The pic below is of a car I spotted on my street last night (for my regular readers, I can say it was spookily near Senator John Kerry's favourite boozer). The car was a midnight-blue, vintage Aston Martin; beautiful, even to someone like me who doesn't normally give a toss about cars.
Nonetheless, it wasn't the smartness of the car that piqued me. It was the number-plate: 4 NON. ANON, in other words. This struck me as a bit contrary: how anonymous do you really want to be when you have a personalised number plate on a £100,000 car parked in the middle of the greatest city in the world? I concluded that the motor belonged either to an ironic surrealist, or a twat.
It also reminded me of the other time I have been genuinely surprised by a personalised number plate. It was in Belfast, in the early 90s. This was a time when the Troubles were still in full swing - people were being blown up regularly, the streets were full of nervy British soldiers, etc. Quite near one of the terrorist hot-spots of the city I noticed a big Mercedes, with the number plate UZ1. i.e. Uzi. As in Uzi submachine gun. A nice touch in a city where people were actually being machine-gunned.