SPVs on the road again

Apr 23rd, 2012 | By | Category: Ireland

SPVs are in the news again, special purpose vehicles, Government financial mechanisms through which the public bears the gambling costs of private speculators. Taking money from working people to pay the debts of the rich is only making a bad situation worse, but any schoolboy economics students could have told the finance minister that taking more and more money out of the economy will certainly cause it to shrink.

Oh for the days when SPVs were Spectrum Pursuit Vehicles. SPVs bring happy memories and have brought happy conversations here in the past.

The Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle was an all terrain armoured vehicle that was driven by a driver who faced backwards and steered with the aid of a television monitor. The SPV, of course, did not exist. Even the most gullible of schoolboys would not have taken anything on Captain Scarlet as remotely true. Spectrum was an acronym for something; its officers, each one having the name of a colour took commands from Colonel White. The enemies were the Mysterons, whose presence was indicated by hoops of light passing over the places they approached. They had turned one of the Spectrum officers to their own evil ways; inevitably, the traitor in Spectrum’s ranks was Captain Black, who had a sinister look and a permanent five o’clock shadow. (Captain Black gave me a lifelong distrust of people with designer stubble). The female presence came in the form of the Angels; the fighter pilots who took to the air in brilliant white aircraft and were called things like Melody and Harmony.

The SPV was part of a programme that was part of a whole genre of children’s programmes: Thunderbirds, with the exploits of International Rescue, offered much more variety than Captain Scarlet, and had no scary aliens; it also gave rise to far more merchandise than Captain Scarlet could even have imagined. How many Thunderbird craft were there? Five? On top of which there was Lady Penelope’s pink car. A friend had the complete Thunderbird set, but games always meant he got the best craft and gave all the orders.

The programmes seem extraordinarily simple in a time where computer generated images offering increasing complexity. The puppets never looked like anything other than puppets, the plots were simple, the outcomes predictable.

In the old days of SPVs, it was always easy to know which side was which. Colonel White would never be on the side of the Mysterons, Scott and Virgil would never fail in their rescue mission. It is not so clear who special purpose vehicles are serving; sometimes it seems the hoops of light have passed over the Department of Finance.




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  1. I think I know who the friend was Ian, he had the SPV too (made by Dinky Toys) !!! Dinky also made Captain Scarlets car too…!!!

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