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What Could Possibly Go Wrong review

At risk of alienating half my readership, I rather enjoy Top Gear. In fact there was one moment in the infamous 2014 Christmas special that was arguably the funniest moment on TV over the festive viewing (certainly funnier than certain prime time 'comedies'). What's more, if it's possible to take a dispassionate view, Jeremy Clarkson is a good newsprint writer, so I look forward to his books that are made up of collections of his columns.

If I'm honest, the pure comment columns are better than the car reviews collected here. Clarkson is at his most excellent when allowed to flow unconstrained, without the limits of talking about a car. Admittedly even in a review he does manage usually to spend about half the word count talking about something else, but when we get to the actual vehicle, it all gets a bit samey, especially as the reader is faced with two years of reviews at a time.

Having said that, some of the non-car bits are definitely entertaining, and if you've only ever seen the TV programme, you'll be surprised how often he says positive things about ordinary cars. In fact, while accepting their appeal, he regularly emphasises that no one with an ounce of intelligence would ever buy a supercar, and generally comes down on the very sensible and practical options of a VW Golf for a smaller car and a Range Rover for the more lavish end of the market. As always (and as Clarkson detractors seem incapable of spotting), there is a stream of self-deprecation, admitting his own failings (while admittedly pointing out one or two others' problems as well).

So while I probably wouldn't recommend the book for anyone other than an ardent Clarkson fan because of the abundance of car reviews, it does remind me that his books of pure comment columns are well worth revisiting.

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