the hard wooden bench. She flinched as I approached, but she had no reserves of energy left to resist me. 'It's all right. It's the same for me. I'm just as confused. My name's not Harry. It's Howmet. Howmet TX. What's going on? Why do the police believe all those others and not you and me? Listen. We're in this together. Calm yourself down, and let's try and think this one through.' As I spoke I was rubbing her back gently, in the manner prescribed in a book I have at home- 'How Sad and Lonely Men Can Still Persuade Nice Ladies To Have Fun With Them' Then I stroked her long, soft black hair. Then I nuzzled her ear lobes with my extraordinarily long and prehensile tongue (although this bit doesn't actually come until chapter 15 in the book…) Gradually her breathing became more regular- although when she calmed down I found I missed the particular way her chest heaved up and down as she gulped for air. I briefly considered scaring her again. But it was too late for that. She turned to me and fixed her deep brown eyes on mine. 'Howmet? What a pretty name. Mine's Annie. Annie Thyme. I'm glad to have met another sane person. Even if it is in these mad circumstances. What has happened to the world? One minute my ears are bleeding, my brain is coagulating and my body is convulsed with the tortuous hammerblows of Turnmarshallofdoom's megawatt soundsystem, the next minute I'm miserable and alone in a prison cell.' 'Not quite alone, Annie'. 'No, Howmet. Get me back to Glasto. Please! We might still catch Turnmarshall's second set!' 'Yes, Annie. I will do this for you. But I have different reasons for getting back there. I need to know who the real Harry Porsche is, and what Gray Rewinder did to boost his hand controller. Power like that could win me the club championships. And another thing bothers me. However did Inspector Thumb manage to organise enough Paddy Wagons to clear one and a half million hippies away from Glastonbury in the space of two hours? This has all the hallmarks of a set-up. And I've decided it's my mission to get to the bottom of it all.'

Glasto IV

Harry Porsche surveyed the scene with shock and a pair of army surplus night vision binoculars. It wasn't supposed to happen like this! And where was Gray Rewinder? The time for their rendezvous was long past…..
Anxiously he swept the main stage area. A slight movement in the mud caught his eye. He spun his binoculars back and refocused. A body- twitching. Gray? It had to be. Had the feds got him? He scanned 360 degrees again. No-one. The whole site was deserted. This should be the climax of the entire festival- one and a half million hedonistic campers getting their rocks off to Kraut-rock supergroup Can. But all was silent. It was truly weird. He had to take the risk- to break cover and run to Gray, twitching and trampled there in the mud. At least if he was moving, he was alive. Harry took one last deep lungful of reassurance, stood up and ran squelching through the fields toward the main stage. As he got closer, he crouched, keeping a low profile. He zig-zagged, redoubled his path, now and again stopping to draw breath and scan the horizon for security agents. Well aware that this could all be a trap, he took one last outside radius turn to approach the body from downwind. His binoculars, hanging from their leather strap, banged painfully against his hip as he ran. His breath became shallower- those damn roll-ups- his ribs ached, but he had to get to Gray, whatever the risk. When he was five yards away, he flung himself down, arms outstretched, and slid through the mud. He felt contact in the darkness, something soft and malleable that arrested his progress. It was reassuringly warm. Alive! But he felt no pulse. He massaged it firmly, trying to bring the circulation back. 'Hey! I've got you now! It's me, Harry! Everything's cool. Relax.' he whispered.
'Well hello Harry, whoever you are. Is this how you usually meet women?'
Badger O'Halloran propped herself up on her elbows, rolling slightly in order to trap Harry's groping hand beneath her left buttock.
'Er- well, I like to experiment' said Harry, struggling to make sense of the situation. 'Let me introduce myself….'
Another body slid into Badger's right side.
'Harry- is that you?'
'No. He's over there. Who are you, big boy?'
'Thank heavens. Harry! We've got to move fast. Thumb's here.'
'Whose thumb?'
'Who is Thumb?'
'No- whose thumb is it? I can feel something moving. And I think I like it.'
'No- I mean Inspector Thumb is here. We have to move fast.'
'Well- where is he?'
'In the NSCC tent, racing. I think we have half an hour before his battery goes.'
'That's cool. Nothing will distract him from the track.'
'Yeah- he found my ten-wheel drive truck and entered himself in the slow race. It's a compulsion with him. Even when he's the only one there. Obsessively competitive.'
'Yes- it's the one thing I admire about him.'
'Hold on you two guys. Would somebody mind explaining what's going on here?'
'OK, OK. We'd better introduce ourselves properly' said Harry.
All three slowly stood up in the mud, looking rather like a cover shot for a Slits album.
'Well- I know it's dark, but you two will probably have heard of me. Badger O'Halloran. Rock star nemesis and slot car saboteur.'
'Hmm. Interesting. Maybe we should be working together. I'm Harry Porsche, Commander-in-chief, Special Executive Logistics Bureau Personnel Division Operations and Agenda, Slot Car Anarchists Brigade.' He paused, watching for Badger's response. There was none. She was staring at the horizon above his right shoulder.
'You may have heard of us', Harry continued. 'Popularly known as SCAB. Motto (page 215, para 12, subsection 312 of the official written constitution); No rules, let's race. And this here is Gray Rewinder, Second in Command and Chief Technical Officer, West Hamley Division. Say hello, Gray.'
A pink crack split the horizon. Badger closed her eyes slowly. Dawn's rosy fingers caressed her pale, exultant cheeks. Then it went dark again.
Harry felt a hard, circular rim clamp itself against the left side of his head.
It was indeed Inspector Thumb, Scotland Yard's famous Scalextric Detective, with his megaphone.

All this time, I was cooped up in a cold police cell in Shepton Mallet, with only a beautiful young dark eyed woman pressed against me for company. I had to get out of there. Annie had lapsed into a whimpering slumber, her arms wrapped around me and her hot breath exhaling down my collar. I had to be patient and plan my moves carefully. Meanwhile, I could put up with this for some time. Then I heard the keys in the door again. They sounded furtive. The door creaked open slowly. I peered into the empty doorway which was then suddenly filled by a vision of pink brocade.
'Hi dearies. Don't mind me. Little old Sergeant Argent. I've come to give you two a good sorting out. How you ever got yourselves into this mess I'll never know. But if I were you I'd slip off home.'
Annie blinked and woke up. 'I'm hungry. Is that a banana in your pocket, Howmet? It wasn't there before…'
'Ssssh Annie. This is Sergeant Argent. I think he has something to tell us.'
'Well yes, quite. I think Thumb- my boss- I think he's really lost the plot this time.'
'I know the feeling' I said.
'Yes, well. He had this crazy plot to get the drugs squad to close down the festival so that he could get the whole NSCC tent to himself. But it seems to have gone a bit wrong….'
'Seems like it worked superbly' I said dryly.
'Apart from the fact that there are now one and a half million campers named Harry Porsche milling about Shepton Mallet disrupting the traffic. Poor old local west country rozzers. Say the same thing enough times and they'll believe it. Twenty people called Harry Porsche might have raised their suspicions. But after one and a half million of them they were ready to arrest anyone who wasn't called Harry.'
'You mean me and Annie?'
'Quite. But by giving your real names, you've proven to me at least that you must be innocent. Me having the only working set of brain cells around here at the moment. It's all obviously a huge conspiracy. But what for I havn't the slightest idea. Anyway. Off you go.'
'We're free to go?'
'Oh Harry- let's run- we might catch Turnmarshall's second set after all!'

Meanwhile, back at Glastonbury, strange events were taking place.
'No Thumb. It's your turn to take the rap, my friend.' Harry, Gray, Badger and Thumb himself whirled round. Another presence was blotting out the faint pink light of the rising sun. Who was this interloper?
Thumb spoke first. 'Ickx! So you woke up at last! You think you can pull one over on me?'
'Sure I can, Thumb. Someone drugged me. According to my official Drug-Squad notebook here I calculate that I have been unconscious for two days. When I woke up fifteen minutes ago, I checked the NSCC tent for prints with my mini ink-and-duster kit. The only prints I found on every single piece of slot racing equipment were yours, Thumb.'
'Don't you mean thumbprints?'
'Shut up Porsche or you'll be on a charge too. I've got a fat file on you too son. Anyway. I think I know what's going on here. I've got you on opportunity and motive, Thumb me old son. You weren't interested in a rock festival, were you? All you were here for was the slot racing at the NSCC tent. You had to get rid of all the rock fans somehow so that you would have the place to yourself. So you came up with this scam of shorting out the electrical supply so that everyone would have to go home. You came equipped with a special compact battery so that you could use the slot tracks after everyone had gone, didn't you? But to make all this work, you had to keep me quiet. And that's where your accomplice, Miss Badger came in. Didn't she?'
Gray and Harry were looking decidedly nervous at this point. But then another strange figure overshadowed the pale sunlight. A very strange figure. Like an Egyptian wall painting. All sideways, and with arms splayed out awkwardly and both feet pointing in the same direction.
'O.K. Ickx. Your time's up. You're coming with me.' The figure spoke with difficulty through a twisted mouth.
'And who are you?' Ickx spun round defiantly.
'Me? I'm special agent Nuro. Deep-deep undercover drugs squad. Deep under you, to be precise, Ickx. I was detailed to watch your back, but when you keeled over from Badger's fumes, you keeled over onto me. I've been trying to get out from underneath you for the last two days. You need to diet, Ickx. A prison diet, perhaps. Best to come quietly.'
'Aha. The other two feet' murmered Rewinder.

It was at that point that I reached the scene, ready to make a citizens arrest on Thumb myself. But everyone had arrested everyone else already. So that was out.

'Look' said Harry. 'This is silly. We can't all be under arrest. I think that we're all after the same thing. The Slot Car Anarchist Brigade enlisted everyone on this campsite weeks ago. One and a half million hippies agreed to adopt the name of Harry Porsche so that I would have cover for my own work. Which was to convert Glastonbury from a Rock Festival to a Slot Festival. No-one here is a music fan- they're all slot racers, like you and me. And there's nobody here who would seem to disagree with our goal.'
'When are Turnmarshall doing their second set?'asked Annie.
'Well, almost no-one. But listen to me- Thumb, Gray, Badger, Howmet- you're here for the slot racing, am I right? So's the rest of the crowd! The music is just a front! C'mon- let's all get down to the NSCC tent and get it on!'
A dull plunking sound, partly melodious, partly insane, grew gradually louder. The whole group of us turned to see a bedraggled group walking across the mud in the strengthening rays of the sun.
'Music?' asked Thumb.
'Not quite.' said Harry.
'Excuse please. We are Lithuanian State Balalaika Ensemble. Please to point way to NSCC tent?'
'You cannot be serious. They don't go for that sort of thing at the NSCC' I said, with some justification.
' No-please. You are not understanding. This is only way we could get visa. Show them Boris.'
The biggest guy, who looked like a grizzly bear on steroids, but somehow less human, held a bass balalaika in his paws. At a nod from his leader, he spun the instrument round, and opened a panel behind the soundboard. Twinkling in the gradually brightening morning rays was a fully tooled set of steel chassied race cars.
'Hey- no kidding, comrades. No rules. Lets' race!'

4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Harry.
I see we're going to have to work our way through every name on the forum to get at least one reader for every story.
I feel 'The Princess and Dr Pea' coming on...

Not many people know about the events following the 30th anniversary meeting of the West Hamley Slot Car Club, which was inaugurated by Princess Diana. It was during a troubled time in her tragically short life, and on that occasion much-needed comfort was provided by a visiting US pro-racer...

The story is still on file at Slot Car Division HQ. When the world is ready...

tx, I am alway ready (ask my wife) any good story and I am there. So let's have it I can't wait.

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