A Top Gear brainstorming thing…

YOU know what it’s like. Not a sniff and then two opportunities arise at once.

First up is a chance to work on Not Top Gear, the new car-themed petrol-head show which Clarkson, Hammond and May are making for the Amazon subscription service, Prime.

Here are some words from the advert (real words, not made up by me with satirical mischief in mind): “You will be the unsung heroes who help this middle-aged trio make superbly entertaining TV. Wit, intelligence, top-drawer work ethic, good in a brainstorm – all of these qualities are required in spades.”

Here are my qualifications for this role: middle-aged, driven a car or two, owner of an aging Volvo estate with nearly 140,000 miles on the clock (MoT and service due next month); not adverse to wearing James May-style flowery shirts, although will definitely draw the line at those bloody rugby shirts.

As for brainstorms, well I have a brain and sometimes it blows up a storm and sometimes it does not.

I have driven round the ring-road in York in that old car and navigated the traffic assault course known as the M62. So pelting a powerful new car round an otherwise empty racetrack would surely be a doddle. As for being an unsung hero, some might say I was one of those for years. And look where it got me.

Sadly, I don’t think I’ll apply for that role. The job description featured in an Observer report about how young people looking to climb onto the lowest rung in the TV industry are having to pay some internet job agencies simply for the ‘right’ to look at such adverts.

The young hopefuls who do these jobs are known as “runners” – presumably because they have to run away from Jeremy Clarkson if he’s in a bad mood and hasn’t been fed a steak dinner in a while.

I have been a runner for many years, although pavement plodding is not what they have in mind here. So that car-bound trio will have to make their programme without the benefit of my brain or anything else I may have in spades.

Some job adverts have a mystifyingly detailed breakdown of requirements. The long list, the very long list, for this next job has many elements. You have to organise all the client’s personal needs, such as drycleaners, gardeners, house refurbishments, finding interior designers, checking the home when the client is away, making sure it is clean, the plants are watered and the fridge is well stocked. You also have to select and organise his wardrobe with regards to his favourite designers such as Oswald Boateng, Harrods and Zap.

Yes, this is that advert placed by the footballer Jermain Defoe for a “24/7 personal assistant”. Now in the ordinary world the money is very good – up to £60,000 pa. This, by neat coincidence, is what the 32-year-old Sunderland striker earns in a week.

Other tasks include producing iPhone aps and helping to “create a global brand for the Jermain Defoe name, growing his online database on his website, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking platforms”. Oh and looking after five family members and their pets.

What this job entails is being a footballer’s go-to person. I suppose that’s how the extremely wealth organise their lives, hiring a skivvy to do everything for them so their life contains nothing more troubling than kicking a football around once or twice a week.

We are all shaped by our circumstances, good and bad, and I suspect that what this illustrates is that if you dip a sportsman in golden pools of extreme wealth, the chances are that he will shimmer when he looks in the mirror – and at the same time become totally out of touch with ordinary life. Maybe we don’t want our famous footballers to touch ordinary life. Perhaps that’s the point of their absurdly over-remunerated lives.

Either way, I shall have to keep scanning those adverts.

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