The Daily Record’s Amy Devine contacted me by email today – to remind me that when we worked together waaay back in 2003, I used to endlessly wind her up because her dad was a long distance lorry driver.
Amy wroter: “See big Jezzers Clarkson’s in the sh*t for repeating your lorry driver jokes on TV?! He he. Great minds think alike, eh?”
Needless to say I think it’s hilarious that Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is giving that cliched old myth of lorry driver’s as prostitute killers a fresh airing and impetus for a whole new audience.
Clarkson’s raison d’etre is to be a controversial, middle-aged, right-wing reactionary, playing to exactly this type of ludicrous opinion. A bit like Al Murray’s Pub Landlord with just a bit more blurring between reality and performance.
He does it brilliantly, has become a willing parody of himself and in the process helped elevate Top Gear from a cult show for petrolheads into a laddish, light entertainment masterclass and a much-loved national institution.
But currently everyone and anyone employed by the BBC to be controversial is being reined in thanks to a bout of misguided national moralising. Earlier in the year anyone tuning into the previous series of Top Gear would have expected comically outrageous rhetoric from the big fella.
He is, after all, an unreconstructed, chain-smoking, Sun column writing Alpha male who revels – nay glories – in the damage cars cause to the environment and thinks nothing of baiting redneck Americans for sharing his disapproval of “man love“. Hardly PC then.
It’s the same kind of collective madness which saw Russell Brand – a man whose entire reputaton seems built on his audience’s appetite to hear about his sexual antics – berated for boasting of, er, his sexual antics. That’s consenting shenanigans, mind you. With a young woman renowned for posing for raunchy pictures and videos when not singing with the Satanic Sluts.
Or maybe I got it wrong and actually him and Jonathan Ross were carpeted for irreverently poking fun at a man whose own comedic career was built almost entirely on ridiculing continental Europeans, particularly those of a Latin persuasion.
Clarkson must be laughing like a blocked drain that he – a man celebrated for his single-minded dedication to pricking anything remotely politically correct – is suddenly at the centre of such a pointless PC storm.
But there is one aspect of Clarkson’s behaviour which is totally inexcusable. Plagiarism. There is little doubt in my mind that he stole his entire “truckers kill hookers” schtick from the genius publication, Viz. I know I did:
This strip came from issue 123 (March 2003) and took me ages to find.
Oi! Clarkson! Next time you want to stoke up a media storm over inappropriate comments, make sure you credit your sources!