Sunday, September 24, 2006

Reality vs Satire - a fighting draw

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times on Richard Hammond:

Richard Hammond, the Top Gear host critically injured on Wednesday in what is possibly Britain’s fastest car crash, has eaten cornflakes, walked, talked and recognised his co-presenter James May as a “****face”.

I first heard of the accident as I was doing a rather pedestrian 175mph in an Aston Martin round the programme’s test track in Surrey. The producer, Andy Wilman, called from the central London edit suite to say that Hammond had had what he called “a big one”.

But there was no sense of urgency. Yes, on his previous run he’d reached a speed of 315mph and there was every chance he’d been doing a similar speed when the accident began. And yes, he’d rolled over several times before coming to rest upside down with his helmet full of soil and his head buried in the earth. What’s more, he had been unconscious when the paramedics arrived.

But he’d come round, insisted that he should do a “piece to camera” and had even had a fight with the air ambulance crew who thought that on balance it’d be better if he got on the stretcher to go to hospital in Leeds. Richard’s like that. He spends most of his spare time fighting.

I was therefore not even slightly worried. Nor was I embarrassed that just 40 minutes earlier I’d called his mobile phone and left a message saying: “As I haven’t heard from you, I can only presume you’re dead.”

He’d hear it in the helicopter and call me back to say he had just driven 100mph faster than I’d ever managed.

Via the Old Heatonian :


Verity said...

Does anyone else find it eerie that it is Jeremy Clarkson and some other colleague who is issuing official statements about this man's health?

No doctors or specialist surgeons? No members of his family? Jeremy Clarkson is he official spokesman? Isn't this weird? What does his wife have to say?

I don't care about someone who involves himself in high speed cars. It's fine with me.

But apparently this Hammond is being treated on the NHS. Is this the same NHS that motivates the Labour government to tell people not to eat potato crisps, not to smoke and not to drink alcohol because they will become a drain on the NHS?

verity said...

Just to torture my point further, wouldn't the NHS be lecturey if you had fallen down your stairs a little the worse for drink and twisted your ankle? Temporary - not long term like lung cancer. You just had some drinks and missed a step. Would you get social workers by your bed "advising" you not to drink alcohol?

Someone driving a car at 300 mph of his own free will, and supported in this by the mandatory license-supported BBC, is somehow not included in a situation which may require massive amounts of NHS money? As in brain surgery? Lifetime support? He's young, isn't he? Lifetime support would be a lot,right?

I have no ill-will for this man, and indeed had never heard of him before this incident and I wish him very well indeed because he has two little daughters waiting for him at home. But will they give him a lecture about being a television personality driving fast cars and how dangerous this is and how he ought to stop it?

I honestly want to hear the justification of the NHS for not reprimanding him and the BBC for encouraging dangerous behaviour when they don't want people to eat crisps.

I want to hear their response.

Rick said...

The Cult of the Amateur lives on........put a jet engine in an aircraft and the pilot needs training and medicals and more training.................put it on wheels and he just climbs in and off he goes.

Funny country really...........very amateurish.

Yes Verity - doctors have liability TV presenters have guilty-consciences - the most "stable" form a patient can take is "dead".............."Brain damage" may not affect Clarkson but it will affect Mrs Hammond

JuliaM said...

"No doctors or specialist surgeons? No members of his family? Jeremy Clarkson is he official spokesman?"

No, his brother has given interviews, and a producer, also one of the surgeons. Probably more, I haven't read ALL the reports. And since when was it not perfectly normal for a man's work colleagues to be quoted, especially if they are famous themselves? What exactly are you trying to say here...?

"...apparently this Hammond is being treated on the NHS"

Well, sure, he possibly is being treated on the NHS, as an emergency. Any follow up treatment, physiotherapy, etc, will probably be done by his own private health cover if he has it, or by whatever the BBC took out for him.

And why not? As a top rate taxpayer, he's entitled to the treatment. He has, after all, paid for it (regardless of whatever nonsense propaganda the NHS currently pumps out, a spurious 'issue' by the way).

And fans of the programme are currently flooding the Air Ambulance service that helped him with enough funding to possibly buy an extra helicopter.....

"Would you get social workers by your bed "advising" you not to drink alcohol?"

No, not yet. The NHS is indeed becoming a moralising nightmare, but it isn't quite that bad!

Rick said...

And fans of the programme are currently flooding the Air Ambulance service that helped him with enough funding to possibly buy an extra helicopter...

which btw has ZERO to do with the NHS or taxpayers...........but depends on selling raffle tickets - that's how it has been kept airborne so far

JuliaM said...

"..which btw has ZERO to do with the NHS or taxpayers"

Except for the medical staff who ride in it.....

But that aside, my point exactly!

As a vital first-response unit it (and others around the country, usually similarly financed) should be funded by the NHS out of our contributions.

We should not need it to be funded by public sympathy on the occasion of a high-profile accident.

But, as it is, then the accident is bringing a small reward over & above what is being taken out of the NHS by it....

Rick said...

In fact, if I were to describe a patient as "critical", or "serious", to a colleague, I would get laughed at and the brief laughter would be followed by a quick check to make sure I was actually a registered medical practitioner, because no-one talks in those terms.
It is hardly ever necessary to sum up a patient's condition in one word – a brief description of what has happened to them, their present physiological parameters and how much medical gadgetry they are attached to usually sums things up pretty nicely. And if you were to use some kind of shorthand, "stuffed" – or a similar expression that you would not necessarily wish to be overheard by anyone else – is often used.
So when people like Top Gear's Richard Hammond are described as "critical", "serious", or "critical but stable", you can be pretty sure those words have not come from the mouth of a physician. More likely from a press officer, or even more likely from the keyboard of a journalist.

Anonymous said...

Johann Hari's view of Clarkson (including a claim on his lack of sexual potency, prompting Hari to refer to him as a "tiresome eunuch") in the Independent.

No surprise that yet again the lefty wants something banned.

It’s time for the corportation to send the rusty, dangerous old piece of scrap called Top Gear to the wrecker’s yard – before it can maim and kill anyone else.>

JuliaM said...

Ah, Johann Hari. Never saw a bandwagon (or a kebab van) he didn't want to jump on.

Probably polishing up a 'Something must be done about dangerous dogs' column as we speak.....

Verity said...

juliam - Re your post, I have noticed a new trend in Britain: referring to "work colleagues". What is the difference between a work colleague and a colleague, meaning someone one works with?

Yes, as a top rate taxpayer, he is entitled to treatment on the NHS, as is every welfare scrounger and illegal immigrant in Britain. Big deal. But admittedly, the public hospitals are better equipped for trauma, and have more experienced medical personnel, for trauma. In the US, they take trauma victims to the county (free unless you are able to pay) hospitals.

But then, you'd want to get out fast.

Will he get "counselling" about driving fast cars? Don't smokers "who are a a tremendous drain on the NHS" get advised not to smoke? Don't drinkers get "advised" not to drink in case they develop liver disease and become a burden on the NHS?

Doesn't the NHS and the ruling Blair regime dictate that manufacturers not advertise fatty or salty foods because people like them too much and can become "a burden on the NHS"?

Is this fellow going to be counselled not to take part in a programme about fast cars because he could become "a burden on the NHS"?

I don't know how you tolerate this set-up. It's Sovietesque. The health service in France is superb.

JuliaM said...


I use it to ensure that people know I work & so do my colleagues. It distinguishes us from the likes of consultants, political hangers-on, 'spokespersons' and other riff-raff of the modern workplace, who are distiguished by not actually working at all....

I suspect the NHS front-line staff are far too busy to give (or arrange) lectures on this, that or the other. That is strictly the province of those individuals above, and their 'colleagues', whose sole aim in life is to get their half-baked initiatives noticed in the media or by their superiors.