Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Clarkson's Hints

'Who has not Jeremy Clarkson read?
Is any mortal so ill bred?'

This is exactly the sort of thing that a young Boswell would have penned in 1760 had Clarkson been active at the time. Clarkson's book, I Know You Got Soul, is a triumph. Presented as a series of fun facts about popular machinery, couched in the imitable style of Clarkson's curmudgeonly onscreen persona, the book is actually a tortuously spasmodic poem composed in free verse, meditating upon the nature of Western culture's obsession with technology, and those who worship such.

In some ways it builds upon the earlier "I Don't Believe It!": Richard Wilson's Book of Absurdities, the diction and form of which subverts contemporary fascination with the 'factoid', that ludicrously nugatory mode of information dissemination. Clarkson, however, greatly extends Wilson's essential thesis and more artfully drives his point home. But this will be obvious to those who have read the text, so I have no need to elaborate further. Those who have not read the text are ignorant and contemptible, and I would happily send a plastic dog turd to your homes to indicate my disgust but postage and packing costs would be prohibitive.

Concerning grail-clues, I believe the central one rests in Clarkson's unique contention that Zeppelins possess a soul, for I felt a tingly feeling when I read that particular section. Additionally, I instantly realised that I Know You Got Soul is an anagram of "Wings! Look out you!", wordplay that a writer of Clarkson's calibre would not fail to be aware of. This is clearly a warning from Clarkson to be wary of bird attacks should I eventually come to explore the skies for Zeppelins. I know from past experience that birds can be wicked, and I know C. S. Lewis portrayed certain birds as being in the employ of the White Witch, so Clarkson's advice is well founded. Birds can be sly and traitorous.

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