P-Nut has lizard eyes and Marlon Brando hair. And a Nissan Silvia S13. It’s as much a physical characteristic as any other shitty descriptor. You see, some people talk movies, some people talk cooking, P-Nut talks cars: specs, prices, equipment, emotions.
“I started off driving…being a hoon because, I don’t know, there’s just something about it. Speed.” He takes a Winfield and sparks up. “Making a car do something it’s not meant to. You get addicted to the smell of burning rubber. Ends up being the nicest smell.”
It’s a mild afternoon at Twitch’s – real English countryside weather – and we’ve all gotten into the cold ones. I’ve got a loose tongue and keep finishing P-Nut’s sentences the wrong way. To stop myself ruining the interview, I ask a question with a good, long answer.
“And the drifting, what about that?”
P-Nut chuckles and looks up from the cigarette packet he’s been inspecting. It’s that one with Bryan on. There was this misguided theory among the gang that he actually died of AIDS, and the government was hijacking somebody’s tragedy as part of a bizarrely personal effort to make us all stop punching darts. Wrong. He did die of lung cancer, albeit the really premature kind that arises from smoking two packs of Marlboro Reds a day. Risky business.
“That’s about the rush, too. Proper drifting isn’t just skidding out on a corner – that takes a lot less skill. Proper drifting is coming in like this-’ And he performs some real complicated hand gesture. ‘-With a handbrake entry, and going around, losing traction, open throttle around the corner. While being in control the whole time.”
“And is that all you like about this stuff?”
“Nah. Building cars is hectic. Making them better. They come out stock-standard; most cars are even de-tuned these days, going slower from the factory. You can make ‘em go fast, look nice … whatever you’re into. You can have a car suited to your personality.”
He stubs out his cigarette.
“But it’s mostly just speed. There’s something about it that makes me happy. No, not happy. Different. Afterwards, I just smile. ‘That was sick.’ You hit Nasho … my mates have had their stopwatch, and I’ve said: ‘We’ll go from Waterfall entry, and time who’s on the car park at Bald Hill first.’”
P-Nut is getting up now. Places to be. But he’s still talking, like he can’t stop.
“I’ve hit it under ten minutes, two, three times. That shit … going around in third gear, ninety kays and 5000 rpm the whole way. Cut it back to second on the corners. You’ll see them, as a passenger, coming up: one car, tire smoke. Two car, tire smoke. No headlights. Kinda feels like I’m a kid, watching Tokyo Drift. But I’m doing it.”
Jess giggles. P-Nut looks over, too proud to be embarrassed.
“Oi, that shit’s fucking dangerous.”