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Through Biased Eyes: Top Gear

Her's the lowdown on cars. They're pretty, they get you from point A to point B quickly, with minimal physical effort on your part, and owning an Aston Martin can seriously increase face value. Car chases are fun to watch because of the crashes, not the cars, and NFS involves racing. Fast. As can clearly be seen, the actual vehicles themselves don't present much to 'ooh' and 'aah' over.

Forgive the skepticism. Road Rash doesn't do much for the love of motor vehicles, just racing. Comparing one's love for a car with his love for his child also seems a bit excessive. A good car isn't cheap, you know. It's high maintenance material. It's practically like a girlfriend: demands attention, drains your wallet and your bank account, requires expensive accessories and daily doses of preening, makes you look good when you stand next to it… the only thing missing is the incessant nagging.

Oh. Well, that makes a lot more sense.

Anyway, ignoring the ranting and given all of the above, a TV show about cars just sounds lame. Unless you're a die-hard motor geek, you've got better things to waste your time on, no matter what you hear about this thing called Top Gear. If you're one of those nodding along with the expressed sentiments, yours truly apologises in advance for double-crossing you.

Because yours truly has been converted.

Turns out Top Gear is not swimming with scantily clothed women and too many technical terms to keep track of. It makes sense. Can you believe it? It makes sense! To someone who barely knows what a carburetor does!

Granted, the hosts are British and not quite easy on the eyes, but they're funny. In that lame way your dad is sometimes funny, and in that lame way your guy best friend is sometimes funny, and in that weird way your Facebook stalker is funny. Unfortunately, all of that adds up to more 'lame' than 'funny', but we're laughing at lame everyday, so what the hell. They make up for it by showing us pretty cars and hilarious test drives. There are reasons you're not supposed to speed an average, everyday family car through turns on a racetrack. Said reasons involve the danger of running over cameramen supposedly standing at a safe distance twenty yards away from the track and losing sight of which way is left. Or up. Or underwater.

Personally, this writer failed to see why revealing the identity of The Stig was such a big deal, although this could be courtesy of debuting with season 13. On the other hand, watching Top Gear as it would have been in 1940 was pretty entertaining. Random obvious fact: even the fastest car in the world has to follow speed limits. Which is why steam trains are awesome. Did you know that unless it busts a water line, a steam train (carriages and all) is perfectly capable of winning a race against the fastest car in the world and the fastest bike in the world?

Fun fact: despite powering through a whole season of Top Gear in the space of three days, this author still couldn't tell you the function of a carburetor. And in case you haven't guessed yet, 'carburetor' is still one of the very few technical terms yours truly is certain is associated with cars and motor vehicles in general. Maybe.

Let's just re-establish the fact that road trips are way awesome and leave it at that.

To many people's distress, this author still ascertains how good a car is by how nice it looks and how fast it can go. The rest is lost in the shininess of the Aston Martin DB9. Which is what could happen to you too, so it's not necessarily true that you'll turn into a car junkie after watching Top Gear. But of all the shows in the world, this really is something almost anyone can watch.

Oh, just go download it already. You know you want to.

By Professor Spork


BOOK REVIEW

The World According to Clarkson

You are no car fan if you don't know who Jeremy Clarkson is. With his awesome attitude and brilliant sense of humour, Clarkson hosts Top Gear, which is pretty much the best television show ever. Apart from cruising around the world in our dream cars, he also wrote quite a few books and The World According to Clarkson is one of the earlier ones. In a sense though, this is not exactly a 'book', because this is a collection of his columns published in The Sunday Times. The World According to Clarkson is the first of the series by the same name.

The book discusses Jeremy's experiences of the world and his views on everything. From office Christmas parties to donkey visa, from the demise of the Concorde to his love of mechanics, this book is versatile to say the least. The book doesn't spare anyone; it mocks America for wars, the Italians for being themselves, the British for not inventing enough, and stupid people for 'having the IQ of a daffodil'.

With Jeremy, there is no neutral ground. You either hate him or love him. Even if you don't agree with him, his attitude and intelligence at least makes you like his work. The book is an easy read, but don't let that fool you, it's absolutely hilarious. Only a few books can claim to be laugh-out-loud funny these days, and this certainly is one of them. Jeremy Clarkson's opinionated bravery and eloquence shines through and not a single page is remotely uninteresting. Even though he writes about his own experiences with the world in general, mocking a few here and there, this book is strangely profound.

Whether you have heard of Jeremy Clarkson or not; whether you like him or not, Clarkson's wry witticism and fearlessness will make you like this book. A great read.

By Orin

 
 

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