How hard can it be? is the fourth collection of musings by Jeremy Clarkson, the bête noir of the ‘eco-mentalists’, ‘vegetablists’, the Guardian, media luvvies and the Morris Marina Owners’ Club.
And the reason I’ve already read is because they first appeared in Clarkson’s Sunday Times column in 2008 and 2009.
I imagine no more than 50% of you readers bothered to click the ‘continue reading’ link because there are only half measures with Clarkson. He is adored and abhorred in equal measure. He is either a pompous reactionary prig or the best prime minister we never had, depending on your take on life.
Me? I just find him endlessly entertaining and refreshingly un-pc in this po faced modern world and I can’t understand why some people take his views so seriously when Clarkson plainly doesn’t take himself seriously at all.
He is certainly very good at finding lateral solutions to life’s irritations and asks some fundamental questions, such as:
- Can you be taken seriously as a global revolutionary if you’re sporting a combover?
- Why are toys packaged in a steel-hard plastic mould that blunts your scissors and severs all your fingers? (Not to mention the plastic tie strips)
- What would happen if we turned the internet off?
- Should we pledge allegiance to HP Sauce as our oath of national loyalty?
But the reason I’m writing this review now is because yesterday, by happy coincidence, I read his article from 6 July 2008 on the subject of Wimbledon after Andy Murray came back from two sets down to beat Richard Gasquet. Of course, the two met again at SW19 and not much has changed. Here’s Clarkson from 2008:
As I sat watching the revolting spectacle on television, I was — and this doesn’t happen often — ashamed to be middle-class and English. Because there they were, 15,000 phlebitis-ridden Surrey women in their size 16 summer frocks, furiously banging their bingo wings together every time that poor Frenchie made a mistake. And raising what’s left of the roof every time Murray got a point.
I’m afraid I share his opinion of the inanity of the Centre Court crowd. We Brits like our tennis, or rather we like it for two weeks a year and it isn’t called tennis, it’s called Wimbledon. For the rest of the year we mostly couldn’t give a stuff, but the crowd behaviour is increasingly irritating.
Like the mindless hand-clapping every time a player questions a line call. What’s that all about? And the booing when someone has to throw back the ball they caught off a shanked return of serve. Why would they want/expect to keep it?
And then there are the radio commentators. They’re all so jolly and smug and I can understand why. They only work two weeks a year get free seats and complimentary strawberries and cream and spend most of their time working out who is sitting next to who in the Royal Box and musing on how you get invited there.
Several precious Radio Five minutes were spent yesterday bemoaning the fact that Kate Middleton and His Male-Pattern Baldness were forced to sit through the Murray-Gasquet match without food or drink because they’re not allowed to eat or drink in public. It would reveal their inability to peel a banana or aim a cup at their face I suppose.
Wimbledon was much more entertaining when the players had wooden rackets and a personality and you actually knew who they were. Now the Williams sisters have headed for the exit, I haven’t a clue who the others are. About the only thing that passes for personality is an ability to scream every time they hit the ball, especially Sharapova’s that has turned into a weird whinnying.
It’s all become very irritating, but at least we have the witty banter from the crowd: “C’mon Tim!”