I woke up this morning to find a Jalopnik article titled ‘Piers Morgan Sticks Up For Jeremy Clarkson In Classy Column (Seriously)‘ to which I let out a droning “whaaaaaa?”
I was truly baffled. I had just been talking to a few people earlier in the week about Piers’ and Jeremy’s beef in regards to this whole punching a producer scandal. I pointed out that Mr. Clarkson had only punched one other person to the best of my knowledge. That one being Piers Morgan. For a man who makes a living off of being grumpy, that’s a pretty good demonstration of self control. Not that I condone violence, but it’s kind of like paying someone to portray themselves in a certain way on set, glorifying their ways, then getting cranky with them when they stick to those ways off set.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the man. My three childhood (and now still young-adulthood) heroes are Jeremy Clarkson, Steve Jobs and Han Solo. I’ve read most of Jeremy’s books, watched all of TopGear, watched all of his side specials/movies and I often read the articles he writes for various newspapers. I’m 100% certain I owe my love of cars and dream of being an automotive journalist to him and Paul Walker. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have been roped into car culture the way that I have been.
I think that this whole thing is beyond stupid. If he did in fact punch the producer then yes he should be punished, but suspending him from TopGear is absurd. When football players are in trouble they don’t finish the entire season and tell the fans “oh well, no more football for you” and to an extent I’d say that TopGear fans are equally as invested as football fans, if not more.
Back to my surprise this morning. After I read the article I was completely stumped, if Piers Morgan can highlight that Jeremy isn’t as bad as he’s being made out to be and bury the hatchet, then so can the BBC and the producer. Jeremy is clearly capable of recognizing when he’s in the wrong and apologizing for doing so, so let him do that and be done with it. Of course I’m saying all this speculating on the information at hand which could change but the fact that May and Hammond are saying it’s blown out of proportion makes me think as much.
You can read the full article below
Words: Piers Morgan
“When my CNN show ended a year ago, Jeremy Clarkson was effusive in his praise.
He called me a ‘ghastly little weasel’, a ‘friendless broken shell’, ‘genuinely awful’, and generously concluded: ‘Everyone hates him.’
So you can imagine that I had rather mixed emotions when news broke that he’d been suspended by the BBC for punching a Top Gear producer.
Part of me, I confess, wanted to run straight into the streets of Beverly Hills and do a one-man conga while chanting ‘Bye bye Jeremy, baby goodbye, bye bye Jeremy, don’t make me cry (with laughter).’
But then I remembered that we ended our ten-year feud last summer with a five-hour drinking session at the local pub we both frequent in Kensington, west London.
It was a surreal encounter, coming in the midst of the N-word scandal that previously threatened to end his BBC career.
He arrived on a bicycle, me on foot, and we marched to the bar like gladiators who had just emerged from the carnage of the Colosseum, bloodied, speared, stabbed and bitten by lions – but alive.
I ordered a pint of London Pride bitter, he asked for a large glass of rosé wine, then sat at a table in the patio garden.
For the first half an hour, it was excruciatingly awkward. When you’ve spent a decade publicly abusing, denigrating and brawling with someone, it’s quite hard to hit the STOP button and pretend like nothing’s happened.
There were several tense moments early on when I feared the forced bonhomie might suddenly disintegrate into a scene reminiscent of Hugh Grant and Colin Firth’s absurd fountain fight in Bridget Jones 2.
But alcohol slowly alleviated the tension. I was curious why, a few days earlier, he’d sent me a 1am text suggesting we ‘end this’.
‘Morgan,’ he sighed, ‘I’m going through a difficult divorce, my first ex-wife has also came out of the woodwork to give me hell, I’m smoking too much, drinking too much, my back hurts, I’m all over the papers with this N-word scandal, I’m at war with my BBC bosses, and my mother has just died. I simply don’t have the energy for you any more.’
‘I’m actually relieved,’ I replied, ‘because I’ve run out of vile epithets in the English language to deploy about you. There are only so many ways I can call you a fat, useless ****.’
Then we both roared with laughter, and ordered another round of drinks.
I started the feud. When I was editor of the Daily Mirror I published compromising paparazzi photos of Jeremy with a senior female BBC TV executive. (In one of the purest illustrations of the phrase ‘what goes around comes around’, the lady concerned is now one of my bosses at ITV. Fortunately, her outstanding professional skills are only matched by her capacity for forgiveness…)
Jeremy took exception to my decision.
When we next met, aboard Concorde’s last flight in 2003, he unleashed a foul-mouthed tirade and poured a glass of water over me.
Then, at the British Press Awards a few months later, he punched me three times in the head – causing my blood to flow profusely.
My right temple still bears the scar, his right little finger is permanently disfigured from where it broke on my skull. If the situation were reversed, I’d have probably done the same to him.
By 11pm on our reconciliation night, I’d consumed four pints of London Pride, and two bottles of St Emilion Grand Cru. Clarkson had swilled buckets of rosé, and puffed endless packets of nicotine.
We were both extremely inebriated and talking gibberish by the time his feisty daughter Emily turned up, and loudly groaned at the unedifying spectacle that confronted her.
But she recovered enough to take a souvenir photo of the two of us, now resembling decrepit refugees from Last Of The Summer Wine.
To balance things out, I phoned my eldest son Spencer, a massive Top Gear fan and ardent opponent of political correctness, and put him on to Jeremy with the immortal words: ‘Have a chat with my new Best Friend…’
We’re never going to be best friends, obviously. Too much blood, literally, has been spilled.
But we attended a lavish birthday party in Venice recently where we ‘danced’ together to a live set from Duran Duran, both punching the air to The Wild Boys and Notorious. So the rehabilitation process is ongoing.
I don’t know what really went on with that Top Gear producer.
From what I’ve read, it appears Jeremy behaved like an arrogant, drunken, aggressive oaf and deserves much of the opprobrium that’s crashed down on him. Perhaps even the sack.
But I understand, perhaps better than most, the rather particular stresses and strains that come with being a cocky, opinionated, mischievous, polarising TV personality who seeks occasional relief in alcoholic libation.
And after our night in the pub together, I sensed that Jeremy’s just like pretty much every other 50-something in life; angst-ridden from damaged relationships, grieving loved ones, irritated by work-related issues, and battling inner demons.
In the kind of ghastly therapy-speak he would ridicule, he’s been struggling to keep all his plates spinning for a while, and every time one crashes to the floor, I suspect he finds it harder to pick up the pieces while simultaneously keep the others spinning.
I don’t feel sorry for him, because he wouldn’t want us pitying a multi-millionaire TV star.
But I do empathise with him, and I hope he sorts himself out.”
(Source: Piers Morgan for http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/)