By Fat Hippo
In this article you will find two pictures. They were taken three weeks ago in London and Manchester. You are looking at an eclectic mix of South African, British, Jamaican and German people. There also was an Italian involved as I met Carlo too, but there is no photo of that, after all this is supposed to be a family friendly blog. Let's just say when we were sitting in a bar in Watford, it was a true Stettler and Waldorf moment - two grumpy old men reminiscing how in the olden days everything was better.
All these people have one thing in common - we are all former associates of a website we find ourselves in an unfortunate argument with right now. Not all have anything to do with Spanners' podcast, in fact only Fortis and I do, and our contribution has so far amounted to calling into the podcast, something that wasn't a regular part of the previous incarnation of the podcast.
Most of us walked away more than a year ago, and if it was for us, this argument wouldn't exist to begin with. Some left on their own volition, others, like I, were shown the door for daring to disagree with His Honour about something or other. One thing we all did was going on with our lives and some of us happened to meet again when the passion for the sport proved to strong to walk away from writing and podcasting. Spanners has always been the creative force behind the podcast and when I saw he was continuing to do them I joined his website and started ranting again. So far so good. His Honour has his concept of daily news and copy-paste journalism, while we go more in the direction of opinion pieces. Why should we try to do something that Autosport can do much better with their resources?
So we are not even competitors, yet after all this time the owner of that website we all formerly contributed to felt the need to attack us unprovoked and levelled accusations, mainly at Spanners, which are, there is no other word for it, blatant lies. Let there be no doubt. This argument will see both sides come out of it with more bruises than we went in with. Readers who have so far visited both sides might feel compelled to make a choice for one or the other. And no matter how hard you try to keep it civil, the odd rash statement will be made and composure might be lost. It's in the nature of conflicts that start with mudslinging in the first place. You might try to stay calm and keep it civil, but you have mud on your face because the opponent chose to play unfair from the very start.
The accusation that Spanners poached TJ13 contributors to produce his podcast is just a blatant lie, in fact the only former regular is Matt, so the statement that most of the Missed Apex podcast members are former TJ13 associates is just plain wrong. Spanners has never actively approached any TJ13 contributors, certainly not me. In fact it was I who approached him, and at the time I had departed that former cooperation a long time ago. We are certainly perfectly within our rights to work with Spanners any way we see fit.
There is a reason why I took the tedious eighteen hours, 2000 mile train ride from close to the Austro-Italian border all the way to London. Carlo at the time was just days away from a bypass surgery, and no matter how routine these surgeries are these days, you still worry about it. And for all the problems we had in the beginning of our acquaintance, I consider Spanners a good friend by now, and god help me, I'm inclined to say the same about Fortis. We will probably always be polar opposites in our views on F1, and if we lock horns on Twitter, you better get some popcorn, because fireworks are about to commence. But when we sat in the Lucas Arms pub, we were just two blokes from opposite ends of the world who were having a jolly good time.
Credit shall be given where they are due. Without working for the self-proclaimed judge, we would most likely have never met and I still would never have been to Britain. But time has changed. He has alienated each and every one of us one way or the other, and it is time to accept that. We were willing to put that behind us, and still are, but an attack on my friends is an attack on myself, and that means: Though shalt be stomped upon.
What Mr. Judge surely knows is that we are all aware of his true identity, in fact some of us have even photographs of him. We could make this short and painful and play dirty, but we don't. We expect to be left alone and arguments to be settled like it befits grown-up people, and therefore we don't play the schoolyard bullying game. In fact we don't even want to argue in the first place, but 'turn the other cheek' isn't a concept that works in real life, because that's what bullies like the most - cheap shots.
Spanners has already set the record straight as far as the podcast is concerned, and there is nothing to add to that. The brain drain that has befallen His Honour's website is nobody's fault but his own. At times Carlo and I spent more than thirty hours a week writing news and articles, often for little more than a not very sincere thank you. We still spend a lot of time writing, but we do so in a much more relaxed atmosphere and without a control-obsessed taskmaster, who thinks he has it all figured out. None of us has it figured out. Carlo can't comprehend any dates higher than 1987, Spanners is hopeless at tech stuff, which is why he's an Engineer, and I'm hopeless at diplomacy. We embrace our deficits.
Long story short; I have offered my thoughts on this to His Honour in private, so most likely you'll soon be able to read it when he posts it on Twitter. As far as this argument is concerned, I consider it over. I have no time for this. I was recently reunited with the love of my youth, after 22 years apart. I'm looking forward to a whole weekend of doing stuff that's not meant for an audience.
So, if you wanna fight, feel free, but keep it civil.
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