Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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8 Dec 2008

When “Doing a Clarkson” Takes on a Whole New Meaning

While editing the Transition Timeline (coming soon), Shaun and I came up with the following from a section looking at transportation in 2018. “In addition, those who tried to flaunt wealth by driving a car everywhere and buying showy possessions increasingly became seen at best as rather selfish and passé figures of fun. Calling someone a ‘Clarkson’ became a gentle form of abuse, but one which underpinned how far society had moved away from the kind of flamboyant car culture seen 10 years previously”. However, over the last couple of days, ‘doing a Clarkson’ has taken on an entirely different meaning.

It has now come to refer to the most completely unexpected, the most completely jaw-droppingly improbable person, who has for years been a poster child for the runaway excesses of the Oil Age, and who once said “I’m not a scientist, but I read enough scientific literature to know the whole global warming theory is bonkers. A complete fairy story”,  who now suddenly grasps the scale of change rolling across the world with inevitability.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Clarkson said, “the politicians know just how catastrophic it is going to be, and just think well there’s nothing we can do so we’re just going to not bother telling them… fiddle around, drop the interest rate…. I believe we are heading towards The End of Days, economically speaking, and that you’d better get yourself an allotment, personally. I talked to a couple of bankers who say ‘it’s SO bad’…. Buffet (?) the other day said “we’re not even in it yet…”

Jeremy Clarkson on his allotment, now there’s an image to conjur with.  He then went on to argue that it was inappropriate for the UK government to bail out the car industry, because if they did so, then they should be bailing out every other business that is struggling.  So, Clarkson advocating local food production, the end of the car industry, the end of economic growth… I have to say I never thought I would see the day… extraordinary.

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Steve Atkins
8 Dec 11:12am

Us, human beings, have been practicing mechanical things for quite some time. It’s embedded in our make-up.

It appears Jeremy Clarkson has re-tuned his senses, welcome!… and I relate to where he’s coming from.

I trained to become a fully skilled ‘Vehicle Technician’, and got all the certificates – I used to get pleasure at driving & servicing numerous cars to make them run smoothly & efficiently…but the car industry is very dirty, a bad habit that needs radical change.

We’re still driving on suck/ squeeze/ bang/ blow !!… madness !!

…perhaps if we no longer look at a sheet of paper as ‘a sheet of paper’, but think deeper and visualise that sheet of paper as being part of a real, living thing then we can really start to connect with our origins.

Our progress should not be at the mercy of nature, for that is not progress.

Graham Burnett
8 Dec 11:17am

Hmm, as well as allotments Clarkson also recommends getting a ‘pair of shoguns’

Graham Burnett
8 Dec 11:17am

Or pair of SHOTGUNS even…

8 Dec 11:57am

Ah … missed that bit…

8 Dec 12:38pm

Former Top Gear presenter Quentin Wilson, last month:

“Top Gear is a wonderful form of vicarious entertainment, but the reality is that we’ve got a global crisis here – we’ve got to manage our resources, stop being an oil economy, and embrace a fantastic, exciting future.”

Peter Bralesford
8 Dec 1:05pm

Not up to green speed? That electric car they tested was… until they blew it up that is. 😉

andrew ramponi
8 Dec 2:15pm

Probably if there were no cars, Jeremy Clarkson would be an admired (and amusing) commentator on horses; their breed, diet, strengths and weaknesses etc.Maybe he is already setting up paddocks, breeding regimes and whatever next to his allotment!

9 Dec 6:56pm

So what do you make of these comments? Presumably, from the above comments, you don’t think things are nearly as serious as he says, or his friends that have moved out to the country? It couldn’t possibly happen right? At least not next year anyway?

“… but for a while there will be absolute chaos: riots, lynchings, starvation. It’ll be a world without power or fuel, and with no fuel there’s no way the modern agricultural system can be maintained. Which means there will be no food either. You might like to stop and think about that for a while.”

“I believe the government knows this is a distinct possibility and that it might happen next year”

Andrew Ramponi
10 Dec 3:05pm

My guess is that most people who read this blog, myself included, believe that the old future – fuelled by cheap abundant energy – has gone and that the new one will be very different. It seems that with the turbulence going on in the environment and economy, almost anything could happen

It’s true it probably will be more uncomfortable at best for us in high consumption countries. And in many ways more violent. I’ve spent time living in societies where I witnessed a fair amount of unpleasant violence being inflicted on a pig or chicken in the name of dinner. And for sure it could be pretty dire, and much worse than that in lots of ways for lots of people.

However, I don’t underestimate the power of government to limit for quite some time the more seriously destructive effects of the coming age of scarcity. After all, the world will not be WITHOUT fuel and power. The military and police will almost certainly get what they need to do their job – whatever that might be?

I expect there will always be some sort of an exchange system for trading; my hope is that it will be one that places a fairer value on real goods and services than all the tatt, “bads and nuisances” that have kept the economy “growing” for decades.

I do also think there will continue to be personalities who thrive using their talents to captivate and entertain. And I think there will quite possibly be a lot more horses.

Maybe I should have bought a horse last year instead of an electric bike…? Much more expensive but maybe in the long run, a more sustainable investment.

20 Mar 10:38am

yes, we’re not even in it yet…