Saturday, 21 July 2012

Racking Up The Miles.

I dread to think just how many miles i have driven over the last sixteen years. Us cameramen drive... a lot. Sometimes, a couple of hundred miles in one day is not uncommon. Driving from one story to the next racks up the mileage to the point of having the insurance company laugh and rub their hands in greed at how many miles i drive per year... Bastards.

A sight not often seen. Empty roads.
We call ourselves TV News Cameramen, Photojournalists or Camera Operators, in fact i would describe my job as follows:

'Driver. Waiting Specialist. Tea drinking, cheesy puff eating street lurker and occasional cameraman.'

That about sums it up. I see more interesting things on the road than i do filming the news. I've seen people doing truly disgusting things in their cars as i drive by, illegal things and things to make a man spaff snot onto the dashboard in wonderment of other peoples stupidity. The usual stuff, like texting and phoning whilst driving is a daily occurrence. I watch people pick their noses and eat the resulting finger food. I've seen them slap the kids, put on makeup, shave and eat their breakfast at speeds of up to and surpassing 70MPH.

The driving public of this nation is a story all it's own. Ever seen a man read the paper whilst steering with his knees..? I have. I once saw a Nissan Micra pass by with no discernible driver that i could see, at the lights up ahead it turned out to be a very tiny old lady, peering through the steering wheel.

Also, i've had more close shaves than a Gillette product tester. I've sat in longer queues than a Wimbledon tennis final and used more fuel than your average mission to Mars. I spend more time in my news van than i do with my wife and seen more twinkling red lights ahead of me than there is in a Soho whorehouse.

Now, if you will excuse me, i have a knocking sound under the bonnet of the van that won't go away. It could be that badger i ran over last Thursday...

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.