Thursday, 30 April 2009


Posted to Volvo UK Customer Services

Dear Sir

We all know the image of the Volvo don’t we? The safe man’s choice. You’ve never been more assured of getting from A to B than in a Volvo. Because that’s what Volvo’s do. Well, I’m afraid I will never buy a Volvo, ever, and when you read the rest of my correspondence, I’d be surprised if you still wanted to work for them.

I thought it may be of interest for you to hear about my Uncle Brian, god rest his soul. What a calm and considered man he was. At peace with the world, was our Brian. I’ll never forget the year he and Auntie Pam hosted our Christmas dinner - it must have been 1998 because it was the same year that the first of the canaries died, but that’s another story, quite a horrific one actually. Anyway, you’ve never experienced a Christmas like it, I can assure you. The dinner was ready at 2 o’clock on the dot, cooked to perfection with all the trimmings. The house was filled with love and peace, a scene of perfect domestic tranquillity. This was the perfect climax to a year of success and achievement for Brian, who’d become team leader at his accountancy firm that very year, Brian Junior had just started secondary school and his younger sister had completed grade three on the clarinet with distinction. Not to mention the extension which was now finished and that new boiler was well worth the investment, yes you really don’t notice how poor a poor boiler is until you upgrade.

Just a month after the aforementioned Christmas, the time came for Uncle Brian to trade in his car. And what would Brian go for? You guessed it! Our steady Eddie weighed up the options and a brand new Volvo was the only choice. All red and shiny with electric windows and a sun roof. Top speed of 112mph! Goodness me, Brian loved that car. And it fit him like a glove. “Good old Uncle Brian and his big red Volvo!” we used to say.

But over time we noticed that Uncle Brian had begun to change. At first he started coming home from the office a little later, he started missing the kids school engagements (indeed he missed Brian Junior’s first school play performance as the title role in The Wicker Man and never visited Brian Junior in the burns unit during those subsequent difficult few months). Then he began coming home stinking of stale whisky and cheap whores – Pam was beside herself. “He stinks of whisky and cheap whores the whole time” she would say to my mother, who had always found Pam unbearable since Dougie’s wedding and the incident with the electric toothbrush, but again, that’s another story.

Now, over time we began to notice that Brian, alongside his tendencies for clearly inappropriate behaviour (which by now included a rather embarrassing crack habit) had become more and more obsessed with his Volvo. It was like the Volvo began to own him, to control him. He would jibber in his smacked up state about the square, rigid design of the classic 144, the slick sophistication of the 850. He’d go and sit in the driver’s seat in the middle of the night and mumble incoherent Swedish. And, just like the Volvo, he would never turn the lights off. The house was permanently lit up like Brian Junior in that school play – even in the middle of the day! He adapted his diet so he would only eat Swedish things, meatballs and weird fish, and was once seen by a friend of Pam’s from flower-arranging classes, attempting to have sexual intercourse with an Ikea trolley (and believe me, this is as difficult as it sounds, indeed any sex becomes infinitely more difficult as soon as wheels are involved.)

Now with Pam at her wits end, Brian Junior getting through the family income in camomile every month, and the rest of the family utterly shamed, our tale of Uncle Brian reaches its conclusion. On the anniversary of Brian buying that big shiny red Volvo, to the very day, Uncle Brian’s body was found with lipstick crudely applied to his stubbled face, a lady’s thong stretched in and around his nether regions and the gear stick and handbrake firmly lodged in his rectum in a sort of mechanical double fisting scenario. It took the whole fire department to sort that mess out, and it also involved removing the roof off the extension Brian had been so proud of just twelve months before.

Now, I can’t be sure exactly how it happened, but I know for a fact that that shiny red Volvo was responsible for the terrible tragedies experienced by our Uncle Brian, and I hope you now understand, sir, why I will never be seen buying, travelling in, or having anything to do with a Volvo. However, I am intrigued to find out exactly what did happen to Brian and why your Volvo chose him as its victim of psychotic haunting. Have you experienced such behaviour from any other customers at all? Does your office resemble a Swedish sauna of debauchery?

I hope you can offer some explanation as to what exactly happened to Brian the year he got that Volvo, so we can finally lay his body to rest in peace.


Tim Broughton

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