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The World According to Clarkson Paperback – May 1, 2005

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About the Author

Jeremy Clarkson made his name presenting a poky motoring program on BBC2 called Top Gear. He left to forge a career in other directions before ending up back on Top Gear again.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Another Day’s Holiday? Please, Give Me a Break
According to a poll, the vast majority of people questionedas they struggled back to work last week thoughtthat England should have followed Scotland’s lead andmade Tuesday a bank holiday.Two things strike me as odd here. First, that anyonecould be bothered to undertake such research and,second, that anyone in their right mind could think thatthe Christmas break was in some way too short.I took ten days off and by 11 o’clock on the first morningI had drunk fourteen cups of coffee, read all thenewspapers and the Guardian and then . . . and then what?By lunchtime I was so bored that I decided to hang afew pictures. So I found a hammer, and later a man cameto replaster the bits of wall I had demolished. Then Itried to fix the electric gates, which work only whenthere’s an omega in the month. So I went down thedrive with a spanner, and later another man came to putthem back together again.I was just about to start on the Aga, which had brokendown on Christmas Eve, as they do, when my wife tookme on one side by my earlobe and explained that buildersdo not, on the whole, spend their spare time writing, sowriters should not build on their days off. It’s expensiveand it can be dangerous, she said. She’s right. We have these lights in the dining roomwhich are supposed to project stars onto the table below.It has never really bothered me that the light seeps outof the sides so the stars are invisible; but when you arebored, this is exactly the sort of thing that gets on yournerves.So I bought some gaffer tape and suddenly my life hada purpose. There was something to do.Mercifully, Christmas intervened before I could doany more damage, but then it went away again and oncemore I found myself staring at the day through the wrongend of a pair of binoculars. Each morning, bed and theblessed relief of unconsciousness seemed so far away.I wore a groove in the kitchen floor with endless tripsto the fridge, hoping against hope that I had somehowmissed a plateful of cold sausages on the previous 4,000excursions. Then, for no obvious reason, I decided tobuy a footstool.I took the entire family to the sort of gifty-wifty shopwhere the smell of pot-pourri is so pungent that it makesyou go cross-eyed. Even though the children were lyingon the floor gagging, I still spent hours deliberatelychoosing a footstool that was too small and the wrongcolour so that I could waste some more time taking itback.The next day, still gently redolent of Delia Smith’sknicker drawer, I decided to buy the wrong sort ofantique filing cabinet. But after the footstool debacle mywife said no. So it seemed appropriate that I shoulddevelop some kind of illness. This is a good idea whenyou are at a loose end because everything, up to andincluding herpes, is better than being bored.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK; New Ed edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141017899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141017891
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Melinda Burnett on May 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A moment ago, I wrote a review of a CD that was so horrible, I ejected it after the fifth track,and left it on a desk in hopes someone would steal it.

Well, now I'm going to review The World According to Clarkson even though I haven't finished it, either. Unfinished, and for a completely different reason.

Why? Because I am so thoroughly enjoying this book I'm trying to draaaaag it out to savour as long as possible, and then praying there's a followup book.

I only ordered this book because, yes, I am a slavvering American fan of Top Gear, Wikipedia'd it for more info, and found out that all three presenters are also journalists. Since Top Gear tickles me so much, I thought what the heck, and ordered a sampling of books from each.

What a wicked good surprise this book is. Not motor related at all, it's like a modern day Erma Bombeck crossed with Politically Incorrect, with a particular penchant for tormenting the environmentally overcorrect. A collection of newspaper columns, Clarkson covers (occasionally rants) on everything from holidays to politics to children to cunning rodents. I can literally hear his voice gravelling out his bombastic but too,too funny pronouncements.

Jeremy Clarkson, if I were a man (and thank God for my husband that I'm not!) I would want to be you. Making lots of burning rubber and squealing sounds in fast cars, living in the delectable English countryside, writing witty stuff, irritating the humor-deficient, and getting away with it. And drawing an absurdly fat (but well deserved) paycheck all the while. (*goggles at the unfairness of it all*)

Or, as my kids would say, "well, s*cks for you, Mom". Yeah, it does.

Think of this book as the verbal equivalent of being behind the wheel of a Veyron on a race from the Riviera to the NatWest Tower. Damn good fun. Don't want it to end.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mark Slattery on November 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
There isn't much you can say about Jeremy Clarkson that he hasn't said himself. I have never been sure about whether I like him or not - he's strong coffee. This book of essays from the Sunday Times is a follow up to a book I've not read, presumably of previous essays.

What you can say of Clarkson is that he is talented and prolific and has a distinct voice. These are superficial essays, aimed at cheering you up, provoking a little reaction - he's a professional contrarian. He's a clever, witty man, and I suspect, one of those must have guests for the fictional dinner party. But I don't like cars. Thankfully, cars are not the focus of these pieces. Every other subject is. There is a daft essay on multi-culturism and a funny one about the Airbus 380. He is pro engineering and anti-environmentalists (not anti-environmental); he hates health and safety nazis. He is often the butt of his own joke, such as the lovely essay about charity auctions in which he accidentally spends £25,000 buying a boat he didn't need and could not afford to run: "Then it got worse, because my wife, whose face had turned the colour of tracing paper, was busy reading some small print in the catalogue about what the price didn't include."

An essay is about all the time it takes to exhaust Clarkson's knowledge on any subject other than himself or a car, but that's fine as he says more or less nothing with great flair. Its elegantly served top of the range beans on toast, with the occasional fit of passion and vented spleen. Easily digested and very deceptively crafted with great journalistic skill.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark in Los Angeles on December 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The problem with Mr. Bombastic himself is that as much as I love his writing style in spurts, in excessive doses, it starts to sound incredibly effected and contrived. Even a tad dull. My interest started to wane the deeper I got into his essays. I say this as an admirer. Perhaps an anthology of columns just doesn't a book make. I've always loved the TV work and small hits of JC, and while I derived a few good chuckles from this collection, I eventually was pleased to be done with it so I could move on to something by someone significantly more clever. I am of course referring to Mr. James May!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lawrence on October 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Jeremy Clarkson has discovered that now he's famous for his association with the TV show Top Gear that there is a market for books with his name on the cover. Now some of his books such as I know You Got Soul were pretty much created from scratch he has also sallied forth with a number of books that are older work. By that I mean the books are compilations of his columns in Britains Sunday Times. Now given that is the case you could be forgiven for having fairly low expectations. But on the contrary because Clarkson is so deliberately over the top, so deliciously 'wrong' in his thinking these collected columns make for a relaxing read. Where they really come into their own is perhaps as holiday reading fodder - for when your on the plane or lazing a day away. Conversely if your normal reading diet is weighty or academic then this may be the perfect thing to 'graze' on in between times, so to speak.

All up if you are familiar with Jeremy Clarksons persona from his TV show then you pretty much know what you are in for. This is exactly the same thing just in writing. And as others have mentioned this is not a car book except where they are mentioned in passing.

An entertaining read and quite possibly a good idea for a gift.
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