Jeremy Clarkson had a dream. A world where the nonsensical made sense, the idiotic was abolished and the sheer bloody brilliant was embraced. In this book. jeremy clarkson how hard could it be is available in our digital library an online access to it is set as public so you can [PDF] How Hard Can It Be? By Jeremy. The contents of this book first appeared in Jeremy Clarkson's Sunday Times Well, I thought about this long and hard in the shower this morning and I've.
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If you need a jeremy clarkson how hard could it be, you can download them in pdf format from our etgabentisttus.ga file format that can be downloaded and read on . How Hard Can It Be?: The World According to Clarkson Volume 4 How Hard Can It Be is the fourth hilarious volume in Jeremy Clarkson s The World According. According to Clarkson series. How hard can it be: To build a power station pages: The federal tax advantages and exercise if I would definitely suggests.
I'm beginning to feel that if you've read one Jeremy Clarkson book you've read the lot. A pleasant way to spend a quiet afternoon, but not an earth shatteringly good read.
Jul 13, Bryan Waters rated it really liked it. Pretty disrespectful to just about anyone outside of Chipping Norton, this is a fun read if you don't take it to heart. His writing style is light, pacy and accessible and he covers a gamut of topics but with recurrent aspects which enhance, rather than detract from, the impact. In the midst of his random, clearly 'for fun', cut-out-and-keep solutions to many of the world's problems, there are actually a few interesting examples of lateral thinking that bear further mulling!
I enjoyed it and fou Pretty disrespectful to just about anyone outside of Chipping Norton, this is a fun read if you don't take it to heart. I enjoyed it and found it a nice distraction from the grim realities of modern life, pretty much as intended, I suspect. Nov 13, Whisper19 rated it liked it.
Reasons why I love Jeremy Clarkson: Like the tide, man. And, you know, the wind is totally, like, sustainable. Yes, they have nuclear missi Reasons why I love Jeremy Clarkson: Yes, they have nuclear missiles — but could they actually hit Islamabad with them? Week in, week out. After maybe a minute I was frightened that I might die. After five I was frightened that I might not. Jan 22, Leosya added it. PART 1 This book is written by former television presenter Jeremy Clarkson, I chose to read this because I have read several other books by him and their humorous and interesting topics have hooked me to his books.
This book is written by small newspaper articles made by Clarkson put together to form a book. I have read about half of this book and I think that it is a good and funny books written by taking some serious topics and ridiculing them to make them funny, I really like this approach and PART 1 This book is written by former television presenter Jeremy Clarkson, I chose to read this because I have read several other books by him and their humorous and interesting topics have hooked me to his books.
I have read about half of this book and I think that it is a good and funny books written by taking some serious topics and ridiculing them to make them funny, I really like this approach and I think that it should be used more when writing books.
For now, I really like this book and will most certainly keep reading it. I have now finished reading this book which was written by Jeremy Clarkson and I really liked the style of this book a lot This book was really funny and interesting and I had a lot of fun reading this book. I think that the style that this book was written in was really good and entertaining. Aug 02, Nicole rated it it was amazing. I am a huge Jeremy Clarkson fan and these books make me an even bigger fan. This book and the whole entire series is absolutely hilarious.
I found myself laughing aloud on the bus journeys I spent reading, and attracting some weird looks because of it. The World According to Clarkson provides a snippet into the inner workings of his brain, some of which is fantastic, other ideas are ridiculously stupid but the vast majority is brilliantly funny. One of the things i love most about these books is I am a huge Jeremy Clarkson fan and these books make me an even bigger fan.
One of the things i love most about these books is that because they're newspaper articles, they're short snippets you can read in a couple of minutes so it's great for picking up and putting down as you wish.
The World According to Clarkson
Every "chapter" is completely different so it's perfect for picking up when you've only got a five minute of free time. I've already bought the next instalment of the series. Aug 30, Jo Everett rated it really liked it. I know that Clarkson isn't everyone's favourite, particularly at the moment, but I enjoyed his book of sarcastic moans about society. If you take his comments with a pinch of salt, he does point out some good things about modern society, offering farcical solutions to waste disposal and politics arguably the same thing.
This collection of articles from the Sunday Times is easy to read, humorous, and something you can pick up and put down with ease. For those who want some light relief from the I know that Clarkson isn't everyone's favourite, particularly at the moment, but I enjoyed his book of sarcastic moans about society.
For those who want some light relief from the serious issues in the news we have to trawl through on a daily basis this book is for you. Just don't take everything he says seriously and read it with an open mind.
All in all a comical romp through life today. Loved it. This series is great as the articles are not very long, which makes it the perfect book to get a quick bit of reading in before bedtime.
As with all great comedians, Jeremy manages to poke fun at absolutely every people group. Feb 17, Steve rated it really liked it Shelves: I did not find this book as overall funny as say the third one. Sure, there were some articles that made me laugh out loud the entire time, and there were ones that made me groan and think that Jeremy Clarkson goes out of his way to offend every one he can.
All at once. Jul 27, Jono rated it it was ok. Just more of the same really. Which isn't s bad thing but can get a bit repetitive in places and he doesn't seem to have the same energy as usual. Saying that, it's funny enough and quite readable and is presented in a way that makes it an ideal toilet book. Apr 16, Lucia Foster-Found rated it really liked it. Ah Jeremy Pick it up, have a chuckle mostly and put it down until the next time you find it lying around and have another spare few minutes.
It was ok - not really "the world according to". There were some funny patches but these are getting few and far between, and the books are getting a little past it now. This one however had some opinions in it that made me think about his personality and that maybe now i'm not that keen on him.
Jul 20, Anneleen rated it really liked it Shelves: Grappige columns! En, wat ik helemaal niet gedacht had, soms ga ik nog akkoord met zijn mening!
The fourth collection of Jeremy's columns, covering Funny, on target a good deal of the time, although I don't always agree with him on everything. Dec 01, Hdrabczy rated it it was ok. Aug 16, Ivor rated it liked it. Repetitive and not as good as one of his earlier ones I read Then again I wasn't stuck in some European country with little English material to read when I read this one. Apr 22, David Wen rated it liked it.
Things start at five past and finish at twelve minutes to, so by the time you flick over to the Beeb's new drama series you've missed die explosion and the subsequent car chase and have no idea what's going on.
I understand why it has to happen, of course. When 1 worked on Top Gear it didn't matter whether we were featuring a new Ferrari that ran on "water or standing around in a field pretending to be sheep, we always got the same viewing figures. However, if the programme began late, after all the other channels had started their 8. Interestingly, however, this type of 'schedule shuffling' does not seem to be happening in the world of radio.
My wife, for instance, listens only to Radio 4. It could run a two-hour shipping forecast and still she would not retune to another station. I know for a fact that, like the rest of the country, she has no clue what Melvyn Bragg is talking about on In Our Time, but every Thursday morning the whole house echoes to the unfathomable pontifications of his stupefyingly dull guests.
At I am no better. Left to my own devices I start the day with Terry Wogan, who last week got it into his head that all Chinese people smell of Brussels sprouts. Then it's Ken's pop quiz followed by Jimmy Old. Now at this point I should turn over, because Old bombards his listeners with the big-band sound and talks to his guests about the price offish. Then people call up and read out the editorial from the Daily Telegraph and it's just not me.
But no. I sit there saying that it's only for two hours and then it'll be time for Steve Wright. Why do I do this? On television I only need to catch the tiniest glimpse of a spangly jacket, the suggestion of a Birmingham accent or the first bar of the EastEnders theme tune, and in one fluid movement I reach for the remote and switch over.
There is a choice. Obviously Radio i is out, unless you enjoy being serenaded by people banging bits of furniture together, and Radio 3 transmits nothing but the sound of small animals being tortured. What about local radio? Of course, the Carpenters are fine — especially when you have a headache — but between the tunes men come on and speak. I should have thought that being a disc jockey wasn't so bad. I mean, it could be worse.
But obviously I'm wrong, because nowhere in the whole of humanity will you find a bunch of people quite so unhappy as the CD spinners on 'Misery' FM.
How Hard Can It Be?
In their world, we all work for Cruella De Vil. And it's always raining. Even if it's a bright sunny day and we've just heard on the news that John Prescott has burst, they would still find something to moan about and then it's on to Yesterday Once More for the fourteenth time since 6 a.
There is no point in going elsewhere because quite the reverse applies. Misery FM is largely run by people on their way down the career ladder, but elsewhere in local radio most of the DJs believe themselves to be on the way up — so they sound as if they're talking to you while someone is pushing Harpic up their nostrils with an electric toothbrush. On the radio, for some extraordinary reason, they won't.
The border between Switzerland and Austria may be marked with nothing more than a small speed hump, and the customs hut may appear to be deserted, but whatever you do, stop. If you don't, your rear-view mirror will fill with armed men in uniform and the stillness of the night will be shattered with searchlights and klaxons. I'm able to pass on this handy hint because last week, while driving in convoy with my camera crew from St Moritz to Innsbruck, a man suddenly leapt out of his darkened hut and shouted: 'Achtung.
I therefore pulled over and stopped, unlike the crew, who didn't. The man, white with rage and venom and fury, demanded my passport and refused to give it back until I had furnished him with details of the people in the other car which had dared to sail past his guard tower. I'd often wondered how I'd get on in this sort of situation. Would I allow myself to be tortured to save my colleagues?
How strong is my will, my playground-learnt bond? How long would I hold out? About three seconds, I'm ashamed to say. Even though I have two spare passports, I blabbed like a baby, handing over the crew's names, addresses and mobile phone number.
So they came back, and the driver was manhandled from the car and frogmarched up to the stop sign he'd ignored. His passport was confiscated and then it was noticed that all his camera equipment had. We were in trouble. So we raised our hands, and do you know what?
The guard didn't even bat an eyelid. The sight of four English people standing at a border post in the middle of Europe, in the year , with their arms in the air didn't strike him as even remotely odd.
We have become used to a gradual erosion of interference with international travel. You only know when you've gone from France into Belgium, for instance, because the road suddenly goes all bumpy. French customs are normally on strike and their opposite numbers in Belgium are usually hidden behind a mountain of chips with a mayonnaise topping.
But in Austria things are very different. Here you will not find a fatty working out his pension. Our man on the road from St Moritz to Innsbruck was a lean, frontline storm trooper in full camouflage fatigues and he seemed to draw no distinction between the Englander and the Turk or Slav. Nobody, it seems, is welcome in the Austro-Hungarian empire. The camera crew, who were very disappointed at the way I'd grassed them up and kept referring to me as 'Von Strimmer' or simply 'The Invertebrate', were ordered back to Switzerland.
And me? For selling them out, I was allowed to proceed to Innsbruck. Which does invite a question. How did the guard know where I was going? We had never mentioned our destination and yet he knew.
It gets stranger, because minutes later I was pulled over for speeding and even though I had a Zurich-registered car, the policeman addressed me straight away in English. This puzzled me as I drove on and into the longest tunnel in the world. That was puzzling, too, as it wasn't marked on the map. What's happening on the surface that they don't want us to see?
Finally I arrived at the hotel into which I'd been booked, but a mysterious woman in a full-length evening gown explained menacingly that she had let my room to someone else. And that all the other hotels in Innsbruck were fully booked.
Paranoia set in and took on a chilling air when I learnt that one of the army bobsleigh people I was due to meet the following day had been kicked to death outside a nightclub.
I ended up miles away at a hotel run by a man we -hall call 'The Downloader'. Something is going on in Austria. They've told the world that the Freedom Party leader has stepped down, but how do we know he's gone and won't be back?
Let's not forget these people are past masters at subterfuge. I mean, they managed to convince the entire planet that Adolf Hitler was a German. Most people here do think Haider will be back. As chancellor. And that's a worry. I'm writing this now in my room, hoping to send it via email to the Sunday Times but each time I try to log on, messages come back to say it's impossible. Maybe that's because The Downloader is up in his attic, looking at unsavoury images of bondage and knives, or maybe it's because I'm being watched.
Journalists are. Either way, I'm nervous about smuggling text like this past customs tomorrow when I'm due to fly home. I shall try to rig up some kind of device using my mobile phone, hoping these words reach you. If they do, yet I mysteriously disappear, for God's sake send help. I'm at the.
Sunday n February Gee Whiz Guys, But the White House is Small If you are the sort of person who gets off on Greek marbles and broken medieval cereal bowls, then there's not much point in visiting an American museum. Think: while Europe was hosting the crusades, the Americans were hunting bison. However, I have always wanted to see the Bell X-i, the first plane to travel faster than the speed of sound, so last weekend I set out for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
The trip was not a complete success because the X-i was swathed in bubble wrap and housed in a part of the museum that was closed for renovation.
But never mind, I found something else. There are those who think America is as richly diverse as Europe — they're hopelessly wrong, and Washington, DC is the worst of it. I'd never realised that it isn't actually in a state. The founding fathers felt that, if it were, the others would feel left out - and that's very noble. Except it means that residents of the capital city of the free world have no vote. Another feature it shares with Havana and Beijing is the immense sense of civic pomposity.
The downtown area is full of vast, faceless buildings set in enormous open spaces and guarded by impossibly blond secret-service agents in massive Chevy Suburbans. The pavements are marble and the policemen gleam. Just three blocks south of Capitol Hill you find yourself in an area where 70 per cent of the population are gunmen and the other 30 per cent have been shot. Then to the west you have the dotcom zone, which is full of idiotic companies with stupid names and unintelligible mission statements.
You look at those huge mirrored office blocks and you think: 'What are you all doing in there? Here, the only cannon is Pachelbel's. It was nice to find it playing in the lobby of my hotel. It made me feel safe and cosseted, but it was on in the lift and in the bookstore next door, and in the art gallery. It was even playing in the 'authentic' Vietnamese restaurant where customers can gorge themselves on caramelised pork in a white wine jus. Now look, I've been to Saigon and in one notable restaurant I was offered 'carp soaked in fat' and 'chicken torn into pieces'.
A difficult choice, so I went for the 'rather burnt rice land slug'. I have no idea what it was, but it sure as hell wasn't caramelised or served in a wine sauce. Still, what do the Americans know about Vietnam? Well, more than they know about France, that's for sure. The next morning I ordered an 'authentic French-style country breakfast' which consisted of eggs sunny-side up, sausage links, bacon, hash browns and - here it comes - a croissant. Oh, that's all right then. What's not all right are the people who were eating there.
Every single one of them was a politician, or a politician's lapdog, or a political commentator or a political lobbyist. Because all these people with a common interest live together in a little cocoon, they labour under the misapprehension that their work is in some way important.
They begin to believe that there are only two types of people: not black or white, not rich or poor, not American or better; just Democrat or Republican. So what, you may be wondering, is wrong with that? Surely it's a good idea to put all the politicians together in one place, it saves the rest of us from having to look at them.
I'm not so sure. When Peter Mandelson couldn't remember whether he'd made a phone call or not he had to resign and it was treated as the most important event in world history. On the television news a man with widescreen ears explained that Tony Blair might actually delay the election, as though everyone, in every pub in the land, was talking of nothing else. That was London.
But in a town built by politicians :or politicians, it's much, much worse. You can't even build a skyscraper in Washington, DC, because all buildings must be smaller than the Washington Memorial.
The message is simple. Nothing here is bigger than politics. To explain that there's a world outside their window, and it's a world of dread and fear, I felt compelled to download some spray paint and a ladder and write something appropriate in big red letters on the White House. But when I got there I simply couldn't believe my eyes. Put simply, I live in a bigger gaff than the president of America, and that's not bragging because, chances are, you do too.
It really is pathetically small. All around there were television reporters revealing to their viewers some snippet of useless information that they had picked up the night before over a bowl of authentic Ethiopian pasta. And I wanted to say: 'Look, stick to what's important.
Tell everyone that President Bush lives in a hut and, most of all, warn people that the X-i display at the Smithsonian is closed. You can either die of deep vein thrombosis or you can die of cancer which is caused by radiation in the upper atmosphere reacting with the aluminium skin of the aeroplane. Both options are better than surviving. I boarded the plane at Heathrow and was horrified to note that I was to share my section of the cabin with a couple of dozen pensioners on a Saga holiday.
Half were at the stage where they'd need to go to the lavatory every fifteen minutes, and half were at the stage where they didn't bother with the lavatory at all. But the seat next to me was free. So who am I going to get? Please God, not the girl with the baby I'd seen in the departure lounge. There is nothing worse than sitting next to a girl with a baby on a long-haul flight.
I got the girl with the baby. And then I was upgraded to first class. I didn't stop to ask why. I just took the moment by the bottom of its trouser leg, moved to the front and settled down with my book. Sadly, it turned out to be the worst book ever written. Just after the lone American marine had wiped out an entire French division single-handed, I decided to watch a movie instead.
But since I'd seen them all, in their original formats, with swearing, I was stuck. You can't even talk to the stewardesses because they think you're trying to chat them up and you can't talk to the stewards either, for much the same reason.
So I thought I'd get a drink, but of what? My body clock said it was time for tea but I'd already moved my watch and that said I should have a glass of wine. But I couldn't have a wine because then I'd want a cigarette and you can't do that on a plane because, unlike a screaming baby, it's considered antisocial. I know. I'll look out of the window.
I'll look at this overcrowded world in which we're living. Well sorry, but for six hours there are no towns, no people and despite various claims to the contrary no evidence of global warming.
Just thousands upon thousands of miles of ice. So I went back to my book and was halfway through the bit where the lone American was busy killing everyone in the SAS, when we dropped out of the clouds and into Los Angeles. Time for a smoke. But this being California, that meant I had to go outside, which meant I'd have to clear customs, which meant I had to get in line with the Saga louts who'd all filled their forms in wrong. I queued for an hour while the American passport-control people, in a bad mood because work stops them earing, barked at the old biddies and then realised that rime was up.
Unlike everywhere else in the world, airlines in the States are allowed to take off with your bags on board. And so with a heavy heart and even heavier lungs I trudged back to the for the next, really long leg and. But then so had die girl with the baby. In her place there was a Californian beach babe who was going to Auckland with her equally volleyballish friend.
To begin with, I didn't think too much of the fact they were holding hands but as the flight wore on and rhey started holding rather more intimate parts of one another's bodies, the penny dropped. I know I shouldn't have been surprised.
I've been told countless times that people are born gay and that it's not something that happens because you're too much of a boiler to pull a bloke.
So there must be good-looking lesbians, too. It's just that, outside films, you never see one. I tried to read my book, in which the hero was now caking on and beating the entire US Marine Corps using nothing but a rope ladder, but it was impossible to concentrate. And you try sleeping when you're seventeen inches from two pneumatic blondes playing tonsil hockey. Somewhere around the Fiji islands they went to sleep, and so did I, waking up an hour later when I moved my arm and the nicotine patch tore a couple of armpit hairs clean out of their sockets.
After twelve hours we landed and I had forty minutes to make my connection for Wellington which, even though the domestic terminal is a brisk fortnight's walk away, was just about doable, providing all went well in customs. It didn't. A man took my papers into a back room and emerged ten minutes later wearing rubber gloves.
I damn nearly fainted. Believe me, you do not want an intimate body search after a hour journey. You don't want an intimate body search after a minute journey, come to think of it, but thankfully he limited his probing to my suitcase and I made the last flight with one minute to spare.
On it, I had another breakfast, finished my godawful book and tomorrow, after just 36 hours in Wellington, I'm coming home again. This is jet-set living? You can keep it. Sunday 25 February They're Trying to Lower the Pulse of Real Life Did anyone else notice that, in the aftermath of last week's train crash, the newspapers were gripped with a sense of impotent rage? Try as they might, and some of them tried very hard indeed, they couldn't find anyone to blame.
The tracks hadn't disintegrated. The train driver wasn't four. There were crash barriers on the motorway bridge and the man in the Land Rover hadn't fallen isleep. It had been an accident. But, of course, there's no such thing as an accident these days. If you trip over a paving stone or eat a dodgy piece of meat, there will be an inquiry, someone will be culpable, and steps will be taken to ensure it doesn't happen again.
We had a very wet autumn, as I'm sure you will recall, and as a result many rivers burst their banks. But this was not an act of God or a freak of nature. This was someone's fault. Nobody is allowed to just die, either. George Carman QC, for instance, pegged out at the age of 71, which is not a bad innings. But oh no. His death has been chalked op to cancer, as though it might have been avoided if he'd not eaten cheese and broccoli.
Well now look. The human being, and the human male in particular, is programmed to take risks. Had our ancestors spent their days sitting around in caves, not daring to go outside, we'd still be there now.
Sure, we're more civilised these days, what with our microwave ovens and our jet liners, but we're still cavemen at heart. We still crave the rush of adrenaline, the endorphin highs and the buzz of a dopamine hit. And the only way we can unlock this medicine chest is by taking a risk. Telling us that speed kills and asking us to slow down is a bit like asking us to ignore gravity. We don't drive fast because we're in a hurry; we drive fast because it pushes the arousal buttons, makes us feel alive, makes us feel human.
Dr Peter Marsh, from the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, says the recent rise in popularity of bungee jumping, parachuting and other extreme sports is simply man's reaction to the safer, cotton-woolly society that's being created. He told me this week that, when the youth of Blackbird Leys in Oxford was stealing cars and doing handbrake turns back in the s, a number of liberal commentators called to ask him why.
They are having a laugh, and making the police look like fools on television, and you have to ask why! In the past two months alone we've been told that water makes us mental, that coffee increases the risk of miscarriage, that lawn mowers cause deafness and that middle-aged men who dance will get 'glamrock shoulder'. A professor at Aberdeen University described washing-up bowls as 'an absolute menace'.
We were told that snooker chalk causes lead poisoning and that the new euro coins contain nickel, which will blister skin. There were warnings too that apples cause E-coli and that mercury thermometers kill babies.
So where is all this rubbish coming from? Well, to be honest, it's being imported from America, where scientists are now worried that a consignment of PlayStations that has been sent to Iraq could be linked to form a crude supercomputer. This, they say, could then be used to pilot a chemical warhead all the way to Buffalo Springs. Americans, remember, have got it into their heads that you can now wage a war without losing a single soldier or airman, and we see the same sort of thing with their weather too.
Instead of shrugging when a hurricane marches across Florida, or a tornado tears up Oklahoma, they insist that the government does something about it. They want more warning, better protection. Then of course there is the business of smoking. Did you know that there are now porno websites in America where you can call up pictures of girls with farmyard animals, and then, at the highest level, for members only, pictures of fully clothed girls enjoying a cigarette?
And despite a few plaintive cries for help from the back of the Washington Post, the public over there seems to have bought into this belief that life can, and should, be run without risk, that all accidents are avoidable, and that death is something that only happens to people who eat meat and smoke. This is odd. From the outside, Americans appear to be human — a little larger than normal, perhaps - but equipped nevertheless with arms and heads.
So how come they are able to overcome the base instincts that drive the rest of mankind? I can think of only one answer. If they do not need risk and stimulation, they must be genetically malformed. There's a simpler word for this. They must be mad. Sunday 4 March Forget the Euro, Just Give Us a Single Socket If you were charged with the task of standardising an entire continent, from the Baltic to the Bosporus, I'm pretty sure you would come up with a list of things that are slightly more pressing and important than a single currency.
Plug sockets, for a kick-off. How can it be that our MEPs have managed to homogenise a banana, yet they -nil allow each member state to offer a new and exciting way of getting electricity out of the wall? This wasn't so bad when we travelled with only a comb, but now that we need to charge up the batteries m our computers, mobile telephones and electronic organisers it means we must pack a vast array of adaptors; You wear them back to front on day two, inside out on day three and then inside out and back to front on day four.
I know a cameraman who claims to have developed a combination that allows a five-day switchover routine, but frankly I don't believe him. Then we have telephone connections, which in the past were of no great importance. But now we all have internets, how come there is no edict from Brussels on what is, and what is not, a standard socket? They launch the euro, which means I won't need a wallet that bulges with different currencies. Big deal. Yet they're happy to have me stomping around the Continent with enough cable in my suitcases to build a suspension bridge.
It's also very difficult with road signs. Only the other day, while searching Zurich for the A3 motorway to St Moritz, a blue sign said turn left and a green sign said turn right.
Blue is motorway, yes? Not in Switzerland it isn't. The blue sign takes you on the sort of road that made the cabling in my suitcase look straight. And lifts: why can't there be a standard letter that denotes the reception level? It has been agreed that all across Europe prisoners have an inalienable right not to fall over and yet it is deemed acceptable for people like me to spend hours stabbing away at meaningless buttons and emerging half a day later in the hotel boiler room.
Now I don't want you to think that I long for the days when newspapers ran headlines saying 'Fog in the Channel. Europe cut off'. I don't subscribe to the British-is-best mentality, because we have John Prescott and fuss and mutt.
We have much to learn from the Continent. Austrian lavatories, for instance, are plainly a good idea. There's a short flush for your number ones and a rull-on Niagara for even the most stubborn number two. Then you have three-hour lunches in Spain and smoking bars on long-haul French airliners. So, surely, if we must have European integration, it should be a case of taking the best bits that each country has to offer and blending them into the other member states. Take customs officers. In Germany you get poked in the chest by a hippie with a gun, and woe betide anyone who tries to get a carnet signed in France.
I tried this last week and the man at the desk couldn't be bothered. He so couldn't be bothered that, when pressed, he hurled the form across his office, shouted 'merde' at nobody in particular and stomped off.
I want to see an implementation of the system they have in Italy, i. It might be useful, too, if we could find a universal butt for European wit. What we need is a universal whipping boy so that jokes translate smoothly. No, not the Welsh. At dinner last week in Austria, there were sixteen people round the table and, really, it was like a bunch of flowers.
There were Scandinavians, Germans, Brits, Italians, the lot, and it was great. We explained the jokes for the Germans, the French chose the wine, the Italians ordered the food, the Austrians talked to the waitress and the Dutchman spent his evening stopping the Swede from trying to commit suicide. We laughed at one another, joked with one another, learnt from one another and it was just the most perfect evening; a shining example of European cooperation and harmony.
It was spolit by only one thing. There, in the middle of our arrangement of roses, bougainvillea, edelweiss and tulips, complaining that we smoked and doing mock coughs to hammer the point home was a giant redwood: an American. He did not understand Wiener schnitzel and couldn't grasp the notion that we would want another round of drinks. Sure, he was the perfect butt for all of us, but we must remember that he comes from a federal superstate where the plug sockets are all the same.
It's a worry. So what do you do? On the one hand, society cannot function without honesty, so therefore you know it's right to offer your services to the prosecution.
But then again, friendship is supposed to be an unshakeable bond which cannot exist. So it is also right that you should keep shtum. Well, I thought about this long and hard in the shower this morning and I've decided I'd squeal like a baby.
Because you know something? Friendship is not an unshakeable bond at all. It's like a gigantic sand dune, seemingly huge and permanent, but one day you get up md it's gone. Back in the early eighties I spent pretty well every Saturday night with the same group of friends in a King's Road basement bar called Kennedy's.
We laughed all the time, we went on stage with the band, we sang, we drank ourselves daft and we knew, with the sure-fire certainty that night will follow day, that we'd be mates for ever. Had one of them been accused of gouging the barman's eyes out with a lawnmower, I'd have told the police I was dead at the time and that I knew nothing. I would even have taken the heat on his behalf, had push come to shove.
Which would have made me feel awfully foolish today because I have no idea where two of those friends are, and, for the life of me, I cannot even remember what the third one was called.
How did this happen? Presumably, when I said goodbye for the last time ever, I really did believe I'd be seeing them all again the following weekend. It wasn't like we'd had a row, or that they'd all grown beards or moved to Kathmandu. But you would never use a Caterham as a means of transport, because this is driving for the buzz of it, and as a result youre not a passenger.
You are there to do a job, which means you are no more and no less important than one of the pistons or the windscreen wipers. This is the real deal. Everything that happens happens because it happens. Not because some German in a white coat thinks it should happen.
The marketing department has not created the noises, the jolts and the acceleration. Theyre there because this is a light, powerful sports car and these are the characteristics you must expect of such a thing. I didnt like it. Partly because I still dont fit properly the steering wheel sits on my thighs, which means I simply could not apply any opposite lock in an emergency.
Also, while Caterham will build a car for you, its designed to be a kit that you build yourself. Thats why it bypasses regulations on noise, safety and emissions. Great, but Id never fully trust anything Id built myself: Id always assume that a wheel was about to fall off. Most of all, though, I didnt like the Caterham because it was like camping. The roof looks so terrible that you cant possibly drive around with it up. But then again, its so fiddly that you cant possibly drive with it down either.
Plainly, it was designed by a man who likes to sleep out at night, possibly with some Boy Scouts, far from anywhere, with just a thin layer of canvas between him, the boys and the rain. And then theres the business of what you should wear when driving the Caterham.
This is the only car that demands a trip down to Millets before embarking on even the shortest journey. You need a woolly bobble hat, an anorak and some Rohan trousers. Theres an almost wilful lack of style to this kind of motoring, you see. Gill described his run from the station in my wifes Caterham last year as the worst five minutes of my life.
The problem here is that we are in the very furthest corner of motoring enthusiasm. And, as is the way with all hobbies, things go off the rails when people start to take them too seriously. Everyone likes to dangle a worm in the water from time to time. But the Caterham is the equivalent of getting up at three in the morning and sitting in the rain, on a canal bank, until it goes dark again.
Everyone looks up when Concorde flies over, but the Caterham is the equivalent of flying to Greece to snap some Olympic s. Would you risk getting locked up for your love of this car?
Man at Millets would. Im interested in motor racing but I dont want to be a marshal. I find stamps pretty but I dont want an album. I like music but Im not going to build my own instruments. And I like driving but Im far too old, rich, soft and poncey and still slightly too big for what, without any doubt, is the ultimate driving machine.
Sunday 27 July Lamborghini Gallardo Suppose you had a priceless Ming vase, you wouldnt use it as a dice shaker or a vessel for serving punch at Boxing Day parties. In a similar vein you wouldnt use a racehorse to hack out, and you wouldnt use a pearl-handled butter knife to pick a lock. So its faintly ridiculous to suppose a supercar can co-exist in the real world alongside young men from Kazakhstan in Nissan Laurels and even younger men from Albania on pizza-delivery mopeds.
So what is it for then, exactly? Getting down and growly on the worlds racetracks? Well, yes, obviously, but even here things can go awry. Just recently I attempted to see how fast the new Koenigsegg supercar could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph.
But as I let the clutch in, one of the many belts that drives something important in the engine bay shredded and I was left in a world of noise and smoke, going nowhere. Last week I attempted a similar test with a , Pagani Zonda, and again it all ended in tears. As I floored the throttle and the 7. There was a lot of smoke. Hence the tears. Lamborghinis are especially good at this. Once, to amuse the crowds at Goodwood, I decided to do a massive wheel-spinning start off the line.
But this was a Diablo, with four-wheel drive and tyres bigger than the rings of Saturn, so the only thing that could possibly spin was the clutch.
It did. And I had to drive up the hill with the V12 tearing its heart out, but only doing four or five miles per hour. It has always been thus. I once drove the worlds first supercar, a Lamborghini Miura, but I cannot tell you how fast it went since it oiled its plugs at every set of lights, and stalled.
And there wasnt enough juice in the battery to get it going again. A friend recently described his old Bentley as being like a middleaged man, oohing and aahing its way through life because bits of it which worked perfectly well yesterday had suddenly decided to give up the ghost today.
Supercars, on the other hand, are like athletes, forever suffering from hamstring injuries and groin strains. My wife goes to the gym every morning and as a result is permanently broken in some way. The bathroom cabinet looks like Harry Potters potion store. Whereas I, whose only exercise is blinking, am never ill at all. So, if you cant go quickly in a supercar, and you cant use it for everyday chores like shopping and taking the children to school, what can you do with it?
Go out for dinner? Oh puh-lease. Where are you going to leave it? In the street? In a multi-storey car park? And what shape do you suppose it will be in after youve finished your Irish coffee and mints?
I once parked my old Ferrari outside a restaurant, with the roof off. It didnt seem like a problem, since I was in the Cotswold village of Deddington where the crime statistics talk of some scrumping in and thats it. But when I came back, the interior had been used for what I can only assume was the world championship gozzing competition. I have never seen so much phlegm. Sure, you can take such a car to a friends house for a party. But then, how are you going to get home?
Driving a bright yellow Lamborghini at two in the morning is as obvious as weaving down the street with a traffic cone on your head. Of course, one day youll be in your supercar on a wonderful, sweeping mountain road, and suddenly all will become clear. But not for long, because pretty soon youll round a corner to find a party of ramblers or cyclists, or maybe both. Do you think theyre going to a point appreciatively at your car or b shout obscenities?
And later, when you have broken down, or smashed the low-riding front end clean off on a dip in the road, do you think theyll a stop to help or b laugh at you until they need hospital treatment? download a supercar, and your neighbours wont like the noise.
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Your wife wont be able to climb aboard in a short skirt, your friends will be jealous, and other road users will make signals. Its hard to think of any group or body that likes a man in a supercar; small boys, perhaps.
But is that what you want? Probably not, I suspect. None of this, of course, stops us wanting supercars, so I was therefore intrigued by the new Lamborghini Gallardo. Unlike all the previous Lambos, there is no rear wing big enough to land helicopters on, and no air vents that slide out of the side when the going gets hot. Yes, it looks sporty, but its not like rocking up for work in a gold lam jacket and tartan trousers.
In a dark colour you might even call it discreet. Inside, theres been another break from Lamborghini tradition. I fit. And the air-conditioning works, and you can see out of the back window, and theres a stereo that you can hear.
Oh, the engine makes a noise all right, but it doesnt prompt the sort of purple prose I normally use for cars of this type.
Theres no spine-tingling howl. It doesnt sound like Brian Blessed on the verge of an orgasm or Tom Jones making man-love for the first time.
Theres a very good reason for all this. Italian politicians may think their German counterparts are humourless, strutting Nazis, and the Germans may have responded by taking their towels off the beaches of Tuscany this year. But all is well between the two nations in the world of car-making, because Lamborghini has been bought by Audi itself part of the Volkswagen group , who have brought a dollop of common sense to the most lovably idiotic carmaker on earth.
As a result, the engine is an Audi V8 unit with two extra cylinders welded on to the end to create a 5-litre V It drives all four wheels via a six-speed gearbox, but you dont need to be a man-mountain to control everything. The clutch is light. The steering wheel moves easily. And you can change gear with one hand! Normally I have to get my super-fit wife to drive the Lamborghinis that we have on test. But even I, with arms like pipe cleaners, could manage the Gallardo. I liked it, too, hugely.
I liked it even more than the Ferrari because its better balanced and easier to control at the limit. It changes direction like a fly, grips like a barnacle and goes like a jet fighter on combat power. At one point I saw mph on the clock, and there was plenty more where that came from. It is a technological tour de force, a genuinely very good car, even if it is a trifle pricey at , But it left me feeling under-whelmed: there was no sense of occasion, like I felt when I first stepped into a Ferrari , or a Diablo, or a Zonda even.
This is important, because supercars appeal to the small boy in us all. We may hate the bastards who have them and we may know they make no sense at all, but that doesnt stop us wanting one.
And theres the thing: I dont particularly want a Gallardo. As I stepped out of it after a two-day stint, there was no pulsating desire to get back in again, and keep going. Although this may have had something to do with the fact that, after three hard minutes on the test track, the clutch was a thin veneer of dust on the main straight.
There we are, then. The message remains the same. If you want to go really, really fast, download a plane ticket. Sunday 21 September Mazda RX-8 When women crest the brow of middle age and start on the highspeed, unstoppable plunge to an osteoporotic, alopecia-ravaged death, there are many ways to pretend that it isnt happening.
Breasts, ravaged by gravity and babies, can be re-upholstered.
Tummies distorted by pregnancy can be vacuumed away. And shops such as SpaceNK and Boots sell exotic creams that soothe wrinkles and cellulite. I have watched Joan Collins walk into a restaurant and noted how all the women stare in open-mouthed wonderment.
Here she is, aged 70, and she doesnt look a day over You certainly wouldnt give up your seat on a bus, were she to step on board with some heavy bags. Now, compare and contrast the fortunes of Ms Collins with the plight of Barry Manilow. We hear hes had plastic surgery and what do we think? Mickey Rourke is said to have had Botox put in his face. Jay Kay wins a prize for most stylish man.
Paul Smith. Men who wear product in their hair, whatever the hell that is. Men who put on suncream in England. Men who have combs or hairdryers. Men who wash their cars.
Men in sandals. Men who go to the dentist when they dont have toothache. Men who take vitamin tablets. Raving poofs. And backs to the wall, everyone: theres a jogger in the room. Any attempt, whatsoever, to delay the visible signs of old age is met with a torrent of barracking and cruel jibes. And rightly so.
I wear clothes so that people cannot see my genitals. I have a stomach like a Space Hopper because I like eating food. My teeth are yellow because I drink cups of coffee a day. My hair is cut with scissors. My bathroom scales are broken. I havent combed my hair since I was 12, and I last washed a car in Id like, therefore, to say that Im all man, but in my heart of hearts I know this to be untrue.
Because a huge hole has appeared in the back of my hair and its driving me insane with worry. Baldness is bad enough when it appears from the front, but when it starts at the back, creating a big pink crater, it looks stupid. And what makes it worse is that the mirror lies. It tells you that you still have a full rug. It tells you that all is well. Your hole is as invisible as the hole in the ozone layer, but you know its there all right, like a huge crop-circle, amusing people who sit behind you in cinemas.
Last weekend, a girl at a party tried to reassure me, saying that bald men smell nicer than those with a full crop. To demonstrate the point, she sniffed the shiny pate of Shaun Woodward, who happened to be near by, and declared the aroma to be lovely.
Whereas whats left of my curly top, she said, was horrid. So much for the morning-pine goodness of my jojoba-tree shampoo. I wasnt fooled, though.
I know that baldness has to be masked. But how? I could go down the Dylan Jones route and give myself a number one. But then Dylan is editor of GQ magazine, and as such must be a poof. Nothing works. Have a hair transplant, and you end up with something that looks like a Scottish forest on your head.
Go for a scrape-over and youre marooned in your house every time theres a light breeze. And as for the wig? Forget it. Elton John has all the money in the world, and he still looks like he has a Huguenot carpet tile on his bonce. If men were women, someone from Alberto Balsam would have thought of a cure for this terrible affiction. But were not. So they havent. I have, though. Simply hide your barnet under a car.
Plainly, if youre the sort of person who worries about hair loss, there is a trace of vanity, a hint of poofery in your make-up, so it needs to be something with a bit of panache and pizzazz. Though, obviously, it cant be a convertible. A coup, a car that puts style way above substance, is perfect.
Not that long ago there were many from which to choose. But one by one they all died away. Killed off, as people began to realise they were paying more for what was basically a saloon car in a funny hat. Now, though, theyre coming back. Its just so wearing. Best of all, though, is the new Mazda RX-8, partly because of its rear doors, which open backwards to create a hole in the side of the car as big as the hole in the back of my head, and partly because it is so much fun talking about its Wankel rotary engine.
Youve no need to explain how this works, because after youve said the name people are usually too busy laughing to be listening. In essence, though, you get a sort of triangular-shaped piston which spins round in a vaguely circular cylinder. The upside is uncanny smoothness a buzzer sounds when youre up past 9, uncanny smoothness a buzzer sounds when youre up past 9, rpm to warn you that a gear-change might be in order but the downsides have always been thirst and unreliability. The problem is that the tips of the triangular piston spinning round in the cylinder 9, times a minute have to be as tough as diamonds, but obviously not as expensive.
I have no idea what Mazda has used the residue of a Weetabix thats been left in a cereal bowl for a week, probably. Thats the toughest substance Ive ever encountered. Whatever, Mazda says it has addressed all the problems in its new car, and thats good, because the upsides are better than ever.
It may be only a 1. And it just gets better and better as the revs begin the climb. Get past 7, rpm and its like youve pressed a hyperspace button. It handles, too. Unlike most coups this one sends its power to the proper end of the car the back.
So the front does the steering, the rear does the driving, and you sit in the middle wondering why all cars dont feel this way; so balanced, so right and omigod Ive just gone past 7, rpm again and its all gone blurry. As a practical proposition: well, its not a people carrier, but you do get a decent boot and two smallish seats in the back.
And with those doors, even the fattest children in the world can get in. The best thing about this car, though, is the price: 22, is remarkable value for money, especially as my car had an interior that was not only nicely trimmed but also equipped like the innards of Cheyenne Mountain.
This is a very good car with an exceptional engine. But the whole point of a coup is to bring a bit of style to your humdrum hairdo point of a coup is to bring a bit of style to your humdrum hairdo with its big hole at the back. It has to be a toupee with tyres, a weave with windscreen wipers, a syrup that can go sideways. And on that front the RX-8 is a bit questionable. Its as though they had a styling suggestion box at the factory, and every single idea was incorporated. Its not ugly, and its certainly not plain.
But it is messy. There is, however, an upside to this. People will be too busy examining the curved front, the striking back and the endless detailing, to notice the drivers a poof.
I thought, when it was launched, that it was as cute as a newborn lamb but that its steering was as woolly and as vague as a sheep. It turned out to be worse than that. After just a few months it began to emerge that on motorway slip roads the Pretty Titty, as I like to call it, would spin round and slam into the nearest solid object.
That was fixed, but worse was to come, because the redesigned cars, identifiable by their tail spoilers, were bought by young men who care just a little too much about their hair. So while it might not be quite so hellbent on actually killing you, it would murder you socially by making you look like an estate agent.
To try to inject some new life into whats quite an old car now, Audi recently fitted the 3. The idea is that when you select, say, third, the second gearbox prepares fourth, making the change almost seamless.
Apparently each shift is done in something like 0. Now you might think that its an awful lot of bother, fitting an extra gearbox just to save a thirtieth of a second. But after this week Im not so sure. Last Sunday I caught an afternoon flight to America and spent until 1 a. Then I drove west for miles to be ready for a dawn photo-shoot. After that was over, I filmed the new Ford GT40 for Top Gear its very, very good and caught the overnight flight back again. On Tuesday morning I raced home from Gatwick, wrote 3, words, quickly, because there was a school meeting that night, and on Wednesday I needed to write two television scripts, before flying to the Isle of Man for three filming days.
Next week things get really busy, with two overnight shoots, three columns, two features, two commentary records and trips to Surrey, London and St Tropez. Never have I needed a fast car more. So, of course, the Mercedes broke down. The gearbox has decided it wants to be a ball gown or a potato, anything but a bucket of cogs, and naturally the spare parts have to come from Germany.
I mean, itd be far too much to expect Mercedes in Britain to clutter the place up with replacement bits and pieces. It might look ugly in the profit-and-loss accounts. Thats why Ive been in the Audi, and on balance I must say I like the new gearbox es.
To hell with the horrid steering and the cherrywood chassis and the estate agent Bauhaus styling; every second counts, and if I can save one after just 30 gear-changes, good. It is for this reason that there are currently men in the house fitting some kind of wireless transmitter device that allows me to access our new broadband connection.
Just this morning I needed to know when high water was in the Solomon Islands. Now, in the past, that would have necessitated a trip to the library, in a car with only one gearbox, but then along came the internet and suddenly you could get the answer in 10 seconds. But now, 10 seconds is an aeon. With broadband I can get seconds. With broadband I can get the Solomons tidal charts in one, leaving me time to download Gerry Raffertys new album and have a spot of virtual sex with a young lady in Kiev.
At work Ill take the stairs rather than use a lift that has no door close button. Standing there for three seconds waiting for them to shut automatically will make me late for the next appointment and the one after that until, eventually, Ill miss the heart attack I have scheduled for On the roads I dont curse speed cameras because of the civil liberty issues.
I curse them because they slow me down. Every time a traffic light goes red I want to get out and smash it up. On Monday I glowered at a poor woman whose horsebox had turned over on the M I dont care about your horse. Ive had to swerve round you and thats cost me 3.
But I reserve my special level of hatred, my mental Defcon 4, for people who drive up the A44 at 40 mph. I dont think we should be allowed to kill people who drive too slowly; it is never right to take a life. But I do think we should be allowed to torture them a bit. Saw their legs off, maybe, or shove a powerful air hose up their jacksies. Forty may have been all right in , but its simply unacceptable now.
If all the world did 40, it wouldnt work any more. This week, however, I found a woman coming up the A44 at 30 and I went beyond incandescence into a semi-catatonic state of pure rage.
My blood turned to acid and fizzed.Americans, remember, have got it into their heads that you can now wage a war without losing a single soldier or airman, and we see the same sort of thing with their weather too.
You'll never look into his eyes again. Or even 'Blair' and "Prescott'. Every week, as we filmed my television chat show, food would be spilt on the floor, and every week the recording would have to be stopped so it could be swept away.
Others argue that you can't have a revolution if you have a strong and contented middle class. To my left there was White Tuxedo Man. Jeremy Clarkson is outspoken. But all is well between the two nations in the world of car-making, because Lamborghini has been bought by Audi itself part of the Volkswagen group , who have brought a dollop of common sense to the most lovably idiotic carmaker on earth.
I sort of dont mind, though, because it is just so very, very fast. And that would have been even more expensive than turning round and going home.
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