My father was a mechanic. Until it blew his back out. Then he drove trucks and ran a recycling factory. Heavy machinery, his red tool chest racked with wrench sockets, and him gas axe-ing underneath the rear axle of his truck on a side-street near Pape and Danforth in Toronto. Blood welling into a luscious red bulb on his huge grease-covered thumb knuckle while sitting at the kitchen table.
I wanted to be a mechanic. Or a race car driver. Sitting dead in front of the TV, heel-toeing and shifting along with the rally drivers on cockpit camera as they screamed through forests. I bought a wrecked motorbike, stripped it down rebuilt the engine, started first kick. It was never a life I was allowed to have.
Late Friday nights, splitting lanes down Chapel St, early-’00s Japanese import tuner scene engines and panel-rattling bass bins. Top Fuel drag racing on TV, 3.5 seconds of tearing the universe open. Another long pause, and I discover drifting. Le Mans, 24–hour endurance racing, GT3, GTE, sci-fi Prototype Classes, hybrid turbo engines downshift chittering on the Mulsanne Straight, “… hollow-eyed victims of some sort of weird abuse”, deep in the night of 24 Hours Nürburgring. Hoonage as art.
The Green Hell is a 6-hour endurance performance. It is a lecture on technology and engineering, on design and aesthetics, on velocity and noise, on the smell of hot engines, scorched brakes, burnt tires, sweet fuel, sweat and exhaustion.
When I talk about my love of hoonage, people look at me strange. Why are you into cars? Chicks aren’t into cars, especially queer chicks. Or somehow this must be a male thing, You’re into it because you’re a … go on, say it. I know what they’re thinking. I say, “Yeah, my dad was a mechanic.” and I see them relax. I give them a way out. The Green Hell is for everyone who was denied the pleasure of engineering and technology and the glorious, stupid euphoria of going fast, who weren’t allowed to participate in the baroque crazy of car culture. Wherever there’s cars, there’s people doing strange things to them and making communities. This is a drag race; not that kind of drag race.
The Green Hell is a hypothetical work in the future.