Random Thoughts (Top gear Edition)

RaphEmer

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Wow, the fracas now has a specific name? That article referred to it as "the ?steakgate? fracas".

"Steakgate". It is to laugh...
 

MWF

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Wow, the fracas now has a specific name? That article referred to it as "the ?steakgate? fracas".

"Steakgate". It is to laugh...
Where have you been? It's been called that for ages.
 

Wing Nut

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Really? First I've heard it. Or, at least, first I've noticed it.
Might be because it's a term used in the UK newspapers lately and no one can question you for NOT reading what's under their headlines <_<
 

Wing Nut

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Since the original '....gate' was the building where the incident took place, maybe this argument over a warm meal at the end of a long cold day in northern Yorkshire should be called 'Simonstone Hall-gate'? Or is that not spiteful enough nowadays? Or just too long and complicated for Sun readers? ;)
 

Tzarrim

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Yes, a pretty much anonymous Craigslist advert with a bunch of typos in it is a great way to start something good. :p
 

Hive

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is there a masterlist of all the "Cheap Car Challenges" ?

I sincerely hope they continue doing these for the new series.
 
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Here's the full interview.
Jeremy Clarkson: my worst year
Charlotte Edwardes
He is Britain?s most successful TV presenter ? and its most notorious. Twelve months after being sacked by the BBC for punching his producer, a period in which he also lost his mother and his home, Jeremy Clarkson talks to Charlotte Edwardes about life after Top Gear
I am on holiday with Jeremy Clarkson in Barbados. Sorry, I am working and he is working. He?s out here filming the new, as yet unnamed Amazon Prime version of Top Gear. I am interviewing him. ?This is work!? he shouts over the squirrel spray of the jet ski, then skids at 45mph to douse me in seawater. ?Work!? he insists as we stroll the length of a spongy beach, look around the island?s oldest church, eat warm banana bread and suck at rum sundowners against the bouncing chromatic beat of a steel pan.
But when a woman with a flute of pink fizz floats over in a nightie to ask for a selfie, Clarkson barks, ?Can?t you see I?m on holiday?? And this is his gruff response (pathetic, may I say, because he always does pose for them) to the other 20-odd random people who ask him for his picture over the course of the weekend.
?The whole thing is an act, of course,? he says at one point. What? ?My job, my TV persona. ?Jeremy Clarkson.? It?s a mask. We all wear masks. It?s not the real me.? Is he suggesting that the man who?s made ?30 million from ?being himself? is a con? ?Yup.? Then who is the real you? ?I?m not telling you,? he laughs.
Instead, he warns against the dangers of catching ?c**t flu? in a paradise like this. It affects the rich and famous, he says, and stems from being surrounded by flunkies who won?t say no. ?It?s basically when you see your helicopter and say, ?I want a bigger one.??? He?s had a few attacks ? once in rural New Zealand, when he couldn?t find a board game he felt like playing, so sent someone to Auckland to buy Risk.
?It?s one of the reasons rock stars will continue to expire at the age of 27,? he explains. ?C**t flu kills them. ?I can do what I want, therefore ?? That?s c**t flu. It?s selfishness, really.? Amy Winehouse had c**t flu, he says. ?But what a singer.?
Still, he has moments of grumpiness, which is down to the ?horrible, horrible? time he?s had lately: ?My luck stopped suddenly three years ago.? I suggest it must be wearing to be interrupted to pose every five minutes. ?No! It?s as Angela Rippon says, ?When it stops is when you have to worry.???
Actually, his popularity seems undented by his very public defenestration from the BBC?s Top Gear. A short walk on the beach is like being in The Truman Show. There are cries of, ?I love you, Jeremy!?, ?Good luck with the new show, I?ll be watching!? and (less reassuringly), ?It?s you, innit? The one from whatsit??
No one asks about The Alleged Punch. It?s almost exactly a year since Clarkson, 55, gave a cut lip to producer Oisin Tymon in a hotel in North Yorkshire for not, so the story goes, having a steak supper ready after filming. Three and a bit weeks ago he apologised, and Tymon?s lawyers said they had settled for an undisclosed fee (rumoured to be in excess of ?100,000) for racial discrimination and personal injury (Clarkson allegedly called him ?a lazy Irish c**t?).
?I can?t talk about it ? legal reasons,? Clarkson says when I ask. Does he have a temper? ?I can?t talk about it, honestly.? Was he really angry? He sighs. Does he argue a lot? ?I don?t usually argue with people; I discuss. If I?m in a mood and I?m talking to an idiot, I might tell them to eff off. If you and I found a subject we disagreed on, you?d see.?
Later, in a harbourside restaurant suggested by TripAdvisor, we do have a disagreement. By then, warmed by sun, swimming and a bottle of ros?, he?ll be more relaxed and open about life in general.
I?ve been chasing Clarkson for this interview for more than a year, and having been batted away with multiple versions of ?No, thank you?, I?m only here now because, in a moment of ?bravado?, he texted me something along the lines of, ?All right, come on then, but it has to be in Barbados tomorrow.?
When I arrive, he has a hangover. He?s spent much of the day sitting on the bottom of the swimming pool with an oxygen tank, refusing to be coaxed up by a desperate scuba instructor, on the grounds that he wanted to drown out the world. ?It was so nice and peaceful down there. Why would I want to come out??
All he can bear to recall of the previous evening is that he went down to ?Second Street? in nearby Holetown (which develops a mythical quality over the course of the weekend) and bumped into Andrea Corr (of Irish band the Corrs) in a piano bar.
Tonight he?s skipped a ?pyjama party? to meet me at the Coral Reef Club hotel, which is candlelit and colonial with shutters and palms, although the trees have been castrated of fruit and the area is sprayed with mosquito repellent, erasing the ambience of bugs.
Still, the crickets are going like an itch. And we?re drinking banana daiquiris topped with glac? cherries in the smoking area. At all times Clarkson is equipped with three packs of Marlboro Lights, which he spills onto the table along with boxes of matches, lighters, receipts, a ?crappy student? cashpoint card and anything else that he can unearth from his pocket.
The confusion over whether this is work or holiday is understandable. This is his itinerary over the next weeks: India, Jordan, America, Mozambique, Sweden. He?s already been in Portugal ? ?and Devon?. When I suggest this is all rather five star and enviable, he protests that he often shares a room with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May, and that May snores like a beast.
Here they?re building a coral reef out of old cars. ?You need to ?seed? reefs,? he explains. ?Concrete is best, but steel is good, too. Just over there they sunk a ship not that long ago, and already it?s an island of marine life ? turtles and fish. Beautiful. One day the ship will rust and dissolve and you?ll be left with a coral reef. I was reading about it in an in-flight magazine. I thought why use ships? There are awful, terrible cars with which you could actually create new life. So that?s what we?re doing in Barbados. That, and the fact that the crew will think we?re brilliant because we?re here rather than some godforsaken mountaintop in a country no one has heard of.?
His job sounds like the world?s longest gap year. In the West Indies he?s played drunken dodgems on jet skis. He?s been in three plane crashes, including one in Libya and one in Cuba (during which he lit a fag as the plane went down). In Nepal, he remembers dragging his sleeping bag outside their dorm because ?May?s snoring was worse than the alternative: sleeping on a bench next to a vomiting pig?. May regularly holds up their convoy with his 40-minute trips to the lavatory. ?He says he can?t hold it, which means at least once in his life,? Clarkson muses, ?that man must?ve had to interrupt sex in order to take a dump.?
There are tales of nervous moments spent confronting armed militias, cross-legged conferences around campfires, negotiations with multiple agencies on borders, and occasional last-minute about-turns ? ?I was too chicken to go into the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo]. Got all the way to the border and then thought, ?Actually, no.???
He flips through his iPhone to show me photos from 2011, larking about in Raqqa (now Islamic State?s stronghold) and Homs (now rubble and pock-marked, skeletonised buildings). Of course, jeopardy has always been a part of the show?s appeal. This is lads? diplomacy ? which at times goes hideously wrong.
While filming a Christmas special in 2014, they had to be evacuated from Argentina after his Porsche?s numberplates (H982 FKL) were said to be a deliberately provocative reference to the Falklands conflict. (Clarkson denies this: ?It was just an impossibility for us to have chosen that numberplate on purpose. I drive thousands of cars a year; I never look at the registration.?)
The situation was so tense for the remaining crew ? attempting to reach Chile cross-country ? that Clarkson feared they?d be killed. ?I rang [David] Cameron, who was out in Afghanistan. ?Get someone over from the Falklands. You?ve got to help us out here, otherwise you?re going to have 40 dead English people.? There were 40 stuck in that convoy. It was one of the most unpleasant nights of my life.?
What was the response? ?Cameron said there was nothing he could do. And realistically there was nothing he could do. The High Commissioner came out, did his best. He could do about as much as the president of Argentina could do if some Argies got into trouble in England ? nothing. Those days when you can send a gunboat, I?m afraid, are over.?
It was against a swirling background of ?incidents? like this that BBC bosses commissioned a number of investigations into Clarkson?s ?offensive behaviour?. For example, while trying to build a bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand (actually, as it turned out, the River Kok), Clarkson commented, when he saw someone walk across it, ?That is a proud moment ? but there?s a slope on it.?
He makes a noise of exasperation. ?No one gave a s*** in Asia. They were alerted to the fact that there was a ?deeply racist? slur in the footage, and said, ?That?s not deeply racist,? and transmitted it unedited. Which is what I thought would happen.
?I genuinely don?t think it was bad. It was built up to be a huge thing. We don?t mind being called ?roast beef?. The Aussies call us Nigel, a lot. Or Poms. We call the French ?frogs?.? He has admitted to mumbling the n-word while reciting Eeny, meany, miny, moe and is apologetic for being rude about Mexicans.
?I?d say the one time we made a mistake ? not one time, sorry, we made lots of mistakes; everybody does ? but the biggest was Mexico. We got carried away in an item about a Mexican sports car and were very rude about Mexico and Mexicans and it was uncalled for. I apologised to the Mexican ambassador.?
Against a backdrop of heightened awareness of sexism, the Top Gear boys? Carry On humour began to be scrutinised. When Clarkson revealed they?d all made up daily injuries as an excuse to see a ?rather attractive? paramedic working with them, culminating in Hammond telling her ?my willy tastes funny?, it provoked a paroxysm ? and not of laughter.
Yet Clarkson seemed ever more defiant. I get the impression that he actually enjoyed winding up Danny Cohen, the BBC?s director of television at the time. He says Cohen ordered him into his office to ask if it was true he?d called his west highland terrier Didier Dogba (a play on Didier Drogba, the former Chelsea striker; Clarkson is a Blues fan). ?I confirmed it was true. He said, ?What colour is it?? And I said, ?It?s black.? And he said, ?You can?t call your black dog after a black football player.? So I said, ?Why not? Would you rather I called it John Terrier????
On another occasion, Clarkson tells me, he sat next to Cohen?s economist wife, Noreena Hertz, at dinner and asked her if she was a communist. ?No,? she said, ?a Marxist.? ?What?s the difference?? he replied. ?The next time I was in with Tony Hall [the BBC director-general] and Danny Cohen, I said, ?Tony, you do know Danny is a communist, don?t you?? Danny got really cross and said, ?Just because two people are married doesn?t mean they have the same politics.???
Today he says, ?Danny and I were, and I suspect will remain for ever, very far apart on every single thing. Normally, you could find some common ground with somebody, but I think Danny and I could probably only get on perfectly well so long as we absolutely never had to think about each other for the rest of the time. Because I don?t mind anyone having an opinion that?s different to mine, just so long as they don?t mind my opinion, either. So long as it doesn?t impinge on what I want to do.?
But it did. Ultimately, Cohen won. Clarkson was sacked from Top Gear. ?I wasn?t sacked. What was it? Oh yes, they ?didn?t renew my contract?. I was sacked.? There was public outcry. A petition calling for his reinstatement was signed by more than one million people. He says David Cameron quipped, ?Well, if you go, they?re just left with Hammond and May, and from my experience that?ll never work.?
In the end, much of the Top Gear team ? Hammond, May and some key crew members ? defected to Amazon Prime with him. (The BBC has rebuilt Top Gear with Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc at the helm, about which Clarkson is entirely nonchalant. ?Nobody says, ?What? Someone?s doing another cookery programme?? Why shouldn?t there be more than one car programme??)
But despite the jibes and the shrugs and the bluff and bravado, these were dark times for Clarkson. When I probe, he swerves, shrugging off tricky questions with, ?Wait just a cotton-picking minute. I drive round corners too quickly while shouting. That is my job. Ask me what it?s like to have a Ferrari sliding sideways and you?ve got to do a piece to camera before the power slide is over.?
And then he says, ?In one year I lost my mother, my house, my job. How do you think I f***ing felt??
----------
At 10am the following morning we have breakfast. He?s been up since dawn with a trainer called Junior. ?He has no mercy. I must look close to death and he says, ?Do it more!??? He does daily weights at 8am and plays tennis at 5pm. ?It?s a new thing. It hasn?t had an effect yet.? He slaps his stomach.
Clarkson is tall and misshapen with wire-wool hair and tobacco-stained teeth. With the possible exception of Wembley Fraggle, he looks like no one else. He likes to say he was made in God?s factory on a Friday evening, when all they had left was two good feet ?and a pair of good buttocks. Look at these rubbish hands, this paunch, this hair.? Someone like Andrea Corr, he adds, was made on a Monday morning.
He claims to be utterly ham-fisted. ?My first memory is peeling a hard-boiled egg. I was only about 18 months apparently, and it?s still the most practical thing I?ve ever done.
?As Hammond always says, I look like an orangutan when I?m presented with simple tasks, like opening a bottle of wine. He says, ?You look perfectly happy, just baffled.? I have no sense of how an engine works at all.?
He must be good at something? ?I promise faithfully I can do nothing. I can?t hang a picture without knocking a wall down. When I play tennis I can hear people saying, ?It is odd because that man is in tennis clothes and he?s on a court and he?s carrying a racquet, but what?s he doing??
?Skiing is the same. I look like a bus driver having a crap. I can?t cook. I tried to make some soup the other day. My daughter was staggered that it could go that wrong. You know that footage of people in the London sewers with all the congealed fat? It looked like that.?
Top Gear was the only thing he?s done well, he claims. At one point in his 27-year association with the show, he left to pursue a ?solo? career. ?I thought, ?I?m brilliant at this; I can do anything.? So I did a range of not at all successful programmes: a chat show, a programme on the history of cars. They tanked. One was so bad that it never got shown at all. So I reinvented [Top Gear] with Andy [Wilman, the show?s producer] and went back.?
He?s known Wilman since he boarded at Repton School ? ?He was my fag.? Was Clarkson a fag, too? ?Yes. We had to sweep the corridors ? and then they?d come and empty their bins in them, so you?d have to start again. We?d clean the changing room, the bathrooms, make the beds.?
Was he bullied? ?Yes. I got beaten every night with empty Globe-Trotter suitcases. There?s more give in a Globe-Trotter suitcase than there is in a skull. So you were fine. Head, back, shoulders, buttocks. Maybe you?d get the odd bruise from the corner. It was annoying and uncomfortable.
?In the morning, we were woken up and hurled into the plunge pool, which was freezing.? He pauses. ?Does you a power of good. I was a cocky little s*** coming to a private school at 13. God, it knocks it out of you.?
He says the experience had ?a profound effect because I can remember the day, the moment, that I thought: this isn?t working just being me. It doesn?t work. I?m going to have to make people laugh. Because once someone?s made you laugh, you can?t be cross with them. And it stopped from that day onwards. I was 14. It was a useful tool, making people laugh.? He tells me he?s also the world?s best liar ? that he can fool anyone ? but I think he underestimates his audiences.
At school, he continues, ?I was simply unaware of any homosexuality. We were remarkably naive. I assume some of the teachers were gay but we didn?t notice.? What he did notice was the racism. ?I?m sad to say it was the Seventies and Till Death Us Do Part was on the television and there was definitely racism. We had a few Asian kids, [a] few blacks.? He?s ?100 per certain I did not take part in racist bullying? and believes that the leap from his generation, ?when racism was institutionalised?, to today is remarkable.
?Our generation needs the biggest pat on the back of any generation for the changes we?ve overseen. When I talk to my children I realise they are completely colour-blind.?
In other ways his childhood was perfect. He had a Blytonic middle-class upbringing in a 400-year-old farmhouse. ?Prince Charles would get an erection if he thought about my childhood.?
His dad, Eddie, ?cooked and cooked. And when he ran out of people to cook for, he made cake for the birds.? His mum, Shirley, sat at the kitchen table sewing Paddington Bears (they owned the toy company that made them). After school, Clarkson would help sew them before he was allowed to do his homework. ?If you?ve got a Paddington Bear in your attic and it?s badly sewn up the back, then that?s one of mine.?
They holidayed in Padstow, Cornwall, and later in a campsite in Brittany. ?And twice a year we went to the Berni Inn in Doncaster, where you could have choice of starters: either grapefruit, pineapple or orange juice. Then you could have steak or breaded plaice. I once saw Leonard Parkin, who was an ITV newsreader, in there. It was like the Ivy.?
His childhood hero was Alan Whicker and he even got to meet him. ?But afterwards I heard him call me ?an irritating little s***?.?
Most of the time he built dens with his sister ? now a successful lawyer ? and two girls ?from up the way?. Were they honorary boys? ?Nope. I was the honorary girl,? he says. ?To this day 80 per cent of my closest friends are women.?
He says, ?Of all the ?ists? I?ve been accused of, sexist is the most stupid. I?m not sexist. The idea that you can?t be pretty and have a brain makes me absolutely livid. Some of the girls were the fastest drivers ? and why wouldn?t they be? Just because you have breasts doesn?t mean you can?t drive a car.
?There?s a standard thing in The Guardian that Top Gear was misogynistic. What people who?d never seen it assumed was that we used words like ?lady garden? to be misogynistic, but we didn?t. It was primary-school language. We also said ?gentlemen?s sausages?.?
So who are his female heroes? He pauses. ?Um. The Thatch? Although not massively so. She did do remarkable things in that time. Female heroes, um ??
In the nick of time he remembers Twenties Hearst reporter Grace Hay Drummond-Hay, the first woman to travel around the world in a Zeppelin. ?The descriptions are brilliant: the one about crossing the Russian tundra under this remarkable moonlit sky, my God. Then someone else smuggled a record player on board, so they were able to play music and do the charleston.?
Later he spoils all his enlightened feminist talk. In a bar surrounded by elderly men and women with sticks and hearing aids, he suddenly stops talking. ?Sssh! Can you hear that rustling noise?? No, I say. What? ?Listen. Can you hear it now? That is the sound of dried-out old vagina.?
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Every five minutes or so we stand by the surf for a cigarette. A beach trader stops to ask if he can bum one. ?You want any weed? Coke?? he asks after it?s lit. When we decline, he offers us paintings, plaited bracelets, sunglasses. Clarkson laughs. ?You really are a mobile shop. Do you have any Weetabix or Alphabetti spaghetti??
At 11.15am, Clarkson switches from espressos to beer. Boy, can he put it away. I ask him about reports that he was drinking too hard and rumours that Tony Hall had told him he could keep his job if he went to rehab. ?I still can?t drink as much as James May,? he deflects. He relates a time at Heathrow when May ?just looked at me and said, ?Have you ever had red wine for breakfast?? It was 7.30am. I said, ?No, James. I haven?t.? So off he toddled and he came back with two glasses. It was actually delicious. It?s an experiment I haven?t revisited, I?m relieved to tell you.?
Last summer he disappeared for a month (when I ask where he went, he says ?somewhere that was like prison?), and subsequently gave up drinking for four or five months. Initially, he says this was to ?stay sharp? while negotiating his Amazon Prime deal. ?You can?t deal with Californian lawyers if you?ve had a couple of glasses of wine.? Later he clarifies that his stint away was not rehab, but helped him clear out his head and think straight. ?I?m a lot calmer now. There?s the same s***, but I can deal with it.?
Over dinner we talk about exes. His first kiss was at the age of 13 (in a boiler room at Repton) with a sixth-former. One of his many flats in Fulham was nicknamed ?the vomitorium?. ?If you got a girl back there she stuck to the carpet and that was the end of it.?
He admits to a massive crush on Kristen Scott Thomas, the actress, and boils with inexplicable rage whenever anyone pronounces her name incorrectly. ?Sadly, I am unable to string a sentence together in her presence.?
On marriage he is silent. His first wife, Alexandra Hall, left him after six months for one of his friends, and he?s currently in friendly divorce proceedings with his second wife, Frances Cain ? also his manager ? to whom he has been married for 26 years. (Although he does tell me their wedding was in the Fulham church used in The Omen in the scene where a priest gets skewered by a lightning rod.) His recent split with girlfriend Phillipa Sage is off-limits, too, because, he reasons, ?It?s unfair on them ? they didn?t ask to be dragged into this.?
It?s his view that women are far tougher than men in break-ups. ?How are you all so cold?? he asks. ?Are you really so deeply unmoved when you get that mixtape of romantic songs, and the really bad poetry??
Did he have lots of girlfriends? ?We?re not going there. Nobody?s interested.? So it?s not true that he was ?a right shagger?? He looks absolutely mortified and says he?s been inaccurately linked with multiple women, among them Jemima Khan, a friend of many years. ?Although I thought her denial of our affair was a little strong,? he says. ???No, no! This is the most revolting, disgusting, worst thing that?s ever been said about me!? A simple no, Jemima, would probably suffice.?
Our argument is over whether it?s possible to change as a person. He is a fatalist who believes people can?t. For this reason, Clarkson doesn?t see the point in therapy. ?I don?t believe in a human?s capacity to change,? he says. ?We are who we were born and, bar some very early nurturing, that is set for the rest of our lives. Everything else is a mask.? (In the morning he says, ?I had to really think about it after I said it yesterday. I thought last night, ?Do I really think that?? And I do. I stand by it.?)
What he talks a lot about are his kids (Emily, 21, a writer; Finlo, 19, who?s at Manchester University; Katya, 17, who?s at school). He shows me photos of them on his phone and reflects how much they?d like to be in Barbados now. ?They practically grew up here.? One thing he breaks his work schedule for is the kids. ?I?ve yet to miss one of Katya?s school plays,? he says.
His farm in Chipping Norton, he loves that, too. He has dogs, sheep and kunekune pigs (they are pets: Zeppelin and Walter). But he doesn?t mention his other properties ? in the Isle of Man and London ? and actually he?s oddly unmaterialistic as a person, carrying his ?clean clothes? (denim shirt and jeans) in a black plastic bag, which, from time to time, he asks the reception desk to look after.
There are so many predictable things about Clarkson, such as his dislike of poetry, musicals ? ?I just want to shout: stop singing!? ? and Uber. He?s only been in an Uber once (I took him in one in London and he grumbled all the way: ?Oh, I see, a quick trip from the top of Notting Hill to the bottom, via Dewsbury. Oh, and a Magic Tree. Anyone who has anything hanging from their rear-view mirror can?t drive?).
But there are surprising things, too, like his love of ornithology (he?s constantly looking for a sugarbird to show me), and AA Milne (?Every character you?ll meet in life is a character from Winnie-the-Pooh: May is Wol [how Owl spells his name], Hammond is Piglet, I am Tigger?).
Also, he tells me that he has no pubic hair. ?None. Never have. I?m bald down there.? How did you know when you were going through puberty? ?My voice broke.? (Later he tells me this is not true and that he does have pubes.)
I?m astonished to hear he has a driver, a man called Andy, but he quickly corrects this to say he?s ?a Man Friday? who does a little bit of everything. Like drive.
He?s doggedly loyal, saying without question that he?d rather go to prison than sneak on a friend, something ingrained since school. ?Under any circumstances, you never, ever rat on a friend. That is for ever. I can think of a million other things I?d rather be than a sneak.?
I ask about his mother?s death last year from breast cancer that spread over five years. He?d just arrived in Moscow to do a live show when he was told over the phone by her nurse, ?which was very sad?.
?We didn?t know how long she had. We didn?t know if it was going to be a day or a week or a month ? you just didn?t know. But you have to be pragmatic. She?s lying in bed barely conscious. My sister and I effectively said goodbye in her last bits of consciousness. And then I thought, well, I can either continue to sit in her bedroom for what could be a month ... What do you do? It?s very difficult to know. We had Moscow planned and I had to go. I thought, ?Well, I?m only going for four days. I?ll be back in four days.? But she didn?t make it.?
Clarkson received the news shortly before he was supposed to be on stage in front of 15,000 people. He hesitated over what to do. ?I thought, ?Let?s just say I fly home, what would I do? Nothing. I may as well be here.? So I did the show.
?But the BBC ? No, I won?t say it.?
He looks sour. ?Let?s say they were very unhelpful.? It was the time of the BBC inquiry into ?the slope thing?. He was fielding calls. He mutters something about someone being ?a s***?.
?I said, ?My mother?s just died. Please leave me alone.? But they wouldn?t. And it was bad. We were doing the TV show and the live shows, and three newspaper columns a week and endless investigations into whether or not we?d said this or done that or whether or not my hair was straight or my teeth were cleaned. It went on and on and on. It was very tricky. So there was quite a lot of pressure that year even for a jovial soul like me to handle. I was very close to my mum.?
He misses her. ?Even now I think, ?I must tell my mother about that.? And then you think ? Even just now at the Coral Reef, I thought, ?Oh, mother likes it here.? It just floats in. But? ? he takes a deep breath and I can see his eyes are damp behind his sunglasses ? ?I just tend to think of her as a benign presence around.?
He sniffs. ?Do you mind if I pop to the loo??
And then he returns, and like all moments of pathos with Jeremy Clarkson, this one is harpooned. ?By the way,? he says, ?all the time I was talking about my mother, I could see your knickers.?
 
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