When reviewing a car, I always do my best to assess how well built the thing is. Mostly, this involves poking at it until bits fall off.
Sometimes, though, I like to try new methods… Like the time I took a hammer and spade and beat the living batshit out a perfectly innocent hatchback.
I used this unusual technique for the first time recently on a 1996 Honda Civic. Gadget Geeks co-presenter Colin Furze and I bashed the thing to within an inch its life and, although it’ll never pass another MOT, it gets my thumbs up for being one of the sturdiest cars on the planet.
Its windscreen is particularly solid, as the video below will illustrate. It took Furze and I a good 10 minutes of smashing, whacking and kicking, interspersed with some wheezing and catching of breath, before we managed to cave it in.
It turns out it was made of laminated safety glass, which consists of two layers of glass with a freakishly tough plastic layer between providing extra strength.
Why were we hacking at a Civic? All will be revealed in a forthcoming episode of Gadget Geeks (every monday at 8pm on SKY1) but I figured I’d share this behind the scenes footage as it shows, in no uncertain terms, that glass can be a lot tougher than it appears.
For the last few months, I’ve been busy filming a TV show called Gadget Geeks. When we started shooting more than five months ago, I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone when the show would air or exactly what it would feature, but now the shackles are off and it’s time to spill the beans.
Gadget Geeks will air every Monday at 8pm on Sky 1 HD in the slot that used to be occupied Steven Spielberg’s highly popular Terra Nova (no pressure there, then). In it, I play Rory Reid, debonair superhero and sometimes technology expert (the superhero bit is a lie, but anyone that says I’m not suave is asking for a fight). My main powers are solving people’s gadget problems and blowing things up. I star alongside fellow journalists Ian Morris and Emma Barnett, and inventors Colin Furze, Charles Yarnold and Tom Scott.
The premise of the show is pretty simple. Every week, members of the general public will step nervously into our studio to present us with a technology quandary. If it’s a problem that can be solved with an off-the-shelf gadget, the reviews team (Ian, Emma and myself) will show them a selection of suitable gadgets and take them somewhere to test said gadgets to figure out which is best for them. If their dilemma can’t be solved with a gadget that exists, Charles, Tom and Colin will invent and build them a gadget from scratch.
When you watch it, you’ll discover it’s very different to that other gadget show, y’know, The Gadget Show. Don’t take my word for it, though. Tune in every Monday at 8 . The show’s also repeated on Saturday at 7pm on Sky2 and Sunday at 3pm on Sky1 so you have no excuse to miss it. Unless you don’t have Sky, of course.
While you wait, have a gander at this trailer of the reviews team in action.
Before you ask — no, I haven’t blown a TV executive. Nor have I done a ‘Guy Goma’ and accidentally stumbled into the wrong studio at the wrong time.
What I have done is spent nearly a decade of my life making oft-janky, low-budget Web videos talking about everything from computer games to laptops to cars and popping up as a talking head “expert” on your favourite — or least favourite TV and radio shows.
I have good news and bad news. The bad news is I made a blog! Sorry — it’s not like the world doesn’t have enough already.
But the good news is, unlike most personal blogs, I’ll try to avoid boring you shitless with mundane ramblings about what sort of breakfast I had today (none, I like to maximise every sleeping second) or what colour socks I’m wearing (one’s white, the other’s a slightly different sort of white and is a bit tight, so it might actually belong to a girl, in case you’re wondering).
Instead, I’m going to use this blog a sort of metaphorical, Web-based bucket into which I’ll vomit my thoughts and tell you about the coolest stuff that happens in my life. Some of it will be about my work (I test cars and consumer technology), and some of it might even be about stuff that actually matters — like love, life and whether leprechauns actually exist (minus the bit about leprechauns).
I love Facebook. Ask anyone that knows me and they’ll tell you I’m one of those people that updates their status and posts images far too often.
I do it while I’m at home, while I’m at work, and now it seems I’ll be able to update my burgeoning profile when I’m dead. Yes, when the last breath has left my frigid corpse, I’ll be able to unleash one last missive on my unsuspecting friends (and those random people I’ve added who I don’t actually know).
It’s all thanks to a Facebook app called If I Die. Once installed, it lets you leave a pre-written goodbye after you’ve kicked the bucket. It’ll automatically fire off a text update or, better still, a video message that contains your final goodbyes. Creepy, huh?
How does it know when you’re dead? Well, during installation, it asks you to appoint particular friends as the executers of the app. Once you’ve been committed to the Earth, burnt to oblivion, or cast out to sea in a Viking longboat (that’s how I’m going out), they can hit the publish button and your profile is updated with your final ramblings.
A minimum of three of your trustees have to click the “yes, he is in fact dead” button before the app’s makers will publish your last words, though you can appoint more than three people as the guardians of your social media estate — which is handy in the event you end up outliving the default set.
The content of your final message is entirely up to you. The folks who make the app suggest you might want to tell a joke, say a simple goodbye, reveal a secret or slag off anyone you hated whilst occupying the real of the living.
Some might say it’s morbid — I say it’s pretty dope. The only thing it’s missing is an ‘if-then-else’ function that allows you to post final messages based on the circumstances of your death. Like, if you’re murdered by someone, your last message could say “It was probably Ian Morris”. Or it could say “I wish those bastards hadn’t turned my life support machine off. Please avenge me”.
I do a lot of standing around in front of a camera. Often, someone bothers pushing the record button and sometimes I’ll do and say things of vague interest — or so I hear.
Once, to help me remember a few of these occasions, I made what some might refer to as a showreel. I, personally, wouldn’t go as far as calling it that — it’s far too long and features too many lingering shots of me spinning through the air in zero gravity (so what, it was cool) but if you fancy seeing some of my antics and you’ve got a couple of minutes spare, there hit the damn play button and prepare to be Rory-entated.
Hi, I'm Rory Reid.
I'm a technology and automotive writer and broadcaster. You can use this Web site to to keep up to date what's happening in my life. Feel free to drop me a line if you fancy getting in touch.