Clarkson's Sunday Times Columns

Revelator

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Apologies for the Labor Day delay:

Grab your hippie-hemp bag, the little shop of package-free horrors is open (Sept. 3)

Often, when I tell the young woman on the supermarket till that I do in fact need a couple of bags to carry my shopping home, I get the sort of contemptuous look that leaves me in no doubt that I alone am responsible for the flooding in Houston and the plight of that idiotic polar bear we saw on the BBC last week trying to eat a walrus.

I know I've been bad. I know I should have turned up with a reusable bag made from hemp or mud, and that the oil used to make the plastic for my new, use-once-and-chuck-away carrier bag would have been better employed in the engine of my Range Rover, or in Alan Sugar's hair. I know all that.

But I don't shop like normal people. I drive around until I see a parking space and then I go to whatever stores happen to be near it. You go out to get washing powder and you come home with washing powder. Me? I never know what I'm going to come home with. It could be a new shirt or a stone otter or a Lamborghini. And I can't possibly be expected to carry around a selection of hippie-hemp organic bags to cope with such a wide range of possibilities.

I hate waste as much as anyone else.

And I especially hate wasteful packaging.

I hope there is a special place in hell's sewerage system reserved for the people at Gillette, whose products are sold in such robust packaging that to get at the razor itself you need an axe and two hand grenades.

The other day I found a parking space near Tottenham Court Road in central London, so I went into a computer shop and bought a memory stick thing. It was the size of a woodlouse but it came in a plastic display cabinet that was about 2ft across. That made me angry.

And that's why my eye was caught last week by the antics of a former Manchester United footballer called Richard Eckersley. Actually, let's be clear on this point. Although Eckersley did grace the subs' bench at Man U on a few occasions, he later joined Burnley and spent most of the time being loaned to clubs such as Plymouth Argyle before ending up in defence at the powerhouse of international football ? Toronto FC. Both of the Canadian team's supporters remember well how he helped them to a big win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Anyway, Eckythump is now back in Britain and has opened a shop in Devon where nothing at all is packaged. This fills my heart with joy, and I hope one day a nearby parking space is free as I drive by so I can pop in and buy some of his, er ... well, that's where the problems start.

Mr Eebygum and his lovely wife, Nicola, are plainly very environmentally aware and wish to tread lightly.

They have called their business Earth.Food.Love. And as far as I can see, all of what they sell is expensive, revolting or pointless.

There's toothpaste, for instance, that isn't packaged. I'm not entirely sure how that works. And then there are bamboo toothbrushes, which Mr Eebygum seems to like a lot. He tells us they're made by a German company that says "we all need water ... to live". Crikey. These eco-boys are sharp. Until the manufacturer goes on to say that "every living being arises from a drop of water". Really? I thought it was sperm.

Naturally, you can buy reusable sanitary towels that come from a community project in India and reusable sandwich wraps that are made by the inmates at a Scottish prison.

And then we get to the food, and I'm afraid there's nothing here for me at all. It's beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, grains and various other things I wouldn't even put in a budgerigar's mouth. Apparently, the shop's most popular feature is its "grind-your-own nut butter machine". Honestly. You couldn't be more right-on unless you were serving delicate pieces of Diane Abbott wrapped in old copies of The Guardian.

Now, I'm not daft. I know that there are many people who enjoy eating the same food as their pets. I stayed with a friend last week whose 17-year-old son is very thin. And when you looked in her cupboards you could see why. There was nothing in there a boy human would think about eating unless he was trapped in a desert cave and the only alternative was his arm.

The trouble is that mothers such as this, and lunatics in Islington and Mr Eckythump, are so earnest that even when they have a sensible idea, normal people, who drive cars and eat sausages and don't buy organic carrots because they're too hard to peel, put their fingers in their ears and hum.

A shop where nothing is sold with packaging is a brilliant idea. But not when it only sells stuff that appeals to cyclists and squirrels. I would love to buy Frosties without a packet, and Vesta curries and butter. Smokers, I'm sure, would love to buy cigarettes loose rather than in a box covered in pictures of someone's diseased throat. And much as I adore Nespresso coffee and the elegance of the machines that make it, I do despair at the sheer amount of effort and money and energy that's gone into making and transporting those capsules.

There's another thing too. Because there's so much packaging in our lives, our wheelie bins fill more quickly. Now that might not be too much of an issue for you, but the drive to my cottage in the country is half a mile long.

So, as I'm dragging the bin full of used coffee capsules over the cattle grids, which is not easy, in the rain and the wind, I have sometimes entertained the idea of taking one of those Nespresso machines and ramming it up George Clooney's behind.
 

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Duke Nukem rides again:

While the CND was blowing up red balloons, nukes were keeping us healthy and safe (Sept. 10)

You and I both know that Kim Jong-un is not going to launch a nuclear attack any time soon. And that even if he did, his much talked-about KN-08 missile would wobble about in the sky for a few minutes and then crash into the sea. Or not take off at all.

We also know that while Donald Trump may be a bit bonkers, he isn't going to launch the first strike. Nor will he retaliate if Kim makes the first move. Because why bomb someone who, in all probability, has just bombed himself? This is why we can all get up in the morning and go to work. It's why we are not stockpiling food or making water filters from our central heating boilers. And it's why the government is not digging out the old Protect and Survive public information films to tell us about how our lives will be spared if we take the bedroom door off its hinges and prop it up against the kitchen table.

The hand-wringing liberals, though, see things differently. They reckon that Trump's tiny little index finger will soon be used to fire one of America's 450 Minuteman III nukes at Pyongyang and that the only way to stop him is through the anti-nuclear movement.

For those of you who are too young to remember, in the 1970s and 1980s the anti-nuclear movement was a hilarious collection of former communists and IRA sympathisers who reckoned that if they could get Britain to abandon its nuclear weapons, it'd be easier for the Soviets to take control.

As is always the way with the left, the whole movement eventually splintered into a million factions such as the Judean People's Front of Nuclear Disarmament and the Judean Popular People's Front of European Disarmament, and then eventually everyone drifted off to become anti-capitalism, anti-G8 eco-warriors instead.

History tells us that the Cold War was eventually ended by Ronald Reagan's Hollywood-trained straight face as he outlined the "Star Wars" defence system, a system he knew the Russians couldn't copy because it didn't and couldn't actually exist. And Mikhail Gorbachev's foolishness in believing it might. But according to the weird beards, the Berlin Wall was brought down by a bunch of women who in 1981 went to Newbury and chained themselves to a fence.

These are not to be confused with those who protested about the Newbury bypass by living in trees and digging tunnels like badgers. Impersonating animals and birds was never going to stop a government. But there are those who think that some light bondage did actually do the trick.

And because of this, they reckon that Kim, Trump and the various leaders in Pakistan, India and Iran could be brought to heel if only enough people would walk slowly down Whitehall with a Jo Malone candle.

Furthermore, it would cause all the world's terrorists to give up their fight with the infidel and stop scouring Aldermaston's wheelie bins for the ingredients to make a dirty bomb.

I wish them well, partly because the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament ? CND ? and the ideals of the protest movement generated some excellent music: 99 Red Balloons and Morning Dew spring immediately to mind. I even liked the badge. And, my God, I'd rather listen to some weeping hippies droning on about strontium-90 than this turgid and never-ending debate about Brexit.

But mostly I wish them well because the anti-nuclear movement is such a fantastically amusing idea.

Because you can't campaign for the abolition of something that exists. It's like calling for an end to weather, or dogs. The nuclear bomb was invented, and unless someone comes up with a Men in Black-style memory-wiper stick, it'll never go away.

I agree, of course, that if a terrorist were to atomise London, it'd be hard for Theresa May to retaliate, because what co-ordinates would be fed to the subs? A house just north of Manchester? A block of flats in West Bromwich? Nukes work only as a deterrent against governments. Specifically, governments that are being run by people whose extended families would get irradiated by the return blow.

However, saying that we shouldn't have a nuclear arsenal because it will protect us from only a certain type of enemy is like saying you won't take medical precautions when travelling in the tropics because they protect you from only a certain kind of disease. Better, in my book, to cover some of the bases than none at all.

Which brings us on to the new darling of the hand-wringing liberals, the manhole-cover enthusiast and aspiring vegan Jeremy Corbyn. It's possible, or even likely, that he will be our next prime minister, and this is seen as a good thing by the Guardianistas because he's a man of peace. He even has a beard to prove the point. And yet he's on record as saying he would use nuclear weapons.

The only reason the liberals love him is that he qualified this by saying he'd be "extremely cautious" about it. As opposed to what? That he'd do it on a whim? Or for a bet while pissed at a party? The fact is that no single invention has saved more lives than the nuclear bomb. Without it, Russia and America would have started fighting in about 1958 and in all probability would still be at it now.

And nuclear power means millions of tons of carbon dioxide are not in the upper atmosphere making hurricanes more powerful, but still in the ground.

So I think we should encourage the people at CND, but only if someone else starts up an organisation that champions the peace and clean energy that nuclear tech has brought to the world.
I don't usually reprint Clarkson's Sun column, because it's freely available online, but I'll make an exception for the most interesting bits of this week's edition:

Anti-abortion Rees-Mogg is a Latin scholar so he?ll easily get this: Stultus es, Jacob (you?re an idiot Jacob)

For some time now, a thin Conservative MP called Jacob Rees-Mogg has been quietly making a name for himself by coming across as a bit dotty and old fashioned. He called EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker a ?pound shop Bismarck? and laid into the whole organisation by saying in the House of Commons that its judges were guilty of ?floccinaucinihilipilification?. Nope. Me neither.

However, even though no one knew what he was on about, he was billed as a poster-fogey and some were even saying he could be the next leader. But then, this week, he revealed himself to be a stupid idiot by saying he was against abortion, even when the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest.

Abortion has been a central debating point in America since before sex was invented. In some parts of the country it?s more of an election issue than immigration, terrorism or the economy. Mercifully, however, we have been spared any of that nonsense over here. Because, I figured, we stoned our religious zealots to death about 500 years ago. We have vicars now to help us drink tea when our husband has died. And to raise money to repair the church?s roof. Not to stand in a pulpit screaming and yelling about how abortion is murder.

But then along came Rees-Mogg, a man who thinks in Latin and reads books with no pictures in them. A man we all thought was clever, and he says that life begins at the moment of conception. Which means he?s now given all sorts of lunatics a free pass to emerge from their priest holes to say they agree.

You may say they are entitled to their opinion and that in a free country, it?s only right and proper that their voices be heard. But you?re wrong. They are not entitled to their opinion any more than a paedophile is entitled to say his hobby is harmless. They are muddle-headed and ridiculous. That?s it. End of.

Rees-Mogg is a religious man. He follows the guidelines laid down by an invisible man in the sky. Whereas I?m more bothered about the plight of a young girl who?s up the duff because a condom split at a mate?s 13th birthday party. And can you even begin to imagine what it would be like to give birth to a baby created in part by a man who raped you?

It is technically correct to say life begins at the moment of conception but we are talking here about what? A split cell. An entity with less intelligence than a dishwasher and no capability to sustain life on its own. And you simply cannot put the needs of the foetus in front of the needs of the mother.

As I get older, I find I become more tolerant of those whose views differ from my own. But I?m resolute in my hatred of those who oppose abortion. So, if the Conservatives do choose Mr Rees-Mogg as their next leader, you can be assured that I?d vote for the manhole cover enthusiast instead. Or whoever is leading the Liberal Democrats that week.

***
VEGANISM GETS THE CHOP
Jeremy Corbyn, who has a beard, announced this week that he would become a vegan were it not for the fact that he likes the brie cheeses of Somerset so much.
I have similar issues with lamb chops, Sunday roasts, fish and chips, chicken madras, Spam, corned beef, smoky-bacon flavoured crisps, bone marrow, pheasant and bread sauce, juicy steaks, ham sandwiches, pork pies, halibut in parsley sauce, breaded plaice, boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, creme brulee and trifle.

Apart from that lot, though, I?m pretty much there.

***
I REVEALED recently that after smoking 630,000 cigarettes over 43 joyous and happy years, I?ve quit.

Instead of standing outside in the rain with my beloved fags, I now chew nicotine gum. But there?s a drawback. I have to chew so much that after cleaning my teeth my gums are bleeding so badly, it looks like I?ve just lost a bar fight to Dracula. On balance, I think smoking is a better look.

***
A Crash Course in Pain

It must be annoying when you?re sitting in your favourite armchair, watching Pointless, and someone crashes their car through the wall. So I have every sympathy for the poor chap from York who had to be taken to hospital this week after someone crashed their Volkswagen Golf into his front room. However, I have even more sympathy for those who are actually in the car when this sort of accident happens because, ooh, it hurts.

Many years ago, I crashed a lorry through a brick wall while doing 40mph, pictured. Even though I was wearing a full harness and a neck brace, I?m reminded of it every day. Partly by the scar left when the clutch pedal went through my leg and partly by the constant throb in my neck. Which even now has not recovered. My advice then is this: If you are having an accident and there?s a choice of two things to hit, aim for the thing that isn?t a house.
While I agree with much of Clarkson's tirade against Rees-Mogg, his anti-free speech remarks are wrongheaded. In a free country, it?s only right and proper that opinions, even ones noxious to the general public, can be heard. Even a paedophile is free to say his hobby is harmless. But he's not free to practice that hobby. Clarkson libertarian side should realize that he's advocating for the government to decide what opinions are and aren't legal. But free speech for only those whose opinions the government approves of is not free at all. If Rees-Mogg wants to make a thundering idiot of himself, let him. If he hadn't felt free to let us know his opinions, would Clarkson have known he was a such a creep?
 

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I don't usually reprint Clarkson's Sun column, because it's freely available online, but I'll make an exception for the most interesting bits of this week's edition:
Although I did happen upon the Sun column by accident this week, I've rarely seen it. All these snips are much appreciated :)
 

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Revelator

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This coincides with my own stance toward rats-with-wings:

Nab him, grab him, stop that pigeon ? and let the homeless eat him now (17 September)

As we know, there are a great many mad people in the southwestern bit of the country. They claim often that a black panther is living on Exmoor and that if you paint a picture, it'll be better if you are standing on a ley line.

And now the people of Exeter are saying that homeless people, many of whom may be from Poland, are roaming the streets at night eating pigeons. There are fears this could get out of hand with a local police community support officer saying "now we're eating pigeons, now we're killing seagulls. It escalates."

One resident said she saw two men pounce on a pigeon and put it in a sack and in the space of 20 minutes they'd captured 14 of them. This has made the Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds very angry, with a spokesman describing the incident as "horrible".

"Unlikely" is nearer the mark, though. I knew a man once who wore a suit, played a lot of golf and had never had so much as a parking ticket. But one day, while walking to work over Waterloo Bridge, he remembered being told that you can never kick a pigeon, because it has a housefly-like ability to get out of the way before your foot arrives. And for reasons that haunted him for the rest of his life, he decided to put the theory to the test.

So, in front of all the other suited-and-booted Margaret Thatcher enthusiasts, he took an almighty swing at the bird strutting about in his path and ? wallop ? it sailed 6 feet into the air and crashed back down to earth, stone dead. This proved, much to his embarrassment, that you can kick a pigeon to death.

I had a similar moment in northern Spain about 10 years ago. I was out and about in the packed streets of San Sebastian when I noticed a listless pigeon sitting on a windowsill. "I'll put that out of its misery," I thought, and tried to break its neck. But the manoeuvre went wrong and its head came off, which caused the body to fall to the floor where, much to the horror of the many onlookers, it flapped about for several minutes before it decided there was no point any more and lay still.

The weird thing is that this was Spain, where stabbing cows and throwing donkeys off tower blocks is basically like Swingball. And yet they were horrified that I'd pulled a pigeon's head off.

I think the problem is that we learn from an early age that pigeons are clever. That you can take one to Berlin and it is able to find its way back to its loft in Peterborough.

The Nazis certainly thought this way. Heinrich Himmler was a pigeon enthusiast and made plans for birds to be used to convey messages from agents ahead of an invasion of Britain.

And when authorities here got wind of this, instead of saying, "Oh, don't be stupid. Why would you use a bird to convey a message when you have a radio?", they decided the south coast should be patrolled by falcons. And in the Scilly Isles, it really was. That really did happen. It was the Battle of Britain, with feathers.

That legacy lives on in the way people react when pigeons are being harmed. But the thing is that salmon can also home and no one minds when Jeremy Paxman hauls one of those from a river and clubs it to death. Or when a little old lady buys a tin of its flesh and feeds it to her cat.

The fact is, though, that unlike salmon, pigeons are a menace. In towns their muck ruins buildings and in the countryside they can do more damage to crops than an army of drunken students with an alien fixation and garden roller.

If you shoot a pigeon ? which is harder than kicking one, I assure you ? and you open it up, you'll find more grain in its stomach than in the silos at Hovis.

Which brings us back to the issues in Exeter. If you are fit and sober and you have a gun, it is only just possible to kill a fit pigeon. So I'm suspicious of the story that these homeless drunks are able, in the space of 20 minutes, to get 14 live birds into a sack. (I feel a game show coming on here.) Let's just say, though, that they are able, through the fog of strong cider, to catch pigeons, and if things escalate, seagulls. So what? Yes, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 it's illegal to kill, injure or take any wild bird, but this was drawn up to stop people stealing ospreys and ptarmigans.

Let's not forget, shall we, that Ken Livingstone, darling of the left and therefore an RSPB poster boy, ejected all the people selling grain to tourists in the pigeon-infested Trafalgar Square and when Wilbur and Myrtle continued to show up with birdseed they'd bought from a Chelsea ladies' health food shop he introduced a Harris hawk to the area. Which is the Messerschmitt of the skies.

He'd be the first to say that homeless people should be encouraged to eat pigeons and I'd go further. Right now, the hedgerows on my farm are teeming with succulent blackberries and the few trees that haven't been ruined by deer and squirrels are laden with all kinds of delicious fruit.

If a homeless person were to spend a day in the woods with some Rambo traps and a bit of cunning, he would end up with a feast that even Henry VIII would call "a bit extravagant".

The problem is, if he killed a deer for some venison and a squirrel for seasoning, he'd have the whole country calling for his blood. And that's ridiculous. We need to lose our dewyeyed Disney sentimentality and accept that homeless people eating pigeons they've caught is better for them, better for our windowsills and better for the coffers at the NHS than encouraging them instead to eat takeaway pizza and Double Decker chocolate bars they've half-inched from the local corner shop.
 

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Current events controversy...

Some terrace chants are mean, but Man U fans are just bigging up their new hero (Sept. 24)

This year Manchester United signed a footballer called Romelu Lukaku. And it seems he's been doing very well, scoring so many goals that adoring fans sing songs in the stands about the magnitude of his member. However, they've now been asked to stop doing this by anti-racist campaigners, who say that it's racial stereotyping.

I was a bit confused about this, because Mr Lukaku is Belgian and I was unaware that Belgians are notorious for having oversized genitals.

Undeterred, the do-gooders go on to point out that that any racist chant that is threatening, abusive or insulting to a person is against the law.

And again I'm confused, because never in all human history has a man felt abused, threatened or insulted by someone saying: "My word, old chap, that's one hell of a sausage you've got down there."

I can't speak for Mr Lukaku, who has urged supporters to "move on" and #RespectEachOther, but I can tell you that if I were at work and 80,000 people were singing loudly about how my penis was 2ft long, I'd feel pretty damn good.

There was a time when racism in football was monstrous. People would turn up at games with sackfuls of bananas that they would throw at black players, and the chants would boggle the mind of anyone born after 1990. But by and large it's gone now. It's not so much "kick" racism out of football as "keep" racism out of football.

I'm a season ticket-holder at Chelsea, and every other weekend Stamford Bridge is like a super-condensed rainbow nation. The pitch is full of people from all over the world, and the stands are crammed with every conceivable skin tone: black, brown, white and even orange when we are playing Manchester City and half of Cheshire is in town.

And yet there are signs everywhere urging us to say no to racism. Which is a bit like having a sign in Tatler's office urging staff to say no to state-school kids. It's stupid. I never think: "Oh, no. Don't pass the ball to Eden Hazard. He's Belgian and he'll trip over his organ." I just see 11 men in Chelsea colours. So does everyone else, as far as I can tell.

Last week we played Nottingham Forest, and their supporters suddenly started to sing, to the tune of Guantanamera, "You're a shit Jimmy Savile." I turned to my son, who is an expert on football crowd mentality, and asked who they were singing about.

"Oh," he said, "it'll be a Chelsea supporter who's come to the game with his grandson."

Before I'd even had time to pull the appropriate face, they'd changed tack and were singing: "You're on the register."

Imagine that. You save up all month to take your grandson to watch his beloved Chelsea team play football. You pull on a tracksuit to keep out the autumnal chill, and maybe you tousle the lad's hair after your team has scored one of its goals. And what do you get in return? Several thousand people pointing at you and calling you a paedophile. And that's somehow fine.

All of which brings me naturally to a tapestry that is held in the vaults of a museum in Bristol. More than 250 big-hearted volunteers took about 20 years to complete this remarkable 267ft work. Prince Charles put in the final stitch in 2000.

Called The New World Tapestry, it was created to commemorate Britain's colonial exploits between 1583 and 1642. Many were hoping it would be put on display in a few years to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage.

But that now seems unlikely, because a Native American lady has decided that one of the scenes in the tapestry, which shows local people laughing as they set fire to white settlers, is racist.

The principal artist, Tom Mor, described these accusations as "rubbish", saying: "It's reality ? we slaughtered the Native Americans and they slaughtered us."

I fear, however, that this argument will fall on deaf ears, because it's a fact that we stole their land and gave them nothing in return, apart from medicine, food, electricity, phones and Las Vegas. Anyone who says otherwise is a racist. And, yes, that would include John Wayne and anyone else who starred in a cowboy film.

It's the same with Horatio Nelson. I couldn't follow the story closely because my eyes had rolled into the top of my head in despair, but someone apparently said the admiral was a racist too and that he should be removed from Trafalgar Square.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the image of William Lyon Mackenzie King is to be removed from the $50 banknote. He was the country's longest-serving prime minister and by the standards of the early 20th century he was extremely liberal, but his diaries reveal that he used contemporary racial epithets so that is that. He will be replaced with another former prime minister.

It is entirely possible that the antislavery campaigners Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce also used words that would be deemed inappropriate today, so what should we do about that? Tear down the statues erected in their honour? Strip naked and burn effigies of them in the streets? Actually, don't answer that.
 

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I fear, however, that this argument will fall on deaf ears, because it's a fact that we stole their land and gave them nothing in return, apart from medicine, food, electricity, phones and Las Vegas. Anyone who says otherwise is a racist. And, yes, that would include John Wayne and anyone else who starred in a cowboy film
I should hope that if Mr. Clarkson hasn't already come to the United States, gone to a reservation, and seen the abject poverty in which many Native Americans live, that he plans on doing so soon. He should also be made aware that we have no NHS in the US, and many impoverished Native Americans are going without health care.

Edit: I grew up near a place called Willow Bay

This article mentions how the Kinzua Dam that forms Willow Bay came into being.

Also worthy of note, a road known as PA 666 is not tremendously far from there.

Further Edit: A song called The Ballad of Ira Hayes is about the man who was from the Pima tribe in the Southwest United States.
 
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Enjoy your break ... we appreciate the posts and we can suffer a little delay :cool:
 

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Jeremy Clarkson: Terrorists have put half the world out of bounds, and bedbugs patrol the rest of it

1 October 2017

With a new super-strain of drug-resistant malaria rampaging through southeast Asia, various Notting Hill people called Arabella are having to think twice about taking their holidays next year in Cambodia.

This is causing them all sorts of grief, because obviously they can?t go to the Middle East either ? that?s where footballers go to get papped for either wearing or not wearing a wedding ring ? and north Africa is out because although the beaches are swept quite often, it?s usually with machinegun fire.

North America? Nope, because who?s to say that by next summer Mr Kim won?t have turned the entire continent into the sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland you thought only existed in Hollywood?s box of CGI tricks? And South America is a no-no as well because in all the ways that matter to Arabella, it?s just the same as Notting Hill. And that?s before we get to the Caribbean, which so far as I can tell isn?t there any more.

The world is all a big worry at the moment, but the truth is that if you come back from your holidays with a bullet hole in your arm or without one of your ears because you were kidnapped while trying to score a gram of coke in Bolivia, you do at least have a dinner party anecdote.

And you really shouldn?t worry about malaria either, because, as I?ve said before, the only westerners who catch it are those with orange faces who need to explain to the Daily Mail why they have sniffly nose and mad eyes, so they get their spokesman woman to say they caught, er, malaria while digging a well for villagers in Rwanda.

I?ve travelled the world quite a lot, and only once did I catch something unpleasant. I?d been in Cuba filming for a couple of weeks and a few days after I got back I was lying in bed wondering why I seemed to have so many new freckles on my arm. On both arms in fact. And my legs. And between them.

I had a bit of a poke about, squeezing one of them to see if it was perhaps cancer, and immediately I wished it had been, because the skin broke and out popped what can only be described as an animal of some kind. A spider? A crab? An alien? It was hard to be sure because it ran off before I?d had a chance to examine it more closely.

What I did examine was the next freckle along and, sure enough, when I squeezed that, another animal leapt out and scuttled away. And I had hundreds of freckles. Maybe even a thousand.

I went to see the doctor, who asked if I was feeling ill. I was. Lousy, in fact. ?Well, that?s not surprising,? she said, lifting her head from my nether regions and turning off her Davy lamp, ?because you have lice. That?s where the word ?lousy? comes from.?

Now, I?m sorry, but coming back from an exotic foreign trip with an exotic foreign disease is quite cool, but coming back from Cuba in the 1990s, when pretty much every single woman under the age of 30 is basically a prostitute that?s not cool at all. ?That?s disgusting,? said all my friends.

But it wasn?t as disgusting as what happened next. The doctor had given me some cream to rub into all the affected areas, saying that after 48 hours all the lice would have left my body and died. Sadly for the next person into the cubicle, the 48 hours was up when I was in one of the lavatories at Kuala Lumpur airport, on my way to Australia.

I pulled down my shreddies to see if any had fallen out, and it was like a horror film. There were hundreds and hundreds of dead lice, all of which I swept onto the floor before leaving.

You might imagine that illness and problems of this nature are all part of life when you are travelling to weird parts of the world, but last week I came back from a two-day trip to the part of France that is full of people who miss Terry Wogan, and I had an itchy right nipple.

Further investigation revealed that I?d been bitten by a bedbug, which I thought was a harmless cartoon character designed to make young children feel all snuggly and safe when you tuck them up at night.

Well, it?s not. My nipple looks as though it?s exploded, and because it itches enough to make scratching impossible to resist, I find people are looking at me in restaurants as though I may be practising for some kind of weird transgender pole dancing routine.

It turns out bedbugs are extremely common in even the most expensive hotels, and there is much advice on the internet about how you can minimise your chances of being bitten. One reputable site suggests before putting your clothes, suitcase, or yourself onto the bed you should peel back the sheets very carefully and check for bugs using the torch you?re bound to have in your hand luggage, because everyone does.

Next, you must remove the sheets and scrape the mattress, using a credit card to peer under the buttons, before switching your investigations to the headboard. This is the most terrible game of hide and seek ever, and it gets worse, because you also need to check the stand onto which you will place your suitcase later, and the bathroom.

Now, excuse me, but if you are on holiday, you are not going to be inclined to do a four-hour CSI search of your room looking for something that, in the worst case, is going to make you a bit itchy for a day or two.

Far better to accept that when you go away, there?s a chance that you will catch something either irritating or nasty. Or that you will be shot, kidnapped, irradiated or blown into the sea and drowned. It?s what travel agents mean when they describe a holiday as exciting: that you may come home in a box.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/jeremy-clarkson-terrorists-have-put-half-the-world-out-of-bounds-and-bedbugs-patrol-the-rest-of-it-q9nj0pfdh


THE CLARKSON REVIEW: BMW M760LI XDRIVE V12 (7-SERIES)
Dreaming to screaming in an instant

03 October 2017
https://www.driving.co.uk/car-reviews/clarkson-review-bmw-m760li-xdrive-v12-7-series/


We should all show pity for Ben Stokes ? after all he is just a cricketer
Nobody wants to be told when they are 16 that they will spend the rest of their lives standing in the middle of a field while someone throws a leather ball at a man who only has a wooden bat to defend himself

By Jeremy Clarkson, Sun Columnist
30th September 2017
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4580946/we-should-all-show-pity-for-ben-stokes-after-all-he-is-just-a-cricketer/
 

RedMoon

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Jeremy Clarkson: The best art criticism is done not with words but with craft knife and spray can

8 October 2017

As we know, the French have always been very open about sex. Thirty years ago, while we Brits were sitting in a hotel room watching a porn film that had been edited so heavily it was nothing more than a 40-minute close-up of a sweaty man?s face going up and down, Johnny Frenchman could sit down after a hard day on strike and watch full-on sex on terrestrial television.

Well, I say ?full-on sex?, but most French films of this period usually had quite a lot of meaningless preamble. By which I mean we had half an hour of a man sitting outside a restaurant in Paris, stirring coffee and staring wistfully into the middle distance while smoking a Gitane. Then he?d ask the waiter if the ham was happy, and it would cut to a naked woman with armpits like Monty Don?s shrubbery, writhing around in a bed. After which it would cut back to the man at the restaurant, who was now standing up, saying at the top of his voice: ?What is the meaning of this table?? Then there?d be some sex.

It was the same story on the beach. Frenchwomen were wearing nothing but a few inches of dental floss while we were still hopping up and down behind a windbreak as we tried to get our flab into an all-in-one romper suit.

Today a French infant can marry his primary school teacher and go on to be president, and it?s not uncommon for a man to arrive home at the end of the day and say to his wife: ?Sorry I?m late, darling. I stopped off at a hotel with my mistress for a couple of hours.?

Naturally, French art is just porn. A recent example was a video promoting an art exhibition that showed various naked people writhing around on the floor, biting one another. It was all very odd until the camera pulled back and we saw they were spelling out ?Sade?.

Now a panel of French art experts ? can you imagine how little they find funny? ? has decided that a 30-ton sculpture by a Dutch art collective the name of which I can?t be bothered to remember should be exhibited in the Tuileries gardens as a centrepiece of this month?s Paris contemporary art fair.

To the casual eye it looks like a collection of shipping containers held together with oddly angled beams. But if you study it for more than about one second, it?s very obvious that it?s a man ? how can I put this in a family newspaper? ? hanging out of the back of a dog.

Now you may think this is the sort of thing the French show on Pierre Bleu at five in the afternoon, but it seems not. The people who run the gardens where the gigantic One Man and His Dog sculpture was to have been displayed have said ?non?.

Naturally, they?ve said ?non? not only because it would be inappropriate to have a 40ft sculpture of animal sex in the middle of the city but because they think it might be vandalised.

This would not be a first. A few years ago an American artist was asked to make a modern-day Christmas tree sculpture, which was then mounted in the Place Vend?me.

That all sounds very jolly and festive, but anyone who?s even walked past a sex shop would tell you that the sculpture was nothing more than an enormous gentleman?s sex toy. I believe the term is ?butt plug?. I also believe the sub-editors will take that reference out.

Anyway, it was vandalised, and so, at the Palace of Versailles, was a huge hollow tube that at one end flared out into the shape of ? there?s no other way of saying this ? a lady part.

There are those who say that this vandalism is the work of right-wing religious nutcases, but that seems unlikely, because no right-wing religious nutcases have vandalised Brigitte Bardot?s breasts. No. I think it?s more likely these things were vandalised by people who like art.

People in France have lived with sex and general disgustingness for decades, so why should they suddenly decide now that it?s time to make merry with the spray cans? Aren?t the culprits more likely to be people who think: ?No. I?m sorry. But filling the beautiful gardens at Versailles with a massive metal tube, no matter what shape it is at the end, is just not on??

Things in Britain are a bit more tricky, because sex here died when Robin Askwith hung up his Y-fronts and Barbara Windsor put her bosoms away. We don?t do metal vaginas or bestiality sculptures in Hyde Park, so our art fans have no excuse to become vandals. Which is a pity.

Last week a contemporary art fair opened in Regent?s Park in London and I don?t doubt for a moment that true connoisseurs were appalled by the collection of cardboard boxes that had been fastened somehow to a wall, or the enormous lollies that were to be found outside, stuck into the lawn. And that?s before we get to the skeleton draped over a chair.

Unfortunately the whole place was full of visitors wandering around scratching their chins and using lines on one another that they?d picked up from watching the Pierce Brosnan remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.

Some of them were actually shelling out because, like pretty much everyone in Britain, they have walls, and walls need to be covered with stuff.

Something must be done about that. It?s tricky enough for normal people to buy art because we don?t know what?s good and what?s tosh. We therefore need people who do know to become a bit more French and smash stuff up before we have a chance to make fools of ourselves.

And come home from an art fair with a boot full of empty cereal packets.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/jeremy-clarkson-the-best-art-criticism-isdone-not-with-words-butwith-craft-knife-and-spraycan-kpn9388tk


THE CLARKSON REVIEW: 2017 VAUXHALL INSIGNIA GRAND SPORT
All mod cons, but 50 years too late
Published 09 October 2017
By Jeremy Clarkson
https://www.driving.co.uk/car-reviews/clarkson/clarkson-review-2017-vauxhall-insignia-grand-sport/


Don?t listen to the Tories, people called Hammond and May always talk drivel
It is more important than ever for the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to fight Corbyn?s idealistic nonsense - so why was their conference such a shambles?

By Jeremy Clarkson, Sun Columnist
7th October 2017
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4629735/jeremy-clarkson-theresa-may-philip-hammond-speech/
 
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mig25_foxbat2003

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Revelator

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We all know how the English love to talk about the weather...

Oh blow, our star role in a hurricane epic has gone with the wind (Oct. 22)

It can't be much fun being a weather forecaster in Britain because there's almost always nothing to do. You spend all day looking at isobars and algorithms and they always say the same thing: tomorrow will be grey and boring with a slight chance of rain.

You look from time to time at weather forecasters in other parts of the world and you are green with envy because they have hurricanes and cyclones and tornados and temperature extremes that can shatter or melt steel. Whereas all you ever have is another minor low trundling across the Atlantic, which means that tomorrow it will be 57 degrees and drizzling. Same as it was yesterday and the day before that.

You dream of the day when something interesting happens because then you will be promoted from the tail end of the news to who knows? The lead item? You may even be sent out of the studio to stand in the weather you've forecasted. You'll be an actual reporter, with messed-up hair and maybe even a bulletproof vest with "Press" on it.

Which brings us on to Hurricane Ophelia. It started to form a couple of weeks ago several hundred miles southwest of the Azores. This was on approximately the same latitude as Morocco and that's way further north than the zone where hurricanes usually gird their loins. Because it was so far north the sea temperature wasn't particularly warm, so it took longer than usual to develop its eye and that familiar circular cloud pattern. But eventually it was up to strength and off it set ... Doubtless the forecasters in Britain sat at their desks, looking at it with their chins in their hands, thinking about how their colleagues in the Caribbean and Florida were going to get all the action ? again. They'd be the ones standing in front of huge crashing waves while pointing at advertising hoardings as they tumbled down the streets.

But then something odd happened. Instead of heading west, Ophelia began to move northeast. This had happened before. In 2012 Hurricane Nadine did the same thing but then became trapped by a combination of witchcraft and who knows what and just sat there for nearly a month ? the fourth-longest-lasting Atlantic hurricane in recorded history.

Everyone expected Ophelia to do the same thing, but it didn't. It broke free and set a course directly for the British Isles. Well, you can imagine how exciting that must have been for our forecasters. "We have five days," one of them will have said, "before it hits."

In my mind, whooping alarms will have sounded and someone will have leapt to his feet and ordered no one in particular to "secure the perimeter". The weather services computer room will have looked like the bridge of a nuclear submarine at Defcon 1. Or is it 5? I never know which way round that goes.

Britain was going to get a hurricane and every weather reporter went into the television station's war room and half-inched every bit of combat kit they could find. They were going to be the lead item and they wanted to look good when Armageddon arrived.

They also wanted to be at ground zero, which they'd worked out would be on the west coast of Ireland. So off they went, dressed up like Kate Adie, and every half an hour they'd film updates for the rolling news channels.

Sadly they weren't getting quite what they'd wanted because the Irish, being Irish, had decided that instead of boarding up their windows and stocking up on bottles of water, they'd be better off at the pub. Some had even decided to go for a swim. So we were treated to the ridiculous spectacle of someone dressed like they were off to the South Pole reporting on scenes of intense jollity.

In a desperate attempt to make the locals frightened, a flock of birds was photographed flying overhead. "Look," screamed the reporters. "You've seen 2012, that disaster movie with John Cusack. The birds knew the end of the world was coming in that. And they know something's up here too."

Warnings were issued that wind speeds would hit 75mph but then someone decided 75mph didn't sound that bad. So it was converted to 120kph and that sounded much better.

Meanwhile, an amber warning was issued that, said the man in the anorak and storm boots, meant lives were in danger. Millions would be mangled. The UK and Ireland would be wiped out. This would be an extinction-level event.

But then disaster struck. As the hurricane began to near Ireland it decided to become a storm. And then a stiff breeze. But there was no way they'd admit to this because then they'd have to go home and return to looking at isobars. So they stuck it out, desperately finding narrow passageways that would amplify the wind and make their hair look messier, and puddles in which to stand while reporting.

Five hundred hacks raced to the scene of a fallen tree in Dublin. And Instagram was rammed with shots of upended wheelie bins. Three people died. And the roof of a school came off. "And it's heading your way, London."

Well, we waited and at three in the afternoon it looked as if the warnings were all going to come true. The sky went the weirdest colour I'd ever seen, a phenomenon caused, we were told, by Stiff Breeze Ophelia whipping up Saharan dust and smoke from forest fires in Portugal.

By four it was horror film-tastic. And strangely warm. And still. Too still. At any moment I expected a howling burst of energy to rip the Chiswick flyover from its mountings and send fire engines high into the ionosphere. But by five the sun came out again and that was that.

I'd like to say it was the biggest anticlimax in modern recorded history but that accolade still rests with the Great Storm of October 1987. Which was not quite severe enough to wake anyone up.
The Sun column is here and contains the I'd-never-have-guessed-it fact that one of Jeremy's favorite films in Lost in Translation.
 
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