Long Way Down


Twat being twatty with a bicycle 

A few months ago I did a spot on Long Way Round.

Hot on its baffles is a review for Long Way Down – right here, right now.

My first gripe comes with the fucking awful theme tune. I moaned about it in the last one and here I am moaning about it again, look. It’s a dreadful moronic noise that suggests we’re about to watch cage fighting with the homeless. Actually, if it wasn’t for my vast kink for motorcycles I wouldn’t bother staying tuned in.

What is obvious from the outset is that both Ewan and Charley have lost the wide-eyed trepidation of the earlier trip. They seem a lot more seasoned and confident – cocky, almost. HQ in this series consists of a vast garage containing thousands of quids worth of high-tech machinery and offices that deal with all the admin. I don’t recall such luxury originally. In ‘Round’ they spent an episode getting their bikes and another dealing with all the 4×4’s. This time they just materialised out of the blue, as did all the support vehicles and equipment.

Basic survival training was undertaken as they’re passing through some war torn parts of Africa. It went some way to taking the edge off their swagger, but apart from that and a few visa issues they were good to go. Then things got awkward.

Ewan breaks his leg at some traffic lights in London, minor fracture though, so it’s no big deal, yeah? But more seriously, Charley’s wife gets pneumonia and a collapsed lung. Being the hardly lass she is, she has no problem letting her husband go with her blessing, but Ewan’s wife has other ideas.

Not having ridden a bike before and being French, she decides she wants to accompany them on the trip. Ewan seems quite chuffed at the prospect but I should imagine this was for keeping the peace at the McGregor homestead. Charley began chewing his nails…

My immediate thought when I saw her explaining that she wanted to get involved was anger. It’s fucking ridiculous to even entertain the thought of biking in such extreme conditions if you’ve no experience. It puts an unnecessary pressure on all involved – it’s one thing trying to focus on what one is doing when biking without having to check the welfare of another. It’s dangerous, tiring and shit and happily fucks the dynamic of the two protagonists not to mention putting a strain on their genuine friendship

So now we’re subject to her learning to ride a fucking bike; really Ewan should’ve put his foot down (on her head) and told his wife to get on with looking after the kids and hehaw hehawing with onions, but instead he’s actively encouraging her! This wasn’t the original idea, what the bloody hell is going on here? Mercifully Charley had something to say about this situation (and a whole lot more off camera I’ll wager) so instead of joining them for the while trip, which I suspect would’ve been cancelled anyway following Charley storming off the programme, she’s now going to be joining them for two weeks in Africa, which is still a fucking ludicrous idea.

Despite being a little more rushed and little less oblique than Round, from my point of view it’s still a very entertaining series, but I wonder if that’s because I get the chaps, I am afflicted with the same motorcycle obsession they have, especially Charley who like me was riding before he was 10. Really, you can point a camera at a big bike and I will happily sit there and watch, even if it’s not moving. I’m mentally involved in their enthusiastic bike-related chatter, by proxy I experience the euphoria of getting on something beautiful and feeling extraordinary. Jesus, readers, I fucking get it.

Subsequently I empathise with their friendship, the bond they have over and above just being mates, making me even more angry that Ewan’s wife insisted on poking her fucking gallic nose into their business.

I’ve never been angrier about anything in my life, look… graaahhh, aaaarggghhh roar etc.,

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32 Responses to “Long Way Down”

  1. Swineshead Says:

    I don’t watch this for the same reason I don’t drink saltwater.

    Actually, let me go into why I don’t watch this shit.

    a.) It is a product of vanity
    b.) Boorman and MacGregor are boring berks.
    c.) It’s all a bit homoerotic (the French wife should have replaced Boorman by the sounds of it because…
    d.) Boorman is sinister and uninteresting in every way
    e.) Motorbike obsession is for men with a complex about the size of their pee-pee.

    Seriously, why the fuck should I be interested by a couple of cocks arsing about on their big-boys’ toys? This should be available by mail order only – it’s clearly one for the purist, wank-over-a-petrol-tank leather-boys. It doesn’t belong on prime time BBC2…

    It makes me SICK.

  2. piqued Says:

    I don’t like football, live and let live yeah

  3. Swineshead Says:

    I reckon there’re more football fans in the UK than there are motorcycle enthusiasts.

    *pulls moonie*

  4. mikey Says:

    Metro last week had a rather critical view of the program that i rather agreed with, basically echoing swineshead view. Do you think they use the same film crew as for the hairy fairies and their biking escapades?

    Piqued have you read “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance.”

  5. piqued Says:

    Of course, Ted Simon’s book Jupiters Travels is a little more apt. Even if you don’t like bikes its a corker.

    I did point out that this isn’t as good (so far) as The Long Way Round, did I not? Yes, I did.

    Re. Footie, SH, yes, you’re probably right. Though I don’t see what liking bikes has to do with a fellows manhood.

    *waves engorged prong*

  6. mikey Says:

    What about “The Motorcycle Diaries” ?

  7. Swineshead Says:

    Vehicles as wish fulfilment? The bright red sports car as a penis extension… it’s not an original theory I just baked up out of nowhere.

  8. piqued Says:

    Yes, seen that too Mikey.

    SH, we’re not talking about a bright red sports cars, I was talking about my passion for bikes. The two are poles apart, like rugby and football if you will.

  9. Rosszszsss Says:

    Piqued, have you seen Driving Miss Daisy? It is about motorbikes, if you replace the car with a motorbike.

  10. piqued Says:

    I have Rosszszsss, but I didn’t like the part where Morgan Freeman takes Miss Daisy forcefully from behind snapping her femur like a winter twig by ‘accident’

    The shoddy managing of Shawshank Prison security has a lot to answer for if you ask me, this menace should never have been on the streets.


  11. mikey Says:

    Piqued have you seen “The Horse Whisperer”? It is about motorbikes, if you replace the horse with a motorbike.

  12. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the one where Clarkson and May raced Hammond to the Pole. Hammond had dogs, and Clarkson and May were in a Toyota pick-up truck. Clarkson and May won.

  13. Swineshead Says:

    NC – I think you’re referring to that show called ‘Top Horse’.

  14. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    It’s a good show. They went to America and got into hot water. And they’ve done car Olympics.

  15. Swineshead Says:

    I liked it when Clarkson rode a Shetland pony around a disused airport and went so fast the G Force made his face go all stretchy.

  16. piqued Says:

    I like Top Gear too, hey, don’t shoot me yeah

  17. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    It’s a lot better than these two muppets showing us their holiday video. Never forget – Attack Of The Clones.

  18. piqued Says:

    It’s a totally different fish in kettles.

    To be honest if it wasn’t for the bike factor I’d find it rather tiresome. There I’ve said it.

  19. Who Says:

    I need someone to take me up the Piggly Wiggly. Apply on line to http://www.missdaisyinbeans.com.

  20. mikey Says:

    Fifth gear much better than Top Horse.
    Better drivers, rather than journos pretending to be petrol heads.

  21. piqued Says:


  22. Clarys Says:

    My boyfriend loves this shite – primarily because he’s done lots of random/stupid/enjoyable (delete where applicable) car rally type things – to the desert, mainly. Plymouth-Dakar being the main one. So, substitute bikes for cars, it’s a similar plan.

    He gets very, very annoyed with this programme. Primarily because, well, they don’t exactly sort out much themselves, do they? Piqued – I sincerely doubt McGregor’s wife has diddly squat to worry about in terms of being inexperienced because they have such a massive fuck off team behind them, watching their every move. In all seriousness, there’s not a lot they need to be concerned about – they’re hardly going it alone.

    At least when my bloke and his lot went, they are genuinely doing it pretty much as they go, and they don’t have a huge 4×4 behind them for protection.

    I just enjoyed watching it due to McGregor breaking his ankle, in much the same place and with the same amount of damage as me. I haven’t tried riding a bike with mine yet though. As an aside, I better not be given Robocop’s leg when my cast gets taken off, that would be most upsetting.

  23. Clarys Says:

    I should have clarified something here; my boyfriend loves these programmes because they make him feel better informed and generally more macho than these two “pansies” (his word, not mine).

  24. piqued Says:

    Clarys, it doesn’t matter how many support vehicles there are behind you, if can’t ride a bike and you fall off you’re still going to hurt yourself, especially if you have a 4×4 behind you…

    With all due respect to your chap, riding a bike isn’t the same as driving a car in terms of the threat to ones personal safety. Though I do agree with you to some respect with regards to all the support crew. I moaned about this in my original review of The Long Way Round

  25. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    They’ve just done one where they drive through Botswana in a load of second-hand cars. It’s funny because Clarkson can’t stand the Frogs.

  26. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I get what you mean about the wife, by the way. There’s a travel writer called Tim Moore whose books are ruined the moment his fucking wife and kids show up.

  27. james bisby Says:

    I love this show i would love to do this with a m8 how can u find this crap
    i think it if a fun programme to wach i like the two boys i think they are funny
    The BMW are lushhh on this 1 they got the new version of the old 1 oooo
    nice !

  28. piqued Says:

    Can you learn to speak fucking English James before you post on here

  29. Carl of Michigan Says:

    Just got the DVD and seen the first episode. I do like the lads, but they are men of previlidge. That is not a sin. It would be more interesting if they did the trip on the cheap, but Ewan’s agent would probably flip out.

    Ted Simon, in his book on walking through eastern Europe, said that riding a bike through the developing world is a bit arrogant. I agree, but it still looks like fun.

    The wife conflict is understandable and predictable, but also perhaps laudable. She loves him and she doesn’t want to share him with the world. The good news is that she is willing to do just that. I hope she adds an interesting twist to the story that wasn’t in the “Long Way Round”.

    The first episode is all I have seen so far. It is a bit derivative. It goes on a bit about the logistics which they work out in more detail than I can bare. The broken leg and the Eve’s response and Olie’s illness and Charlie’s response are the most interesting.

    My wife hates my bike and if I was a better man I would sell it in a second.

  30. Patti Says:

    Next time, lads, if there is a next time, leave wives, kids, dads, brothers, support teams, cameras, and any other superfluous shit behind and have a fucking great Lads Own time!!
    Go where the hell you want and take as much time as you want.
    Bring Claudio though, he’s ace.

  31. Jonathan Fox Says:

    I’m totally with Patti and I hold the same sentiments. Ewan is a bankable commodity for the big movie studios and I suspect this impacted on the rushed schedule and also the entourage that was out to protect him.

    I was furious when his wife wanted to tag along. It just ruins the dynamic. Can you imagine Morecombe & Wise + wife? Bonnie & Clyde + wife, Thelma & Louise + Husband… fucking no way!

    As for Claudio, he’s more than earned his stars… if a third person had to be featured more… it should have been Claudio.

  32. mostlylouche Says:

    What was the rest of the series like? I’ve only seen the first episode.

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