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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

The World According to Clarkson V2

The World According to Clarkson Volume 2 is the second of Jeremy Clarkson’s personal thoughts and is available in paperback (ISBN 978-0-141-03198-9, Penguin, 2007) and was on the Bookazine shelves. Having laughed uproariously at the first World According to Clarkson, I looked forward to the sequel.
The four page chapters (and there are about 80 of them) are reprints of his column in the British Sunday Times, dating from January 2004 through to December 2005. This means that there is plenty of material for a third volume.
It begins with his tale of jetting all over the world with a new premium credit card, which incidentally cost him 650 pounds Sterling! However, he finds that not all establishments honor it, and for many others this marks him as someone with just too much money and ready to be fleeced.
Another institution to get the brunt of the Clarkson treatment is the Health and Safety Executive. “Health and Safety is now so out of control I find it nearly impossible to do my job.” He cites a TV program he made called Extreme Machines, which could not be made today, as TV producers now have to hand in hazard assessment forms before they go on a shoot, and if there is a breach, it is the producers, and not the television company, who are liable. “On Top Gear, we refer to the health and safety people as the PPD. The Program Prevention Department” writes Clarkson, after explaining the fun they had abseiling off oil tankers, flying in Spitfires and drag racing in snowmobiles. All great TV, but impossible now.
Clarkson’s exploits do not end on road or in the air, he also attempts sailing, or more correctly, sailing whilst indulging in alcoholic beverages. He complains that yachts travel at 45 degrees, “an angle at which it is impossible to drink, as your glass keeps falling off the table. And anyway, every time you fancy a swig, the captain decides to ‘go about’ or ‘gybe’ and you have to rush around pulling the wrong rope.” He goes further complaining that there are a quarter of a million shipwrecks off the coast of Britain which were all caused by either incompetence, bad weather, the French or the Germans. “Banning alcohol to save lives on the high seas is therefore pointless.”
With an RRP of B. 395, this is the cheapest belly laugh you’ll get all week. I admit to being a fan of Clarkson, who is much more than just a TV presenter of motor car features. He is, however, described as “the tallest person working in British television,” and I would add the funniest person working in British television. If you have read Clarkson before you will immediately go in and get this book. If you haven’t read Clarkson before, it is time you started!
Perhaps my only disappointment with it is the quality of the paper stock. By the time you have got to the end, the words will have fallen off the first few pages. But then perhaps we are supposed to buy another one.