Beyond the twinge: why you should watch out for classic-related health issues

| 24 Sep 2012

I’ve just come back from another visit to the doctor about my bloody dodgy knees.

No, not from spending my time on my knees in the office ‘pleading’ to our publisher for a pay-rise, but more than likely from years of crawling around on cold concrete floors searching for a nut and bolt that suddenly went AWOL during a crucial bit of classic maintenance.

The helpful doc suggested that it was likely that a section of cartilage had come adrift in the knee and subsequently causing some irritation. He also went on to suggest that commuting 550 miles a week in a manual gearbox Scimitar probably wasn’t exactly helping matters.

The situation reminded me of an old friend who happened to be the drummer in a band we once sought fame and fortune with. Obviously it goes without saying that both of those desires managed to elude us for many years despite tireless gigging and hours spent in rehearsal studios – sometimes even playing in time and in tune.

We did have to cancel a number of performances throughout our ‘career’ though – once because I nearly cut the top of my finger off fitting a new drain cover on our driveway (fingers are crucial to guitarists – even bad ones), but several more were canned because of our drummer’s Ford Escort van.

The faded two-tone white and orange van previously belonged to a railway engineering company if my memory serves me correctly, and provided efficient transport for the drummer’s kit several times a week as well as serving as an impromptu bedsit when things didn’t quite go to plan. Or when they did, if you know what I mean.

It rarely gave him mechanical trouble from what I can recall, and seeing as the other two band members owned a 3-series BMW (bass player) and a Morris Traveller (me: guitar and ‘vocals’), it was left to the drummer to provide the only band transport with any credibility when turning up to gigs.

One summer though, we began to notice him shifting uncomfortably on his drum stool rather more than usual but didn’t think any more of it until he called us from the hospital ward to suggest we might want to cancel the next round of gigs.

Turned out that the driver’s seat in his trusty Escort had, through years of wear and miles of bottom application, lost it’s padding. What the drummer once described as ‘being a bit uncomfortable' was almost direct contact with the metal frame and his derrière – eventually
resulting in fairly major surgery ‘round the back’ to remove a large, unsavoury abscess from deep within. I hope you’re not eating while you read this.

So there’s a lesson to you all. Whether it’s a heavy clutch hurting your knee or a threadbare seat causing a pain in the arse: ignore at your peril. Maintaining your classic is key, but sometimes it’s worth paying attention to more than just oil changes...

Vladimir Putin is very exacting about making sure his seat-base is properly padded

This sort of driving posture is just asking for trouble