Authors: Jeremy Clarkson
Tags: #Great Britain, #English wit and humor, #Humor / General
AND ANOTHER THING…
Jeremy Clarkson began his writing career on the
. Since then he has written for the
Wolverhampton Express and Star
, all of the Associated Kent Newspapers, and
. Today he is the tallest person working in British television.
Jeremy Clarkson’s other books are
Clarkson’s Hot 100, Clarkson on Cars, Motorworld, Planet Dagenham, The World According to Clarkson
I Know You Got Soul
The World According to Clarkson
Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London
First published by Michael Joseph 2006
Published in Penguin Books 2007
Copyright © Jeremy Clarkson, 2006
All rights reserved.
The moral right of the author has been asserted
The contents of this book previously appeared in Jeremy Clarkson’s
Except in the United States ofAmerica, this book is sold subject
to the condition that it shall not, by way oftrade or otherwise, be lent,
re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s
prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in
which it is published and without a similar condition including this
condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser
To Andy Wilman
The contents of this book first appeared in Jeremy
column. Read more
about the world according to Clarkson every week
I suppose all of us were out and about before Christmas, pummelling our credit cards to within an inch of their lives. So, some time in the next week or so, we can expect a sour-faced government minister to come on television to explain that we are now borrowing more than we’re saving and that it has all got to stop.
In the mid-1970s, shortly after credit cards first emerged, we owed £32 million.
Now we’ve managed to get ourselves into debt to the tune of £50 billion, which works out at about £1,140 for every adult in the land.
As a result, the economy is teetering on the brink of collapse and little old ladies are having to sell their cats for medical experiments. And children are being lured into prostitution and up chimneys. It’s all too awful for words.
But there’s a darker side to credit cards. A sinister underbelly that is rarely talked about. I’m talking about the misery of not having the right one.
We’ve all been there. Dinner is over, the bill has arrived and everyone is chucking their plastic on to the saucer. It’s a sea of platinum and gold. One chap has produced something with a Wells Fargo stagecoach on the front. Another has come up with an HM Government procurement card, just like James Bond would have.
And then it’s your turn. And all you’ve got is your green NatWest Switch card.
Socially speaking, you are about to die. Or are you?
A couple of years ago I read an interview with some chap who’d got a fistful of cards in his pocket and claimed that the more shiny examples, specifically the much-coveted black American Express, gave him ‘certain privileges’.
Obviously, I had to have one. So I lied about my salary, handed over 650 bleeding quid, and there it was, in a leatherette box, presented like a fine Tiffany earring. My very own passport to the high life.
A few weeks later I was flying economy class to some godforsaken hell hole – I forget where – and found myself sitting in one of those oyster bars at Heathrow, fielding questions from men in nylon trousers about Volkswagen diesels. After a while I remembered the black ‘key’ in my wallet and recalled a bit in the booklet that said it opened the door to airline lounges around the world.
So, I plodded over to the club class lounge with my cattle class boarding ticket.
‘I’m afraid not,’ said the woman cheerfully.
‘Aha,’ I countered, ‘but I have a black American Express card which affords me certain privileges.’
It didn’t. So I went back to the diesel men at the oyster bar.
A month after that I was checking in at Blakes Hotel in Amsterdam when, again, I remembered the card and thought: ‘I wonder if this will get me a room upgrade.’
Joy of joys, it did. All I had to do was check into one of the emperor suites at £1 trillion a night and I would
be automatically upgraded to a maharajah suite, with the enlarged minibar, at no extra cost. So, off to the economy broom cupboard I went.
As the months went by, I kept producing the jet-set, jet-black Amex and the result was pretty much always the same. ‘Non.’… ‘Nein.’ And in provincial Britain: ‘What the f***’s that?’
Actually, I’m being unfair. It wasn’t only provincial Britain that was mystified.
Pretty well everywhere east of New York and west of Los Angeles doesn’t take Amex, no matter what colour the card is. Some say this is because Amex charges too much.
Others because the Americans are infidel dogs.
Eventually, I found a fellow customer and asked what she saw in it. ‘Oh,’ she said, tossing a mane of pricey hair backwards, ‘it’s marvellous. Only the other day I needed 24 variegates and my local florist didn’t have them in stock. So I called the Amex helpline number and they got them for me.’
Great. But I have never ever felt a need to fill the house with variegates. More worryingly, I seldom have the courage to produce the black plastic on those rare occasions when I find myself dining in a restaurant that accepts it. Because what message would I be giving out?
When you produce a black Amex, what you are saying is that you earn £1 million a year. Is the waiter really going to be impressed? And what about your friends? They either earn a million too, in which case so what, or they don’t, in which case they won’t be your friends for much longer.
Having a black Amex is not like having a big house. That’s useful. And it’s not like having a big car. That’s more comfortable than a smaller one. The card exists, solely, to impress. It has no other function.
If I were the sort of person who had clients, then maybe this would be useful. But a word of warning on that front. I lied about my salary to get one, so who’s to say that the sweating golfer who whipped one out over dinner last night didn’t lie, too. A. A. Gill has one, for God’s sake.
As a result, I shall be getting rid of it. This will help Britain’s economy in a small way. But more importantly, it will do wonders for my self-esteem.
Sunday 11 January 2004
Given the American military’s dreadful reputation for so-called friendly fire incidents, many people will not have been surprised last week when it was revealed that one of its F-15 jets had dropped a bomb on Yorkshire.
I wasn’t surprised either, but for a different reason. You see, a few years ago, when I was flying an F-15, I inadvertently dropped a bomb on North Carolina.
I was making one of those
Killer Death Extreme Machine
programmes which called for me to go very fast in a selection of different vehicles. So it was obvious I should hitch a ride in the fastest and toughest of America’s airborne armoury. The Strike Eagle. The unshootdownable F-15E.