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The Laz Word... on Jeremy Clarkson

Larry Neild and a row taken out of all proportion

Written by . Published on February 23rd 2015.

The Laz Word... on Jeremy Clarkson

If ever there was a time for Liverpool to engage a low gear and park an issue it’s the blown-up-out of-all proportion spat with Top Gear’s top man Jeremy Clarkson.

He came, he saw, he ate (possibly) and he conquered, and his motor mouth will go into overdrive in a town or city near you sometime soon.

Mayor Joe Anderson has now jumped on the Clarkson bandwagon, calling the TV presenter an oaf and a buffoon and threatening to buttonhole his boss, Peter Salmon, about it. The BBC top man is currently in Liverpool and hosting an international sales bonanza for BBC Worldwide.

'Buffoon': Joe Anderson says he will be having words with Clarkson's boss'Buffoon': Joe Anderson
says he will be having
words with Clarkson's boss
And that’s the point.  BBC Worldwide has been coming and seeing for several years now and has once again picked Liverpool for the annual global showcase where it sets out its stall. Programme buyers from every continent are converging on the BT Convention Centre this week to see what Auntie B has on offer.

The story starts – and possibly should have ended there and then - with The Sunday Times and a column written by Jeremy Clarkson as he prepared to visit Newcastle. It reflected on his recent Top Gear Road Show event at the Echo Arena but was mostly about the stark differences between the north and south, metered with some self depracation.

Yes, he pompously took the St Michael out of a couple of things that happened in Liverpool, a waitress who had never heard of kippers, a rubbish Caesar salad and the failure to be served a bottle of “lah-di-dah” Whispering Angel rose. But that’s what he does.

I defy anybody to read Clarkson’s column and not hear his actual voice reciting it. I defy any of those same people with a sense of humour (which we Liverpudlians are supposed to be famed for) to take serious offence.

But most of you probably won't have the opportunity to read what it actually said, just the reports of what it said. The ST is not the big seller it once was, and, now hidden behind a paywall, has but a select audience prepared to take out a subscription to access its online content.

In the second paragraph of Clarkson’s dispatch from the waterfront he writes: “…I went to Liverpool last weekend and it was all very agreeable. There was a lot of post-modern urban-chic architecture and many museums, hotels and waterfront cafes.”

It doesn’t help when the report of the column-behind-the-paywall is selective to over-emphasise what is perceived to be a guerilla attack on the city and everyone in it.

Writers and comedians – even some of our own – have often used jokes about the Pool, and there are occasions when an official response is understandable, though very rarely necessary.

Nobody reading Clarkson’s piece will be ringing the Liverpool Tourism Bureau to cancel their summer hols on the banks of the Mersey, the people at the arena won’t be dreading, with bated breath, the calling off of major conferences.

Nevertheless,  some might wonder, as the accounts of it go global, if we are so thin-skinned we can’t take such things on the chin.

But we are better than that.

Look around Liverpool on most days and the place is crawling with UK and foreign visitors, coming here because of what they have heard and read about the born-again city. 

This weekend Clarkson and his team were over in Newcastle where, like in Liverpool, an extra road show was organised to meet demand. In the ST piece Clarkson has a playful pop at the Geordies and their coveted Newcastle Brown.

In the blurbs for their UK tour Top Gear’s James May says: "In the past, we've taken Top Gear Live all over the world, but this year we're taking it to Newcastle, Liverpool, Belfast, Sheffield and London. That way we'll remember how lucky we are to live in Britain.”

Ironically in that same blurb Clarkson comments: “Our Top Gear Live UK Arena tour is coming and I literally cannot wait. We’ll have supercars, stunts, explosions and The Stig. Come and see Top Gear, but without the editing. What could possibly go wrong?”

What, indeed, could possibly go wrong?

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33 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Katie54February 23rd 2015.

The blowing up-out-of-all-proportion was all done by the Echo. As the many comments to the idiotic article about the Mayor's proposed intervention make clear, most people find this kind of thing really annoying. The Echo isn't a proper newspaper anymore - their idea of news is odd, and it seems determined to fill its pages with absolute drivel. Whatever happened to proper reporting (as opposed to rewriting press releases and regurgitating stale statistics, all with a determinedly "scouse" slant)??. We deserve better from the only local paper we currently have.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2015.

What she said

hammond OrganFebruary 23rd 2015.

True, Katie, but most scousers will believe the Oldham Echo and can't judge for themselves unless they bought the Sunday Times yesterday. As the Echo is only too aware, no one buys papers any more. Shameful clickbait. Hard not to feel a bit sorry for JC and never thought I'd say that

John BradleyFebruary 23rd 2015.

If there had been an mock newspaper in any of Harry Enfields "Scousers" sketches, it could have been the Echo without any alterations. Never a day goes by when there isn't a "how scouse is your floorboard", quiz, or some retrospective on some fairly recent past success. It is quiet sickening. I personally blame the useless Alastair Machray. Any paper that would give space to a moron the Pete Price as the voice of Liverpool, does not have the interests of Liverpool in mind. It regular items about Queen scally Amanda Harrington are pretty nauseating, and I'm told she is related to a former senior staff member. The reason it is deserves the title the Oldham Echo is because it portrays the city in the clichéd way Manc do.

Katie54February 23rd 2015.

I hate to admit that you're right John, but on this occasion anyway, you definitely are.

Leon KayFebruary 27th 2015.

the echo has never been a proper paper

Adam SkynerFebruary 23rd 2015.

It was a patronising snobbish piece by Clarkson and the Echo rightly stood up for the city. People peddling myths here. Echo is in Liverpool. Boring to trot out false narratives. Seems few observers have got scally offspring or themselves who been caught up in violence drugs and the like and not liked it when been publicised. You laughable angry people.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2015.

What language do you speak?

Katie54February 23rd 2015.

It's a bit hard to understand the last sentence, but if you are suggesting that people complain about the Echo's coverage of violence, drugs etc. because they don't want these things publicised for some reason, then you're wrong. There is a place for these things, but people don't want an endless diet of it, interspersed with half-baked rehashes of old statistics and the idiotic scouse articles - how scouse is.... 10 things a scouse XX.... etc. It's meant to be a newspaper, but contains very little proper news. As for the Clarkson thing - all this fuss in the Echo just plays to the whinging stereotype - as does whinger-in-chief Anderson with his idiotic notion of having a go at the BBC.

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2015.

Common sense. You deal in fantasy.

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2015.

The 10 things is a Web development...not in the paper. Loads of news in it. You just refuse to see it. Some chip on your shoulder you're keeping hidden. Lots of people miffed by Clarkson article so newspaper reflects that. Rehashes of old statistics. ...hmm where? Your life is one big criticism. Open the curtains and breathe in something nice for a change.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyFebruary 23rd 2015.

No one was miffed by the Clarkson article, till the Echo started making claims,because no one had read it. I doubt there is a large cross over between the Echo and the ST readership. It must be Echo staff because no one else would by hypocritical enough to accuse people of hiding, while themselves hiding under anonymity.

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2015.

Of course Bradley would defend a middle class fascist wanker like Clarkson, bet this brewing confrontation between him and Uncle Joe is breaking his heart.

Hammond organFebruary 23rd 2015.

"The 10 things is a Web development...not in the paper." And which part of the Oldham Echo do you work in? Hopefully not the writing side.

EleanorFebruary 23rd 2015.

So let me try to get my little Scouse pea brain around this. JC writes an amusing, though seemingly insulting column dragging down the good name of Liverpool. Certain people, including the council, scream outrage and respond. A story then goes global about those certain people crying into their bowls of Scouse soup because of JC's words, thereby dragging the name of Liverpool down even deeper. The story doing the rounds isn't about what Clarkson said, but our moaning and groaning about it. I suspect one day we'll learn not to shoot ourselves into our oversized boots. Should have kept stum and it would have evaporated quicker than chippy paper.

1 Response: Reply To This...
mickeydrippinFebruary 24th 2015.

Well said.

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2015.

I read the column. It was very witty and very funny. I won't be losing any sleep over it. Even gave me an appetite for kippers, whatever they are, some kind of fish I imagine from the River Kip, wherever that is.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2015.

Can't believe anyone is daft enough to rise to the bait from such a well know stirrer, but surely the last laugh is on him, he looks like an old paper bag in that pic, bloated, ugly, thin hair and far too many ciggies. And on that bombshell. .......

Joe49February 27th 2015.

I agree with Clarkson to some extent (though I can't bear to watch him and the other overgrown schoolboys on Top Gear). Shortly after Brown's opened I had lunch there to check it out. I asked the waiter for some French mustard to go with my steak frites. He apologised and said they only had Dijon mustard. That's ok I said I'll have that instead. Generally though I find the quality of service in the restaurants down town good, as is the food (except 'pub grub' which is universally bad in every city).

SootyFebruary 23rd 2015.

I agree with Katie and John...and the fact that joe fatso anderson has ploughed in thinking he's speaking for the city is an embarrassment. I would love him to corner Clarkson.. clarkson would wipe the floor with him ( I'm no fan I think he's a bit of a twerp) but it would be great. Joe anderson cannot have a proper discussion as he is not smart enough, he is dragging our city down...the sooner he is gone the better..the tide is turning ya fat bastard tick tock

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

On a lighter note. What do you call a donkey from Doncaster? . . . An ass. What do you call a herring from Hull? . . . The Yorkshire Kipper.......Ah please yourself.

SootyFebruary 24th 2015.

Haha thats great I must tell Matthew to use that gag in the show...we're doing a reunion tour. I mean if Atomic kitten can do it....

Katie54February 24th 2015.

Just thinking about the Echo and its poor coverage of important local issues like council decision-making. These days it hardly ever challenges anything the Council and/or Mayor do or say... despite lots of controversial decisions that are not scrutinised properly if at all (Cunard fiasco, LDL, selling off parks, etc. etc). Any councillor who dares ask awkward questions on the rare occasions they are able to do so gets personal abuse and insults instead of answers, so it's important that the local paper does its job. Not so long ago David Bartlett and Marc Waddington regularly wrote properly researched stories about poor decisions etc., but all that has stopped. Last week's "exclusive interview" with the Mayor was a perfect example. No hard questions - not even any easy ones, by the look of it. Not an interview at all, just Anderson holding forth at his bombastic best. It's hard not to conclude that the Echo has been muzzled, in some way. Certainly not so long ago the Council appeared to have cancelled some advertising in retaliation for a story that embarrassed them. If this is the case, then the Echo management (and owners Trinity Mirror) should perhaps consider that they owe more to the people who actually buy the paper, and indeed their other advertisers. Because at the Echo has the highest circulation of any Trinity Mirror regional newspaper, selling almost 70,000 papers a day. That's a lot of money (around £15 million). And then there's the other advertisers - local employers, estate agents, etc. The council spend is tiny compared to all this, so why are the Echo so afraid to upset them? They are losing circulation anyway, like every other newspaper, but why make it even worse by not doing your job properly and filling the paper with crime and patronising trivia instead of real local news.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyFebruary 24th 2015.

Well Marc has moved off to Wales and I asked Maria if there was any news on www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/…/calls-probe-tangled-relationship-liverpool-6728932… but no response.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2015.

I think you're right Kate, even when columnists on rare occasions, are scathing of The mayor's and council decisions, they are rebuked, sometimes in tandem by councillors only too willing to deride their opinion. It's as if it is well orchestrated, they are abetted in this process by the Liverpool Echo, who couldn't be more compliant, if they bent over backwards.

Bill MajorFebruary 24th 2015.

No time for Clarkson, so the Echo and Joe should not rise to the bait, makes them sound like whinging scousers.

Corporal PunishmentFebruary 24th 2015.

No time for any of them, professional scousers Uncle Joe and the Echo or Clarkson the professional bell-end.

It's been a whileFebruary 26th 2015.

Maybe Joe could snitch to the Standards Board

Josie MullenFebruary 27th 2015.

Its nearly election time. This is uncle joe trying to get some national press coverage. I loved the article the echo did about chuka ammuna. He said"if you want to know what a labour ggovernment would be like just look at Mayor Andersons administration. Does the man know that Anderson has brokenSIX of his electoral promises

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 11th 2015.

Only six

John BradleyFebruary 27th 2015.

Anyone want to know what level the Echo is at www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/…/liverpool-salon-boss-writes-letter-8739807…

General disorderFebruary 27th 2015.

Great heavens! Now I am having to agree with Bradders. What has a Norwegian sailors' stew got to do with Liverpool?

JeremyMarch 11th 2015.

Give Larry a bell, it might of been the laz word, but there's been a further twist to the plot.

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