It’s just a brilliant groove, isn’t it? Rolling and rocking and just moving on and on. Kind of like the campaign for Mandela was, I guess, until he was finally released. I never really knew much about The Specials – I didn’t even really get into Ghost Town until The Prodigy did an amazing cover of it, and I worked backwards – but this song just burned up the radio and I had to buy it. And I didn’t even get my free Mandela with the 12”, ho ho ho.
Strangely enough, I wanted to call my dog Nelson and, even though I was evidently pro-Mandela, it was actually after Piquet, the first guy I really followed in F1 (and to be fair, it’s probably a bit insulting to name a dog after a human rights activist and living embodiment of patience and guile. But for a racing driver it’s fine), but ultimately I didn’t do it because I didn’t want people to think poorly of me for yelling “Nelson” after a dog. Plus, we had cousins with the family name Nelson, which might have been confusing. So I called him Digger, and then had to be very careful how to pronounce it.
I met Piquet on the first day of the first season of GP2 actually, back in Imola all those years ago: I’d had a couple of years of interview current F1 drivers under my belt by then, but this was something else, and I was remarkably shy around him, even though he was just some old guy (and a driver’s dad) by then, rather than a 3 time world champion. I spent the first half of the season trying to convince Nelson Jr that, despite working for Autosport, I wasn’t going to screw him over like they had his dad (in favour of Mansell), but ultimately I won him over to the extent that he started playing pranks on me, including pouring a bucket of water while I was interviewing someone else: I chase him around the paddock before finally grabbing him in his truck and making him give me a new shirt, only for GP2 to tell me I couldn’t wear team uniform. I just found it the other day, actually. Happy days: I think he was on the podium in Le Mans on the weekend?
Not sure what it has to do with Nelson Mandela, though. Or The Specials. A message to you, anyhow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgcTvoWjZJU