I have to confess I absolutely love Top Gear. I love the TG Triad of Clarkson, May and Hammond, the cars, the jokes and the madcap adventures around the world. How does this sit with my rather Greenish and liberal stance on everything else? Very badly. But I also love being entertained by witty, cheeky – yes, even bombastic – Englishmen(QI is another case in point)and yes, I love Jeremy Clarkson best of all. Even if most of it isn’t irony, sarcasm or just plain self mocking British humour, I love the way he talks, the way he writes and the way he slags off sacred cows. Knowing this, my eldest daughter bought me a gift pack of three of his books, and I have happily devoured them all. Drat the man, I laughed even when I disagreed with him. But actually, quite often I did. The world, according to Clarkson, is a daft place that has abandoned common sense and is slowing strangling in its own politically correct red tape. Honestly, who can argue with that? Well, the people busy wrapping the tape obviously. The rest of us are too busy choking on it.
Clarkson has no such restraints, he talks right through it, about everything, from Audis to Coke Zero, about cars, phone boxes, binge drinking, droughts…he fills that column of his in the British Sunday Times with whatever is on his mind at the moment – and there’s a lot. He’s not always wrong either. “The sea’s a frothing maelstrom of terror and hopelessness” does sound more exciting that the bland weather forecast of “stormy”. This book is dedicated “with gratitude to the Green movement, the Americans and the Health and Safety Executive for giving me so much to write about.”
But is he betraying green sympathies in How to Blow Up a Dead Seal when he writes of his efforts to dispose of the body of a seal dead from natural causes on a beach. In typical Top Gear style he does try to blow it up, but the body is barely touched, although the rest of the beach looks like Beirut. Finally he tries to dig a hole in the sand with a bulldozer but it keeps filling itself in, so he is forced to leave the seal to decompose aromatically while Clarkson wears a gas mask to write his column.
Lovely, side splitting stuff. He’s a one man Monty Python. OK, so he didn’t actually manage to give the dead seal a decent burial. But at least he tried, and that might just make him green enough to pass muster. I hope so, because I really don’t want to have to stop loving him – and Top Gear.