James May On How He Got Into Reassembling
If there is anyone on the planet who is more perfect than James May for hosting a show where he takes stuff apart and reassembles them, then I would like to meet this person.
The Reassembler might not be for everyone, but it’s hard to deny that James has a certain way about him that would make even reading the ingredients list off a box of cereal more entertaining than it should be.
In a piece for the Radio Times this morning, James talks about how he got into taking things apart and putting them back together, and what it means to him as a person.
“It began for me around the age of five, and my first reassembly experience was the one that many of you will have suffered since, even in adulthood. That is: it didn’t go back together.”
James’ first reassembly project was his parents’ alarm clock, and for those youngsters that might be reading, we don’t mean a digital alarm clock that you might find in a hotel today. You see, back in the olden days, alarm clocks were analog and had ticking hands and a giant bell on top that rang when it was time for you to wake up (I kid, kids).
Armed with a flat blade screwdriver, James set about taking apart the alarm clock, which by his account, went pretty well until mainspring exploded out and was lost under the floor boards.
As adult James would say: “Oh cock.”
A bicycle was James’ actual first reassembly and assembly. It’s interesting because a bike was also my first “project,” (and I suspect the same is true for many other kids). In fact, once I put my own bike back together and didn’t die while riding it, I felt a sense of accomplishment like no other; a feeling that continues to this day when I work on my cars.
For James, that first bicycle has led him down the path of becoming the James May we all know and love, the man with the perfectly organized tool box that can build and fix pretty much anything.