Having just recently moved house, I found myself actually looking forward to it and decorating what is soon to be “Castle Black.” Then it hit me! I’ve grown up!
For a few frenzied moments I tried to work out how and when it happened, but I kept drawing blanks. As I started to calm down, I started thinking about how RMS has also grown up. Or I suppose, more aptly, how the site has evolved over the years since I first joined way back in 2002, not long after the forum in started in 2001.
Back then the site was clearly smaller and very different to the multi-platform presence RMS has now, but it was gaining popularity. The now in-vogue term of “banter” hadn’t been coined then, but on RMS we indulged in all a bit of craic, regularly ripping shreds out of each other in the endless pursuit of a “bit of craic” online.
Max Power Style spoilers and bold brash colours were the order of the day, and to quote a lyric from the 2Fast2Furious soundtrack (which could be found in every car CD stacker) there were “more speakers in the trunk than my ride could handle”. Indeed, we thought nothing of sticking a PS1 and multiple TV screens in our rides. In fact, if there was a space or a hole that could be filled with something, it was, and then some!
Car park cruises were a huge event, drawing people from all over Northern Ireland and beyond. Beats blasted and tyre smoke billowed into the night skies until stupid o’clock in the morning. There were happy faces all around, except for the officers of the newly formed PSNI who took a very dim view the cruisers nocturnal antics.
As you get older, you do actually get wiser. Well, most of us! The bravado and bluster that pervaded posts on early iterations of the RMS forum is a thing of the past now. Over the years the site has grown and grown to become the real internet home of a large community of very knowledgeable and helpful car enthusiasts.
Many of the original forum members like me are now married and have had kids. Some even have become very successful in various life, driving and career pursuits. Our level of involvement in all things car-orientated changed in tandem with these other commitments. It’s also evident that wider car culture in Northern Ireland and beyond has moved with the times too. Gone are the brash body kits and bold colours that typified the early years at ReallyMeanSounds.
The forum and feature pages are now home to a diverse range of cars and interests – everything from track day specialists, detailing clean freaks and those who keep it strictly OEM. For others, though, the wheels have got bigger, the cars have got lower and front bumpers are still catch cats eyes and speed bumps.
In the early days of the forum, power was everything. Again, it’s hard to believe that showroom standard diesel cars now have as much punch as the hot hatches we once owned or craved. Perhaps even more remarkable is that our forum members are now nearly as obsessed with MPG as we were about BHP, reflective of ever rising fuel costs and other drains on our disposable income (that’ll be the wives and kids again!).
No matter how much I feel that I have changed and my interest in cars has evolved, the same old stigma seems to lurk in the shadows. Display an interest in modifying cars, for the track, for personal interest, or just to add that touch of individuality, and those that don’t understand will apply the tired label of “boy racer”. If you take pride in your cars appearance with more than a token Sunday wash, the neighbours roll out the predictable “you’ll polish the paint of that” or “will you wash mine next?”
I guess there are some things us car enthusiasts will never shake!