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Thursday, January 21, 2021


“Can You Make This Thing Go Faster?” is Jeremy Clarkson at his very best and will not only appeal to his committed fans but will be enjoyed by all who appreciate unconventional humour. (Review by Keith Millar)

Jeremy Clarkson, writer, journalist, and broadcaster is probably best known as that crazy petrol head from the BBC motoring show, Top Gear, of which he was the undoubted star until his departure a few years ago after one too many altercations.

Opinionated, caustic, mischievous and irreverent, he is the absolute epitome of a grumpy old man. The only difference is that he is very funny and fabulously entertaining along with it. His version of the Top Gear show was so popular that it is still repeated ad infinitum on the BBC Brit TV channel.

Of course, he is not only a broadcaster he is also a prolific writer and has published a whole host of books.

Amongst them are several compilations of the articles he writes for his regular column in the British Sunday Times newspaper. Can you Make This Thing Go Faster? is his eighth book in this series.

At the outset it must be said that his utterings in this book are typically Clarkson. So it goes without saying that they are absolutely off the wall, wickedly funny and in many cases rather insightful.

There are no less than 77 articles in this compilation, all from 2018 and 2019.

Other than still making wacky motoring shows for Amazon TV along with his friends, Richard Hammond and James May, Clarkson has acquired a farm in Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds which he has named Diddly Squat farm - and these days he regards himself as a gentleman farmer.

The cover of this book shows him appropriately dressed as said gentleman farmer and sitting in front of a Masse Ferguson tractor. The title is self-explanatory as Clarkson is always trying to make any vehicle go faster.

However, despite the cover and the title, the book does not have much to do with his farming activities. Only a few of the articles discuss his farming experiences. Although there is apparently a TV series in the making about Clarkson’s farm.  That is something to look forward to.

The book rather discusses any subject that may be topical in a particular week. So issues like Brexit are recurring while the leader of the labour party, Jeremy Corbyn gets absolutely hammered and even Boris Johnson gets roasted.

Other subjects include The Downside of relaxing in a bath of crude oil; Why fishing is for people who hate their kids; Why saving the planet means soggy straws and no more children; Whether there are noise-cancelling headphones with the power to silence James May, and Scottish independence.

I found that sometimes the subject matter was a little too homegrown to fully understandable but the usual Clarkson exasperation and frustration - and his vintage left field wit - still makes it most enjoyable.

Can You Make This Thing Go Faster? is Jeremy Clarkson at his very best and will not only appeal to his committed fans but will be enjoyed by all who appreciate unconventional humour.

Can You Make This Thing Go Faster? is published by Michael Joseph (Penguin Random House) The ISBN is 978-0-241-46448-9 (Paperback). The recommended retail price is R350. – Keith Millar