The Citroën Dali

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The Citroën Dali

“Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole”
– The Modern Lovers

Last Thursday evening we were driving home from Wales. Clare was sitting beside me and the kids had fallen asleep on the back seat. The two grown-ups were about to have a proper grown-up conversation when a jet black Citroën Xsara Picasso overtook us somewhat aggressively. The grown-up conversation was put on hold. “The Citroën Picasso,” I snarled with mild indignation. “What do you think old Pablo would have made of that?”

“I wouldn’t know,” said Clare. “Why don’t you tell me. I can see you’re itching to.”

So I did:

“I think he would have hated it. I mean, there he is: this major big-ass icon of the 20th Century, a bona fide cultural heavyweight who revolutionised art and transformed the way in which we see the world. People like that don’t want to end up becoming synonymous with a safe and sensible family car. It’s bad for the image. If you ask me, I think he’d be pretty damned furious that his descendants were so willing to whore his name off so indiscriminately.”

“Really?” said Clare, somewhat dryly. “I bet they didn’t get a penny.”

Really?” said I, somewhat dimly. “That makes it worse. At least, I think that makes it worse.”

There was a moment’s silence as I gathered my thoughts and watched the red tail lights of the popular MPV fade into the distance.

“It’s all about design principles,” I continued. “If you’re going to name a car after someone like Picasso then at least try to remain faithful to your source of inspiration. A proper Citroën Picasso wouldn’t look anything like that. For one thing, there’d be none of those functionally streamlined elegant curves. The real deal would be cube-like, wilfully asymmetrical and feature oblique references to the Spanish Civil War. Plus, all the wheels would be different sizes.”

“It’d be a bugger to drive,” said Clare. “You struggle with parallel parking at the best of times.”

I was now in full-on monologue mode, so I managed to deftly side-step my partner’s sarcasm: “Why stop with Picasso?” I said. “I want to see a range of family-friendly, design classic MPVs inspired by the greatest artists of the 20th Century. Just imagine a Citroën Dalí! A vulgar egg-shaped monstrosity with a massive pair of waxed windscreen wipers, a melting speedo and a Sat Nav that refers to itself in the third person.”

“Or a Citroën Pollock,” said Clare.

“What’s that like?” I asked.

“It’s like a Citroën Picasso that’s been in an accident.”


About the Author:

My name is Tom Lennon and I'm a freelance writer who specialises in humour at the geekier end of the pop culture spectrum. I'm based in Birmingham, UK, and my work has recently appeared in BuzzFeed and Time Out.


  1. Princess Boo June 4, 2009 at 7:01 am

    Claire Rocks! xx

  2. Tom June 4, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Indeed she does ;0)

  3. Nicky June 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I'm suprised you could identify a Citroen Picasso, even more suprised that you know what an MPV is… I haven't forgotten you asking me if I thought your 'so bald you could see the follicles' tyres were okay 😉

  4. Tom June 12, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Ah, Nicky – since then I've undergone an extensive car-awareness re-education programme, although I still need to work on my parallel parking.

  5. Nicky June 14, 2009 at 8:01 am

    I appear to be going backwards, I'm mostly driving a Moggy (again). I keep getting smiled at.. I like to think I've brightened people's otherwise grey days but I suspect it's really just pity 😉

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