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Shooting in Govan


Thirty six hours.
No time, really.

A city to cover and a crew spread between a ragtag collection of fire-breathing automotive muscle – the AMG GTS, the Porsche 911 Turbo, the G63 AMG. Woven through, some practicality in the form of the Jaguar and the BMW executive machines but a convoy largely comprised of sound and fury.

In short, what might euphemistically be referred to as a sub-optimal logistics solution.

Then there's the sleep...

There hadn’t been much. The week prior had been fraught. Cameraman changes up until the last minute, promises of equipment reneged upon, obscene sums of money bandied around in anger by men sick to the back teeth of our wheedling and whining – the rumbles of descent into chaos.

A hair-brained chase up the A1 had got us here – a flat out fox hunt across the Pennines led by the Turbo and the GTS. CB radios crackling warnings as the hounds chased through the low-rise outer circles of the once great shipbuilding city.

And all the time, the sky leaden with the vanguard of a Atlantic storm. So much to shoot, so few friendly gods.

We would finally see our beds at two o’clock in the morning having spent the evening making multiple attack runs on the Clyde Tunnel. Bumper to bumper, nerves fried, tail gate down, raw sewage flowing down the tarmac from a broken pipe flicked into the face of the photographer while a nightshift work crew laughed as we passed by for the twentieth time.

Graving Docks indeed

The old Graving Docks in Govan are a symbol of what happens when the generations-old familiarity with hideous industrial accidents and the clang of hammer on steel move out and styrofoam and Snapchat take up residence. The industrial vacuum where heritage money and lottery funds didn’t quite rise to the plimsoll line and then dropped away with the ebb tide. In their wake lay the detritus of a city…lager cans, traffic cones, a burned out car and the angle-ground stubs of scrappers’ nocturnal activities. Graving docks indeed.

The Shed

And prostrate along them the pitch-covered hulk of the old Harland and Wolf Engine Shed, a black leviathan cast upon the dockside. Where, for a century, it had groaned and bellowed into the night with the shouts of man and roar of motor, now it was silent.

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Silent, that is...

until the Flying Circus arrived bleary-eyed for twelve hours’ battle with choking black dust, variable visibility and light-fingered natives. For twelve hours the shed lived again, nourished by the fumes of high octane fuel, sweat and camera flashes…and then we were gone – memory cards stashed as over-steer lassoed us into the Loch Loman road to the sound of the braying of a gang of Neds assembled on the corner.

How we're responding to COVID-19.

At XL we've introduced several measures to ensure the safety of our customers and staff. Our head office is open for drop-offs and collections and all our vehicles are fully valeted and sterilised. Collections and drop-off staff all have full PPE including face masks, sanitising spray and hand cleaning fluid.

Our procedures for customers collecting vehicles:
  • New vehicles will be cleaned, sanitised and disinfected by our staff member, who will then place the keys on the windscreen and then go 2 metres away whilst the client goes to the vehicle to inspect it. Once our customer has checked and is happy with the vehicle a copy of the inspection report is emailed straight to them.
  • The handover is complete, and no contact is made between the customer and staff member. Spare gloves and sanitising wipes are available for our customers to use should they be required.
Our procedures for customers returning vehicles:
  • When a customer arrives with the vehicle our staff member will direct you to park the vehicle in a dedicated parking area and ask you to leave the vehicle, locking it and placing the keys on the windscreen. Once our customer has done this and is the required 2 metres away our staff member will approach the vehicle to disperse the sanitising/disinfecting fluid on the keys unlock and enter the vehicle sanitising the dashboard, steering wheel, handbrake, door and window controls, seat adjustment controls. Our staff member will then perform the initial visual checks inside the vehicle, such as mileage, servicing and fuel levels. A full external check of the vehicle is performed, along with tyres, under to bonnet and boot. Any new damage is noted. Once the inspection is complete a copy of the inspection will be emailed straight to the client.

Keep on keeping on... and stay safe!