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NBA, Racism and Jeremy Clarkson

Those of us who read Orwell’s 1984 with a libertarian ethos will always have the greatest concerns about the notion of any thought being a crime but in the last few days we have seen some of the most egregious examples of the notion of the thought police being both real and crushing the face of humanity under the jackboot  of political correctness.

The first example that  I will touch on only briefly was that of  the  owner of a NBA franchise making a genuinely racist remark that was overheard, recorded and then broadcast on social media, as a consequence he has been stripped of his franchise, and “fined” millions of dollars. All of this has been loudly applauded on social media but I can’t help thinking that those who have been cheering so loudly may soon  rue the day when  it became a social crime to say something “offensive”. The reaction has been a rather horrible example of mob rule and the negative potential  of social and mass  media.

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The next item in this litany of political correctness gone mad has been the bullying of Jeremy Clarkson for what can only be described as a slip of the tongue. Like Jezza I learned the eneny meany mineie mo rhyme in its original form where one caught the “nigger” by his toe and I also read the Noddy books as a child which had “golliwogs” as the the primary  naughty toys.  Such things learnt in childhood are the very last thing to go for the senile and for the the still cognitively functional such notions and well learned rhymes do not lend themselves to change without a great deal of conscious thought.  Thus I have no trouble believing that what Clarkson said while trying to deliver his spiel was genuinely unintended and even if it had been intentional I don’t believe that there was any “racist intent” here. None the less the scions of political correctness have leaped upon this off air faux pas with a great deal of malice and spite. Anyone would think that Clarkson was a Kiddie fiddler from the amount of rancour vindictiveness expressed on social media when ion fact he is just a middle aged petrol head who has a good line in witty chat about cars.

By all means lets get upset at deliberate and blatant racism but the quest for linguistic purity that  we are seeing in our age of social media is utterly obscene and if only the loudest voices calling for Clarkson’s sacking would think for just a minute they might just realise that what they are calling for will not make the tiniest bit of difference to the sum total of racism on the planet. All it will do is restrict free speech and honest discourse.

Cheers Comrades

Ah the sixties...

Ah the sixties…

Have a Stiggy day folks!

Cars, Oh how we can love them and how they can vex us at the same time, I’m happy to report that a new set of wheels now sits in the garage here at Chez Hall and since the transmission was fixed it is an entirely different and far nicer one to drive than it was on Monday when, Augusto first delivered it. I must say that I am so very pleased that Peter Roberts Honda from Toowoomba have been so efficient at sorting out the problem with the car. As I said to Gus in response to his copious and sincere apologies about the problem, its not there being no problems that matters when you buy a car (although that is most desirable) but the way that any problems are addressed once they become  evident that really matters .  Top marks to Peter Roberts Honda on this 😉

While we are on the subject of cars I could not fail to notice that a Judge in the UK has thrown out the major part of the case that Tesla motors is running against Top Gear:

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I have already poisoned the minds of my children so that they sneer and jeer when ever they see a Prius but I will be balancing that by explaining that our new chariot weighs in at just a little over 1100kg and uses around 7.8 litres of petrol for each 100km of travel which is pretty good in by any measure, it is a good example of what I have been saying here at the Sandpit for ages , namely that light weight and good aerodynamics, coupled with optimum use of interior space can make a petrol or diesel car  a far better proposition than an overweight hybrid or battery electric machine and with a 55 litre  tank you can bet that we will be travelling somewhat  further than 55 miles between fills.

Cheers indeed Comrades


Top Gear Australia, Gone! and hopefully soon forgotten!

I used to be a big fan of Top Gear, when it was on SBS, but since it was poached by channel 9 I have watched the show less and less despite the fact that it is on high rotation for repeat showings. As fro “Top Gear Australia” it was always something of an embarrassment and I for one will be glad that it has been consigned to the scrapheap of very bad motoring ideas:

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The show was just too bloody derivative of the original right down to having hosts who were meant to precisely copy the characteristics of May, Clarkson and Hammond. It was a disaster form the start that was so obviously trying to milk every last drop of viewer support from the franchise.

It will not be missed Comrades

Bob Brown, Juliar, Jezza, Lambos and Astons

Some mornings its a bit tough to decide just what to share with the Sandpit’s readers , I very much like Glen Milne’s piece about the hypocrisy of the Greens when it comes to the issue of political donations, I think that it a scandal that they are just so critical of anyone else getting donations but that they hope that no one notices the Brown (paper) bags of cash coming their way. Or there is the almost bizarre attempt by Juliar Gillard to do the old Petrol bait and switch in a  rather futile attempt to get the Australian public to believe that  her Carbon (dioxide) Tax won’t hurt average Aussies at the Bowser. I saw the beginning of the little piece of political distraction on the Insiders yesterday and I thought then that what Gillard was trying to do would not get much traction quite simply because no one is listening to Gillard any more, Oh we still hear what she says but why on earth should we believe her?

Nah, lets leave the unintentional humour of our political masters to one side for just a little while and consider something that really matters, Yep that’s right The Revvy Jezza has said something that is not PC and of course the whining classes are outraged!!!!

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As I see it while Clarkson certainly does use Lenny Henry’s skin colour to make his joke work but I can’t for the life of me see how it is in any way derisory of either Henry in particular or black people in general…

OK. That’s your lot for this morning I’m off to play with the PS3 before the kids get up as I’ve just got to the stage in “Need for speed, Undercover” where I have a Lambo and an Aston Martin and I’m keen to do some fast driving…
Cheers Comrades

I am Stigtacus Comrades!!!

I have been and remain a big fan of Top Gear, but of late my watching of the show has declined in the first instance its move to Channel nine has made watching the show rather painful as it now has so many ads that I just can’t stand it, the fact that they endlessly repeat the same old episodes does not help either. However all of the palaver about the Stig being revealed to be Ben Collins and the report that he has been sacked from the show while not unexpected but the reactions by  Clarkson and May has lowered them in my estimation.

Jeremy Clarkson has said the Stig is 'history' to the Top Gear team. Photograph: Owen Fisher Ltd/Rex Features

Clarkson said he felt “a bit hurt really”. “It was such a shock. It was horrible actually because I liked him and he came round to my house and had drinks and all that time he was writing a book,” he added, in a video interview published online today by Oxfordshire-based community news service WitneyTV.

“He’s just decided he’d rather be … put it this way he’s history as far as we are concerned. He’s sacked,” said Clarkson, who was interviewed at a charity auction at Chipping Norton Lido.

“I’ve spent the last three weeks doing nothing but trying work out what out what an earth to do instead. You may remember a film called Wall Street in which Gordon Gekko said greed was good and greed works. It doesn’t, if you’re watching this children, greed is bad,” he added.

The show has worked because the presenters Clarkson, May and Hammond have developed a ladish Everyman persona that makes each of the petrol head fans who love cars think that they too could be behind the wheel of the cars that are tested on the show. But there is no doubt that the Stig was the one with real cred when it came to driving fast cars with skill and precision but that fact was clearly not recognised properly as the show began to make Mega bucks for the BBC, especially in the marketing as I noticed in the number of “Stig” themed gifts in the shops for fathers day. It must have been eternally galling for Collins to see so much exploitation of the Stig character rise exponentially but not see a commensurate rise in payment form the BBC.

Ben Collins AKA the Stig

But what has disappointed me most is the rancour from Clarkson and May they are behaving as if the Stig is just some uppity serf who is trying to rise above his station by demanding what amounts to due and fair recognition that he is more than just a white suit and with a dark visored helmet. This is just the most petty sort of snobbery as far as I am concerned and after seven years I think that the mature thing to do would have been to admit that the conceit that the the Stig is other an other worldly superman is now an old joke an openly welcome Colllins to the team as himself and the show would be better and stronger for it.

However from the way that I expect things to go is that they will probably try to reincarnate the “Stig” with some other “tame racing driver” in the suit this time I don’t think that the public will allow the conceit to last seven years. This time I think that there are enough people like me who think that the person behind the visor deserves full and adequate recognition that the secret will not be kept for very long at all.
And then there is the fact that Ben Collins may well be offered a spot on a rival program like Fifth Gear or even his own show I know that Collins was the holder of the real Gravitas of the Top Gear concept and without him its just three middle aged hooligans being paid to show off in the cars that we all dream of driving giving a bit of flash chat doing regular stand up routines about cars.
We Love it but we also love seeing driving done very well indeed by some one who really knows how to take a car around a track on the perfect line. When the petrol fumes have melted away every petrol head  dreams of being the Stig (just a little) so If the BBC does decide to hang Collins out to dry for daring to formally out himself then we should be inspired by the slaves who  refused to give up Spartacus to the Romans and declare that we are with the Stig  by proclaiming that we are all Stigtacus and demanding that The BBC accept that the man behind the mask should not be crucified for his defiance.

You know that it is the right thing to do!

I am Stigtacus  Comrades!!!

Stig vs Stag

Are other petrol heads as disappointed with the way that Channel Nine has stuffed up Top Gear since they gurzumped SBS  for the Aussie rights to the show? the ads are more intrusive and well, there are more of them than before. On top of that they keep insisting that the episodes that they are showing are “new” when they have all been shown before on SBS. Frankly I can’t stand to watch it much these days. Getting the DVD’s is a better option.

I do however enjoy a good piss take and you can’t go past these two ads making the show a template for some clever marketing.

Very funny Comrades

Sunday Laughter

Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid

Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid

But I cannot see how making a car with two motors costs the same in terms of resources as making a car with one.

The nickel for the battery has to come from somewhere. Canada, usually. It has to be shipped to Japan, not on a sailing boat, I presume. And then it must be converted, not in a tree house, into a battery, and then that battery must be transported, not on an ox cart, to the Insight production plant in Suzuka. And then the finished car has to be shipped, not by Thor Heyerdahl, to Britain, where it can be transported, not by wind, to the home of a man with a beard who thinks he’s doing the world a favour.

Do yourself a favour and read Clarkson’s revue of the Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid

It is a real hoot!

Cheers Comrades

Telsa unplugged

It is no secret that I have a fairly low opinion of alternative motoring efforts and Jeremy Clarkson’s thoughts on the all electric Tesla Roadster certainly should give those starry eyed Greens a pause for thought.
The fact that driven hard this car could only manage 55 miles range shows just how impracticable this technology is and the 16 hour recharge time is utterly ludicrous.

The problem is, though, that really and honestly, the US-made Tesla works only at dinner parties. Tell someone you have one and in minutes you will be having sex. But as a device for moving you and your things around, it is about as much use as a bag of muddy spinach.

Yes, it is extremely fast. It’s all out of ideas at 125mph, but the speed it gets there is quite literally electrifying. For instance, 0 to 60 takes 3.9sec. This is because a characteristic of the electric motor, apart from the fact it’s the size of a grapefruit and has only one moving part, is massive torque.

And quietness. At speed, there’s a deal of tyre roar and plenty of wind noise from the ill-fitting soft top, but at a town-centre crawl it’s silent. Eerily so. Especially as you are behind a rev counter showing numbers that have no right to be there — 15,000, for example.

Through the corners things are less rosy. To minimise rolling resistance and therefore increase range, the wheels have no toe-in or camber. This affects the handling. So too does the sheer weight of the 6,831 laptop batteries, all of which have to be constantly cooled.

But slightly wonky handling is nothing compared with this car’s big problems. First of all, it costs £90,000. This means it is three times more than the Lotus Elise, on which it is loosely based, and 90,000 times more than it is actually worth.

Yes, that cost will come down when the Hollywood elite have all bought one and the factory can get into its stride. But paying £90,000 for such a thing now indicates that you believe in goblins and fairy stories about the end of the world.

Of course, it will not be expensive to run. Filling a normal Elise with petrol costs £40. Filling a Tesla with cheap-rate electricity costs just £3.50. And that’s enough to take you — let’s be fair — somewhere between 55 and 200 miles, depending on how you drive.

But if it’s running costs you are worried about, consider this. The £60,000 or so you save by buying an Elise would buy 15,000 gallons of fuel. Enough to take you round the world 20 times.

And there’s more. Filling an Elise takes two minutes. Filling a Tesla from a normal 13-amp plug takes about 16 hours. Fit a beefier three-phase supply to your house and you could complete the process in four (Tesla now says 3½). But do not, whatever you do, imagine that you could charge your car from a domestic wind turbine. That would take about 25 days.

Jeremy Clarkson

Now that petrol has dropped below 90 cents* per litre here I don’t intend to retire the Falcon any time soon
Cheers Comrades

* with my loyalty card discount of 4c a litre

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