Clarkson on Cars

By Patrick Payne,2014-11-04 20:24
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Jeremy Clarkson is the second-best motoring writer in Britain. For twenty years, he's been driving cars, writing about them and occasionally voicing his opinions about them on the BBC's Top Gear. No one in the business is taller. Here, he's collected his best car columns and stories in which he waxes lyrical on topics as useful and diverse as: bull; the perils of bicycle ownership bull; why Australians - not Brits - need bull bars bull; why soon only geriatrics will be driving BMW's bull; the difficulty of deciding on the best car for your wedding bull; why Jesus's dad would have owned a Nissan Bluebird bull; and why it is bus lanes that cause traffic jams Irreverent, damn funny and offensive to almost everyone, this is writing with its foot to the floor, the brake lines cut and the speed Published by Penguin on 2006/08/30

    Clarkson on Cars

    Clarkson on Cars

    Clarkson on Cars

    Clarkson on Cars

    Part 1

    Dear Diary

    I do not wish to regale you with tales of my movements towards the end of this month, for tworeasons. Firstly, you would be unutterably bored; and secondly, I will miss most of theengagements involved anyway.

    I will miss them because I have not written them down anywhere. People have rung to invite mefor a weekend’s skiing, for a two-day trip to Scandinavia, for dinner, for whatever.

    Not being used to such popularity, I have said yes to everything, without really knowingwhether anything clashes or, to be honest, when anything is.

    It is a minor miracle if I ever manage to get anywhere in the right decade, let alone on theright day.

    The reason for this shortfall is that I have never kept a diary. Oh to be sure, I’ve startedmany a year with every good intention, filling in my blood group in the personal section andentering things that happened a week ago so that if anyone peeps, they’ll be gobsmacked atwhat appears to be a gay social life.

    By February the entries are getting pretty sparse. By March I’ve lost it or Beloved, in aflurry of domesticity, has fed it, along with the odd airline ticket and several cufflinks, tothe washing machine. You may be interested to hear that I have the cleanest cheque book inChristendom.

    Most of my time on New Year’s Eve was spent dreaming up all sorts of resolutions. This year,in among things like a four-weeks-and-already-broken ban on alcohol, and a fairytale promise toget fitter, I vowed to keep a diary.

    The question was, which one? In the run up to Christmas, any number of motor manufacturers sentsuch things. And, as they say in Scunthorpe, very nice too.

    Slimline and quite capable of fitting in a jacket pocket without making me look like an FBIagent, they do however face some stiff competition.

    First, there’s the Peugeot 405 Fil-o-fax-u-like. Now, these things are of enormous benefit tothe likes of Beloved, who has simply millions of absolutely lovely friends and needs to remindherself when my Visa card needs a wash. But to unpopular people like my good self, they’rerather less use than a trawlerman in Warwick.

    With just five friends and, on average, two party invites a year, there’s no realjustification for me to be strolling around the place with something the size of a house brickunder my arm.

    Besides, it has a section for goals, which I presume refers to ambition rather than football. Ihave several ambitions but writing them down won’t get me any nearer to achieving them. I wantto be king, for instance, and being able to see tomorrow’s racing results today would bepretty useful too.

    Then there’s my Psion Organiser. It’s advertised on television as a sort of portable computerthat fits neatly in a briefcase and acts out the role of diary, alarm clock, address book andcalculator all rolled into one.

    As far as I’m concerned, though, it is of no use whatsoever, because I can’t be bothered tolearn how it works. The instruction booklet is bigger and even more boring than the Iliad andanyway I think I’ve broken it by getting into edit mode and telling it to bugger off.

    Casio do the Data Bank which is disguised as a calculator. It can even be used as one butbeware, those who even think about entering an address or an appointment will screw up theinnards good and proper. Well I did anyway.

    These electronic gizmos are all very well but I want to know what is wrong with a good oldpencil and a piece of paper?

    I mean, if someone rings up (chance’d be a fine thing) and asks me to a party next week, Icould have it written down in what; two, three seconds? I would need a team of advisers and afortnight’s free time even to turn the Psion on.

    The advantage is that it does have an ability to remind me audibly when I’m supposed to begoing somewhere. This is where Pepys’s little tool falls fait on its face.

    It’s all very well remembering to write something down but this is about as much good ascleaning your shoes with manure if you don’t look at the diary on the day in question.

    Even so, I’m a man of my word and, consequently, I’m keeping a diary like a good little boy.

    Choosing which book to use was not easy. I have the sex maniac’s diary, which tells me wherein the world I can have safe sex, how to apply a condom and on what day of the week I canindulge in what they call the Strathclyde muff dive.

    I also have the Guild of Motoring Writers’ Who’s Who diary but it is full to bursting withbad photographs of people in brown suits.

    The International Motors’ diary – they’re the people who import Subarus, Isuzus and High andDries – is a convenient size and has all the usual Letts schoolboy stuff in it abouttemperature and time zones and Intercity services.

    But I do not urgently need to know when the main Jewish festivals are. Nor, frankly, am Iterribly bothered about when Ramadan begins.

    Toyota’s diary begins with a lovely shot of their Carina car in front of the Pont du Gard inthe Ardèche, skips blissfully over the Letts schoolboy behaviour and gets straight on to pageafter page of slots for the parties.

    But far and away the most tasteful offering for 1989 comes from those Italian chappies at Fiat.Largely, the editorial section at the front of their book is taken up with a list of decentrestaurants.

    It doesn’t say they’re decent though, which should make for some fireworks when a traineeFiat mechanic from a dealer in Bolton comes to the capital on an Awayday and gets presentedwith a ?60 bill at Poons.

    You can tell Fiat have aimed their diary at men near the top. But this one is no good to meeither, because the allergies section on the personal page is far too small. I am allergic tocats, penicillin, pollen, house dust, nylon, trade union leaders and that man with the Tefalforehead who masquerades as Labour’s health spokesman.

    Ford’s gives no space at all to allergies and is full of all sorts of stuff I never knew Ididn’t need to know – but this is the one I’ve selected. Instead of giving each week a pageof its own, Ford have crammed an entire month on one double-page spread.

    This means I can do my shoelaces up on 4 April and feed the hamster on 16 May, and those whopeek into the book will think I’m as busy as hell.

    Clarkson on Cars

    Golf GTi Loses Its Crown

    At this rate, the weightlifting gold at the 1992 Olympics will be won by a paperboy fromBasildon. And apart from having arms like the hind legs of a rhino, he will believe the worldis full of cars that can go faster than 300 mph.

    Since the advent of what the publishing industry calls new technology, it has become a greatdeal cheaper to produ