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Bad haircut, good writer
Driven to Distraction - Jeremy Clarkson
Member Name: Stewwydablue
Driven to Distraction - Jeremy Clarkson
Advantages: Very funny
Disadvantages: Not to everyone's taste
Jeremy Clarkson is the Marmite Man - you'll either want him every day on your toast, or you'll prefer it if he was stuck in the back of the cupboard and forgotten about. I think he's quite a clever and humorous wordsmith, but can appreciate why some people are irritated by him. Driven to Distraction was first released in 2009 and is a collection of an assorted group of columns that he wrote for the Sunday Times between 2006 and 2007.
In part one of the book, there is a total of 81 different articles which are part car review and part observations on life, with a further 6 different articles in part two which aren't car reviews but are reflections on different experiences he has had - from going to Mykonos and being surrounded by lesbians to having lunch in Uday Hussein's palace where he used to feed people to lions.
Fortunately, I've read some of his other books and knew that this would be a collection of previously printed newspaper articles. First time "Jezza" readers should be aware of this to avoid disappointment if they were expecting a novel. As the blurb proudly boasts, his journalism career started at the Rotherham Advertiser. I haven't read any of his Rotherham work, but think that he can work wonders with the 1200 or so words he fills his Sunday Times columns with. After reading this and some of his other books, I now see him as more than just a prat with a bad haircut off Top Gear - surprisingly he's quite an entertaining writer. Admittedly, his similes and metaphors are outrageously exaggerated which may be part of the reason why to some he is Marmite - he is quite outspoken and this isn't to everyone's taste. But just like that well known yeast extract will, his writing style fermented and grew on me, and once I started to see through his vastly exaggerated bluster I could see a little bit of sense in some of what he was saying. For example - why the green protester who throws the proverbial egg at a man driving a full seven seater 4x4 vehicle on the morning school run is a moron - because of that driver giving his neighbours' kids a lift to school, two other cars are off the road. Makes sense, but I do see how people would be put off by his choice of words.
Some of his "bigger than Ben Hur" exaggerations that made me smirk in this book include: comparing owning a Porsche Boxster (or Coxster as he calls them) to the feeling you get when you congratulate someone on being pregnant only to find out that they're just fat, and suggesting that people in Cornwall all vote Lib Dem and think Albania is a skin disease. I'm sure the Cornwall bit isn't true, but I sort of see what he means (when I'm not in my beloved Lancashire, I work a lot "next door" in Plymouth and go to Cornwall often). The book is littered with lines like that, most of which I found quite funny.
In the interests of balance, I must point out that he is definitely not "PC" and that he may offend some, but he's not as non-PC as say, a 1970s comic. He's a bit smarter than that, but he does have the same bad haircut.
Five stars from me, thanks for reading.
ISBN 9780141044200 (paperback)
Summary: A collection of funny car reviews / articles by Mr Clarkson
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