Jeremy Clarkson

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Jeremy Clarkson (born 11 April 1960) is an English broadcaster and journalist who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear.

Quotes[edit]

America may have given the world the space shuttle and, er, condensed milk, but behind the veneer of civilisation most Americans barely have the brains to walk on their back legs.
Hurricane Katrina didn't just knock a few bricks from the fabric of a levee. More importantly, it knocked a few bricks also from the notion that America is a shining beacon of hope for a troubled world.
  • In the last couple of weeks everyone has been asking how on earth the greatest and most powerful nation on earth could be so crippled by a bit of wind and rain.
    The rest of the world has natural disasters without the whole of society falling to pieces. So why is it different in America?
    Well, if you stop and think about it, the answer is obvious.
    America may have given the world the space shuttle and, er, condensed milk, but behind the veneer of civilisation most Americans barely have the brains to walk on their back legs.
    • "Flood that released America's demons", The Sun, September 10, 2005
  • Hurricane Katrina didn't just knock a few bricks from the fabric of a levee. More importantly, it knocked a few bricks also from the notion that America is a shining beacon of hope for a troubled world.
    It isn't. It's a house of straw. With no education to glue that straw together.
    • "Flood that released America's demons", The Sun, September 10, 2005
  • The engine sounds like Victorian plumbing — it looks like Victorian plumbing as well, to be honest.
    • The Times March 22, 2007, reviewing the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 [1]
  • Then there’s the styling. Or rather, there isn’t. Any attempt to give these cars a tapering roofline or a curved rear end is wasteful of precious capacity, which means all of them look exactly – and I mean exactly – like chest freezers. And because they have such tiny wheels they actually look like chest freezers on casters. And that in turn means they look absurd.
    • Sunday Times June 8, 2008, reviewing the Nissan GT-R [2]
  • It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.
    • Sunday Times May 17, 2009, reviewing the Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid [3]
  • Nothing can prepare you for the yawning chasm of time that passes in Canada before the healthcare system actually does any healthcare.
    • Sunday Times August 30, 2009 [4]
  • Like many men, I can never find anything that I’m looking for, even when I’m actually looking at it. In a fridge, I think milk is actually invisible to the male eye. And so, it turns out, are dirty great holes in the fence.
    • Sunday Times September 6, 2009 [5]
  • I think it’s a good idea to tie Peter Mandelson to a van. Such an act would be cruel and barbaric and inhuman. But it would at least cheer everyone up a bit.
    • Sunday Times November 8, 2009 [6]
  • The newest Ferrari of them all, the 458, the Italia. The GT3 was good, but nowhen near as good as this... almost nothing on Earth is as good as this... Set that something I've just told, involving Cameron Diaz... and some honey... then it comes that even that isn't as good as this.
    • Jeremy Clarkson - The Italian Job
  • We are an endangered species, you and me. We fans of speed, we devotees of power, we lovers of performance and beauty, and mechanical soul. We dare not speak of cams or cranks or double wishbones. We fear for our love of roaring V8s and the smell of burnt rubber. We're told to think of the economy, the environment, and not excitement and enjoyment. In an age of hybrid-this and automatic-that, we are the odd ones out. Yet there is hope. There is a haven. A place that celebrates speed, grip, gears, and fun. And it's all here for you to explore.
    • Voice-over introduction to Forza Motorsport 4 (2011)
  • Cars. To some, they're just transport. A convenient alternative to highly-flammable dirigibles or walking. But you- you understand that cars are far more than this. They are our history. They mark the moments by which we define decades. Cars are some of the most intoxicating, most beautiful things ever forged by mankind. They represent the glory of technology, the essence of freedom, and have been the weapons in some of our most gripping sporting battles. They grip us, they cheer us on, they hold us up as heroes. So this is about the love of all things four-wheeled and fast. This is a shrine to power, to speed, to metal made beautiful. This is where dreams are driven. Welcome to Forza.
    • Voice-over introduction to Forza Motorsport 5 (2013)
Cars are some of the most intoxicating, most beautiful things ever forged by mankind.

Clarkson on Cars (1996)[edit]

  • I was never allowed to play with guns when I was a child. While various friends were able to scamper around the woods with their Johnny Sevens, I had to make do with an old twig. And convincing an eight-year-old he was dead simply because I'd pointed a piece of larch his way was not quite as easy as you might imagine.
    • p. 52
  • The first thing that will strike you as odd in Japan is how polite everyone is. Quite apart from the neverending bowing, they have obsequiousness down to an art that even the Chinese haven't mastered.
    • p. 58
  • Funnily enough, Daihatsu are one of the better interior stylists. God knows how they do it.
    • p. 62

Born to be Riled (1999)[edit]

  • The Alfa Romeo GTV6 had the worst gearbox I've ever encountered, and the worst driving position and the worst record for reliability. Nevertheless, I bought one. I knew it was a hopeless basket case but I'd become smitten by the noise its engine made: a rumble in the jungle at low revs and almost an eerie howl as it neared the red line. I would put up with the massive bouts of truculence, the deep discomfort and the absurdly heavy steering because no car before, or since, has ever made such a glorious sound. It was music to the enthusiast's ears, like a cross between 'Ode to Joy' and 'Nessun Dorma'.
    • p. 6
  • You really could call the new TVR Cerbera heavy metal were it not fashioned from plastic. The best way to experience this car is to be about seven miles away. As it comes toward you, it's like being in a horror movie. The monster is getting closer. The Thing. The Blob. Terror has no shape. But God, what a noise.
    • p. 6
  • Then there's power. There was a time when people cooed over Ferraris that developed 200 horsepower, whereas today 2.0 litre Escorts can manage that. It's almost impossible to buy a car that won't do a hundred. (If you really want one, various Mercedes diesels make a pretty good stab at it.) Then there's the environment. The Volkswagen Beetle could kill a rain forest at 400 paces whereas today's Golf trundles around with tulips coming out of its exhaust. The gas coming out of a Sab is actually cleaner than the air that went in. That's true, that is.
    • p. 21
  • The greatest car ever should get out there and do the job, but it should do more besides, which is why I have to say it's the Ferrari 355. This car is as much a piece of sculpture as a lump of engineering. You could derive as much pleasure from putting it in your living room, where the piano used to be, and looking at it as you could from going for a drive.
    • p. 23
  • There's one other thing too. No car can truly be great unless it's a Ferrari.
    • p. 23
There's one other thing too. No car can truly be great unless it's a Ferrari.
  • Speed in itself is not exciting. As you sit in a Boeing, are you thrilled that it's ripping up the sky with a 500mph orgy of big numbers? No, and it's the same deal in a straight line in a straight road in a car. Two hundred mph. So what. What matters is acceleration and handling, an ability to take corners as though they're not there, and this is why the Ferrari F50 has been so well received by those who know. It's light, and simple, like a choux pastry in a world full of suet pudding.
    • 32
  • Fast, truly exciting cars are being killed off so that pretty soon the officers will all be gone, leaving us with a field full of enlisted men.
    • p. 34
  • When I see that there have been 3.6 million examples of road rage in the last year, I say to myself that there must have been 3.6 million examples of bad, inattentive or selfish driving.
    • p. 50

The Victoria Cross: For Valour (2003)[edit]

  • It is almost impossible to win a VC. In the hundred-and-fifty years since it was created, the number of British and Commonwealth troops who've seen action is in the tens of millions, but only 1,351 of them have been awarded the Victoria Cross. The chances of surviving a VC action are just one in ten, but if you do survive, the medal can never be taken away from you. You can go to the gallows wearing it. And no matter how many letters you have after your name, VC always comes first.
  • First off, the whole point of airborne troops is surprise: you don't know they're coming until they're there. But because Cain arrived 24 hours after the first wave, the surprise was gone. And to make matters worse, the landing zone was some eight miles from the bridge. So, thanks to some incompetent planning by the top brass in England, the Germans knew that Cain and his men were coming, they knew where he landed, they knew where he was going, and they had the wherewithal to do something about it.
  • You know, we've a rather warped sense of what constitutes bravery these days. I mean, even David Beckham is called a hero for scoring a penalty. But when you look at VC winners and hear their stories... well, enough said.

I Know You Got Soul (2004)[edit]

  • In order for a car to have personality, an X factor, the company that makes it must be able to take guidance and inspiration from one man, the man who started the company in the first place. This did not happen with the car outside my window, which was undoubtedly built in a jungle clearing by a company that makes cars to make money. No one began Proton or Hyundai or Daewoo because they harboured a dream of making something extraordinary or special. They are just enormous engineering and construction conglomerates that have been told by their respective governments to make cars so that the locals can get off their oxen and get modern.
    • Rolls-Royce, p. 18
  • We see the same sort of thing in Japan. There was never a Mr. Toyota who, since he was a small boy, yearned for the day when he could build a small family hatchback that never broke down. And you can scour the history books until the sky turns green but you'll not find any mention of a young Timmy Datsun who stayed up until ten o'clock, even on school nights, devising his plan for a car with two milometers. Subarus are made by a romantic-sounding outfit called Fuji Heavy Industries. At night I bet the chairman sometimes forgets he has a car division. It'll just be another entry in his plofit and ross accounts. The only Japanese cars with even a trace of humanity are Hondas, and there's a very good reason for that. There was a Mr. Honda and he did have a vision when he was a small boy. Even today that vision still steers the engineers, and as a result there's a very definite correlation between the S2000 sports cars and those early motorbikes. It's solely because of this link with the past that I like Hondas more than any other Japanese cars.
    • Rolls-Royce, p. 18
  • There is, however, one car company that has never lost sight of its role in the marketplace. Rolls-Royce. Sir Henry Royce, who founded the company back in 1904, really was a one-man quote machine. "Strive for perfection in everything you do." "Accept nothing as nearly right or good enough." "The quality remains long after the price is forgotten." "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it."
    • Rolls-Royce, p. 19
  • You get the picture. And so did BMW. When they bought the company they could have fitted a new body to one of their 7 Series. That's what Mercedes did to create the Maybach. But instead of wandering around the BMW spare-parts division saying, "What do we want?" the engineers fired up their computers and asked, "What do we need?". Plainly they looked at what Henry Royce and Charles Rolls were trying to achieve a hundred years ago, and thought, "Zis is vot ve must do also." And as a result the Rolls-Royce Phantom is quite simply the best car in the world.
    • Rolls-Royce, p. 24
The Rolls-Royce Phantom is quite simply the best car in the world.
  • It's no more daunting in there than in a Georgian drawing room. You sit on a supremely comfortable chair- it'd be even better if it were a wingback, I'm surprised it's not- overlooking acres of leather and wood. You're never tempted, as you are in a Maybach, to push a button just to find out what it does. And then having to spend the rest of the journey trying to find which button undoes whatever the first button did. This makes for a hugely relaxing drive. So relaxing, in fact, that you sometimes forget that you're in a car. I did.
    • Rolls-Royce, p. 25
  • I have had long soaks in the bath that were more stressful. I have been on tropical beaches that were more noisy. After a while I became so detached from reality that I put on my indicator and tried to overtake the car in front. Sounds fine except for one thing. I was already in the outside lane. I came within an inch of hitting the central crash barrier and to this day I wonder what the chap in the car behind was thinking when he saw a three-ton, £250,000 Rolls-Royce indicate, to show the driver wasn't asleep, and then drive off the road.
    • Rolls-Royce, p. 25
  • The Falcon was forever going wrong. Time and again Han and his rebel cohorts would have to bang on the dashboard with their fists to get some wayward system working. And this too helped give the ship a flawed, almost human quality. This is something I look for in all machines...
  • Small boys everywhere know that in a fight between Superman, James Bond and the Terminator, James Bond would win. Well, it's the same story in Star Wars. In a fight between the Enterprise, Stingray, Thunderbird 2 and the Millennium Falcon, the Falcon would reign supreme. It just would. The end.
  • The Graf Zeppelin was the mother of all airships, 787 feet long and 115 feet high. Imagine Canary Wharf, on its side, floating over your head.
  • The Flying Scotsman was the first train, ever, to do 100 MPH. 147 tons doing the ton.
  • Francis Bacon once said there is no beauty that hath not some strangeness to its proportion. Cameron Diaz proves that- she's got a mouth like a slice of watermelon. But the Flying Scotsman proves it to be wrong. There is no strangeness at all. He is exquisite to behold, partly because he is so nicely balanced and partly because he seems to shout "I AM VERY POWERFUL'.
  • Over the years the Flying Scotsman has travelled the world and been owned by pretty well everyone except my wife, and possibly Kate Moss. As I write he's for sale again, for a not inconsiderable 2.5 million Pounds. That may seem a lot for something that no longer has a purpose, even if he is Britain's engineering heritage. But he is not simply a machine. Like an Aston Martin DB7 or an F-16 fighter, he works as an art form too, a piece of sculpture. So what if you can't go anywhere in him anymore. Put him in your garden and spend your days just looking at him.
  • The job of dedicated missile boats is to pootle about, like mice in carpet slippers, waiting for an order to destroy an entire continent.
  • When the Argentine light cruiser Belgrano was hit by two torpedoes from the snout of Conqueror, a British hunter-killer, the enemy escort ships immediately gave chase. They were out of ideas after just five miles. The Royal Navy vessel had approached unseen, fired unseen, and simply disappeared.
  • Some say that no machine conceived to kill could ever be called beautiful. Magnificent, maybe, and awesome perhaps. But not beautiful. The thing is though that in the battleship's short life of just 90 years it turned out to be a less effective killing machine than amost any other weapon of war. All they did was steam around the oceans, making the people who paid for them feel good.
  • Technically, the Hurricane might have been able to win the Battle of Britain on its own. But for keeping up the spirits of the people on the ground while running rings round anything the Third Reich could throw at it? That was the job of the Spitfire, a symbol of British brilliance, a symbol of hope.
The fact is simple. The Spitfire looked good. It was every bit as dashing as the young men who flew it, and in flight it was as graceful as any bird. Its progress through the sky seemed effortless, as though it was simply riding the breeze and its Merlin engine was only there to provide a suitable soundtrack.
  • The fact is simple. The Spitfire looked good. It was every bit as dashing as the young men who flew it, and in flight it was as graceful as any bird. Its progress through the sky seemed effortless, as though it was simply riding the breeze and its Merlin engine was only there to provide a suitable soundtrack. You had Mr. Churchill on the radio explaining that we'd never surrender, and above you had the Spitfire, and you couldn't help thinking: Yes, we can win this thing. Possibly, just possibly, the Spitfire is the greatest machine ever made.
    • Spitfire, p. 276
You had Mr. Churchill on the radio explaining that we'd never surrender, and above you had the Spitfire, and you couldn't help thinking: Yes, we can win this thing.
Possibly, just possibly, the Spitfire is the greatest machine ever made.

The World According to Clarkson (2005)[edit]

The fox is not a little orange puppy dog with doe eyes and a waggly tail. It's a disease-ridden wolf with the morals of a psychopath and the teeth of a great white shark.
  • Let's be perfectly clear, shall we. The fox is not a little orange puppy dog with doe eyes and a waggly tail. It's a disease-ridden wolf with the morals of a psychopath and the teeth of a great white shark.
    • A Murderous Fox Has Made Me Shoot David Beckham, p. 161
  • I simply don't understand why the Nobel academy gave him a peace prize or why Charlie Dimmock and Alan Titchmarsh gave him a new garden. And I don't see why he should be given a statue in Trafalgar Square, either. If we're after someone who stands up for the oppressed, what about Jesus? I feel fairly sure he never blew up a train.
    • Mandela Just Doesn't Deserve His Pedestal, p. 239
  • Italy's youngsters complain, apparently, about having to live at home until they are 72 but that's because they spend all their money on suits and coffee and Alfa Romeos rather than mortgages.
    • The Unhappiest People on Earth? You'd never guess, p. 259

And Another Thing: The World According to Clarkson Volume Two (2006)[edit]

  • I'd had two days of training and figured it would be like playing on a PlayStation. And so it is. But can you imagine what it would be like trying to operate a PlayStation while inside a tumble dryer? Because that's what it's like trying to operate a remote-control camera in an F-15. More realistically, have your children tried to play on their Game Boys while being driven in the back of a car? And that's at 60mph in a vaguely straight line.
    • p. 6

For Crying Out Loud! The World According to Clarkson Volume Three (2008)[edit]

  • Can we be honest for a moment. You didn't have a good Christmas, did you? Your turkey was too dry, your kids spent all day glued to their internets, and you didn't bother watching the Big Christmas Film because you've owned it for years on DVD. What you should have had to liven things up was my mother. She arrived at my house with a steely resolve that the Christmas holidays would be exactly like the Christmas holidays she enjoyed when she was a child. Only without the diphtheria or the bombing raids.
    • p. 1
  • Tourists do not come here for our weather, or for the quality of our provincial cooking. Nor are they attracted by the exceptional value of our hotels, our beaches, or Birmingham. I've never met an American or a Japanese person who has said: "I want to come to Britain so I can buy an Arabic newspaper from a Bengali store where the Cashier speaks Polish."
    • p. 17
  • What foreigners like most about Britain is not multiculturalism or tolerance or any of that new Labour nonsense. No, what they like is our history. Shakespeare. Blenheim Palace. Soldiers in preposterous hats who don't move. Yes, they may go and see some dead dogs in a modern art gallery but that's only because they've spent the morning on top of a sightseeing bus and they're freezing.
    • p. 17
  • William Shakespeare has probably done more to damage the cultural worth of Britain than anyone else in the whole of human history. After endlessly having to study his plays on the school curriculum, generations of children have ventured into adulthood convinced that all literature is coma-inducingly dreary. I don't blame them. Portia's speech about the 'gentle rain' is in no way as stimulating as 10 minutes of Grand Theft Auto. I believe that Shakespeare, along with Milton, Donne and Chaucer, has a place in modern Britain. And that place is deep in the bowels of the British Library, where he can be studied by hardcore language students.
    • p. 21

How Hard Can It Be? The World According to Clarkson Volume 4 (2010)[edit]

  • I've argued time and again that the old trade unionists and CND lesbians didn't go away. They just morphed into environmentalists. The red's become green but the goals remain the same. And there's no better way of achieving those goals than turning the lights out and therefore winding the clock back to the Stone Age. Only when we're all eating leaves under a hammer and sickle will they be happy.

Top Gear[edit]

Clarkson: We should do a car that's quintessentially German
Hammond:What, replace the spoons with little sausages?
Clarkson: No, no. Give it traffic indicators that go like that. (gives Nazi salutes) A SatNav that only goes to Poland. Und ein fanbelt zat vil last for a thousand years! [7]
  • [on the Aston Martin DB7 sat-nav] Then there's the satellite navigation system which is the most complicated sat-nav system in the world. And the wrongest. Always wants to take you to Bedford. Even if you want to go to Manchester, it wants to go to Bedford, that's all it knows. You want to go somewhere? "Sure, I'll take you to Bedford."
  • Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day.

Quotes about Jeremy Clarkson[edit]

  • Jeremy Clarkson made his name presenting a poky motoring programme on BBC2 called Top Gear. He left to forge a career in other directions but made a complete hash of everything and ended up back on Top Gear again. He lives with his wife, Francie, and three children in Oxfordshire. Despite this, he has a clean driving license.
    • About the Author, Clarkson on Cars (1996)

External links[edit]

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