Back in the nineties I used to marvel at how sober suited American business on trips to the UK and Europe would immediately go “off piste,” when it came to the après. They drank, smoked and flirted way more than they would ever do at home. While that may be true of many men on business travel, as a group they simply seemed more enthusiastic than did any other because some said, “they got to be guys again.”
That is, at home under a suffocating thought police in the work place and tight domestic reins they could finally drink more than two beers and enjoy a packet of Malboro or a cigar without looking over their shoulder.
The suffocating thought control has of course, over the years, infected our own society and this perhaps explains some of the joy and popularity of Top Gear. Three middle aged blokes doing bloke things in a bloke manner without regard to any pronouncements from health or transport Quango’s. The audience, from schoolboys to middle aged men take solace in life beyond their own and its become Sunday night escapism for many, most of whom have only a passing knowledge of cars and beyond a lottery win, no chance of driving most of those on the show.
After the latest storm in a teacup, (an apology, a handshake and a beer is all that was required to calm things down here), the shows future is in question. The odd thing is, most of the 700,000 who have now signed the petition to reinstate Clarkson would be include the many who have been complaining about the stale format and scripted and contrived adventures on the show in recent years.
Who is to say this situation isn't just as contrived? Are we seriously asking is Clarkson a bloke or a Diva? After all, the publicity is global and they've got every media organisation by the nose. Viewing numbers will rocket when they have milked this and finally do the apology, handshake and beer thing.
Competition of course is encroaching. Jodie Kidd on the Classic Car Show is somewhat easier on the eye than Big J so a media frenzy over a minor tiff is a cheap way of maintaining global dominance. In their shoes, I’d sort out the issue today, get Clarkson back on board while telling him not to be a big girl Diva, (if indeed he was), and just for extra spice hire Sabine Schmitz making a team of four........... Three Men & A Babe. Job jobbed, move on. Oh and Jeremy, or Punchy Clarkson as we affectionately know you, if you have to practise stick to Piers; no one complains when you do that.