Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Top Gear and Richard Hammond

If you are any sort of Petrol-head and even if you aren't chances are you have encountered the juggernaut that it BBC tvs TOP GEAR in some form or other. The show, the books, the merchandise; they're everywhere.

I have to admit I'm a huge fan of the show. It's not about the cars; it's about the British knack for taking diverse personalities and creating some sort of special magic that can entertain millions.

That's why I love Top Gear. Clarkson, May and Hammond, when let off the leash are hysterically funny. They are allowed to fully indulge their schoolboy sense of humour and are probably laughing all the way to the bank. All of them have had books published.

Everyone who watches the show will have their favourite. Mine is Richard Hammond. His boyish good looks and his self-deprecating sense of humour are somehow endearing. So when I hit a reading slump just before Christmas I decided I needed something light and entertaining to get over it. Richard Hammond's books were the perfect antidote.

ON THE EDGE by Richard Hammond tells the story of the now famous crash which nearly killed him and resulted in him suffering brain damage. It's told from the point of view of both Hammond (his memories up to the crash) and his wife (afterwards and his rehabilitation)

Then there's OR IT IS JUST ME? A collection of ancedotes about the antics, expeditions and races Hammond has experienced on Top Gear.

AS YOU DO tells the story of the Top Gear Race to the North Pole from Hammond's perspective. While Clarkson and May were in a custom built car, Hammond was trotting along behind a dog sled. You have to be fit and highly motivated to accomplish that.

Also in the book is Hammond's account of their race across Bostwana and his meeting of his childhood idol, Evel Kneivel.

So while, no one by any stretch of the imagination could call Hammond's writing literature it is entertaining and pulled me out of my reading slump.

So thank you Richard Hammond.

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