Monday, 3 October 2011

Review: The World According to Clarkson

The World According to Clarkson by Jeremy Clarkson (2004)

Jeremy Clarkson's columns fall into two categories:  The car-centric ones, which are very entertaining, but a hard slog because you need to be up on every obscure marque of the past half century; and his non-automotive ones, which are a much faster read.  This collection of Clarkson's columns from 2001 to 2004 introduces us to his views on town centres (determined to drive out motor cars at the expense of everything else), holidays (mind-numbing periods of boredom destined to cause household destruction), Concorde (the last great thing that Britain produced), and gardening (proof that middle age has arrived).  In between we're treated to Clarkson's war with a fox, the time he unsuccessfully participated in an army assault, and why juries are scarier than criminals.

Clarkson's appeal lies in a light, humourous style matched with an outspoken attitude that regards political correctness as a challenge.  Despite having very definite opinions, he also has a wide streak of self-deprecation that makes for a good leavening.  The fast pace of his style is also helped by the public persona that he's cultivated over the past thirty years that allows him to voice his views as that of a bewildered, ham-fisted petrol head, though if you listen carefully sometimes the mask slips and a much more thoughtful and widely read man is revealed who simply never bought into the media heard instinct.

Be that as it may, stay well clear if he ever decides to take out a fox with a shot gun.

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