Marvellous lunatics that is:
The 47-year-old piloted the Queen Anne table, set for a silver service dinner, twice down a 500m track at Santa Pod, Nottinghamshire, last weekend.
Mr Watkins expects to become the official world record holder for the fastest piece of furniture when his time is accepted by Guinness.
The table, named \”Fast Food\”, reached a top speed of 130mph and averaged 113.8mph, comfortably eclipsing the 92mph set by a sofa in 2007.
Not that I can see all that much use for a touring dining table. But then there was that gibbering Scots idiot who thought that people might like to see moving pictures of the man on the radio as he read the news, that quite mad Bristolian who thought people might like to go to Canada if anyone actually knew where it was, the bubba who invented the light bulb when gas lamps were just fine and even, if you can believe this, various entirely barking peeps who invented all sorts of oddities like shops where you choose your own cabbage.
Most failed because most inventors are mad. Some very few of the ideas proved to be great boons. Some it took rather a long time to find out: the London Hydraulic Power Company for example.
As a method of getting power to buildings around the City they built pipes between all the buildings. Ran compressed fluids in the pipes and thus could move usable energy from the power stations to the buildings. Not the most effective of systems but it did work, work by the standards of the time certainly. Electricity replaced it eventually….and there the pipes were, gently rotting.
Until Mercury Communications won a licence to provide telecoms in competition with BT. At which point the London HPC got bought up, ferrets were put down the pipes dragging cable and fibre optic and a communications network established.
And, if we\’re to be all economic boot boys about it, getting our kicks in on the sly, that there are such lunatics out there is precisely why planning just doesn\’t work. If the technologies available to us next year, next decade, depend upon whatever fizzes across the synapses of the mentally suspect, then how can we plan what technologies we should be using next year or next decade?
We might be able to predict that dinner parties will not be held in the slow lane of the M5, motorised Queen Anne tables or not, but what should wheelbarrow production be when there\’s some nutter in a shed making a ballbarrow?