James May quotes and sayings
January 16, 1963
The shirt thing just started one day when I bought one with a really interesting pattern, and people laughed at it, so I thought, 'I'll keep buying daft shirts with flowers on.'.
The bicycle might just be the greatest of all inventions. It empowers the human machine, and with no input beyond perhaps a trendy isotonic health drink in a brightly colored bottle at an inflated price.
I've got this theory that there is a Volvo in any sane person's future.
Nice girls at school whose fathers owned a Volvo were unapproachable and probably condemned to spinsterhood for all time, simply because no one had the courage to advance up the drive.
I have always been motivated by a greater good. As a child, I was taught by my parents to be good and to do good at all times and in all ways!
I don't have any quarrel with the BBC.
I very briefly had a microwave oven that I quickly gave away, because I could never work out what they do better than a regular oven.
I've never wanted to be on television for the sake of it, I suppose because I'm not one of life's natural presenters; I'm not an actor.
I always said it was a privilege to end up on the television. It wasn't my ambition; I fell into editing magazines and writing about cars, and then I ended up on the telly.
It's healthy to have two car shows. Why not? The viewer gets twice as much car show to watch.
I always wanted to be a teacher.
It does cost a lot of money to make high-quality TV in exotic locations. I know everyone thinks we've been given a massive sack full of money and gone off and bought Lamborghinis and gone off for lunch, but it isn't actually like that.
I think there are bigger problems in the world than Jeremy Clarkson.
In 1988, before I'd written a word for a car magazine or stood in front of a camera, I was a subeditor on 'The Engineer.'.
Watching people move to nice music is very pleasant.
In 'Top Gear,' everything goes wrong because you have Jeremy Clarkson, so any practical activity ends in a pile of bits.
Nothing in this life worth achieving is easy, nor is it impossible.
The decline of practical skills, some of them very day-to-day, among a generation of British men is very worrying. They can't put up a shelf, wire a plug, countersink a screw, iron a shirt. They believe it's endearing and cute to be useless, whereas I think it's boring, and everyone's getting sick of it.
I was a car journalist when I started on 'Top Gear.' It was all about cars. And then it all spun out of all control, and we turned into figures of ridicule to keep the viewers happy. It's a fair deal, I suppose.
If you are a man, I feel that practicality should always trump fashion.
I felt that needed to be addressed: the idea that anything a man tries to do properly or thoroughly is dismissed as either metrosexual or OCD. But why can't you be practical and artistic at the same time, which was considered perfectly normal in the Renaissance?
I think any carmaker that had a brain and was looking very long-term would think about 'Personalised Transport Solutions' - which may not be a car.
There's a lot of politics in television and a lot of in-fighting and all that sort of stuff, but in the end, we are purveyors of entertainment. Viewers are not really bogged down in who's doing what and who hates who and who's doing best in the ratings. They watch television to be entertained.
When we were kids, if somebody said, 'What did you watch last night?' you would have said, 'BBC Two,' but now they'll just say, 'My mobile.'.
I got into it just thinking, 'Oh, television, maybe I'll have a go at that.' I could've never imagined that it would get to this.
I'm not a big film buff; I like watching films, but I tend to forget them.
There are very few things in real life on which I agree with Jeremy Clarkson, surprisingly few for people who have to make a TV show together. But that's part of what makes it work.
I always found it hard to motivate myself.
I find the history of toys very interesting on an academic level - they're very much products of their time, just like paintings and furniture tell us about their time.
Jeremy Clarkson wants to become a farmer - he's bought a field - Hammond wants to open a supermarket, and I'd like to spend my days owning a shoe shop.
I can't see Jeremy Clarkson having very many serious problems in his working life in the long run.
It would be a bloody tough call to do 'Top Gear' without Jeremy. That would be a bit of a daft idea.
I'm quite happy to laugh at Argentina's obsession with ham and cheese, but not, you know, delicate bits of their history.
There's a great deal of poetry in working out how things work, cutting bits of metal, trying to mend stuff.
Some cyclists are complete prats, obviously, but so are some drivers.
Jeremy can't do anything. I've never discovered anything he can do. I mean, he can drive a car round a track pretty well, but he wouldn't be able to light a fire.
Bicycles should not be insured or registered, and cycling proficiency should not be subject to a test. That's just weak-kneed nonsense from people who believe the world can be cured with paperwork.
Justice should not admit a public's thirst for pure revenge.
You have to be a bit mad and conceited to go on television.
We've always liked the word 'chump', and it's quite nearly our initials - Clarkson, Hammond, and May Productions.
Me, I'm a lesbian: I find women fascinating.
The three of us may be reunited on screen, we may go our separate ways, or we may disappear from the television altogether and each assume a place, alone, in the corner of a pub where any unsuspecting passing drinker who strays into an exclusion zone studiously avoided by the locals will be subjected to a predictable 'I used to be on TV' routine.
I'm not very ambitious, sorry... I don't get up and think, 'Today, I shall achieve greatness.' It's more, 'Today I might have Marmite on my toast.'.
I'm not beholden to anyone. I'm not waiting for a pension or a carriage clock.
All cars have a natural gait, a speed at which they're happiest. The Corniche is perfect at around 65-70mph. I did a ton in it once, which was completely horrible. Apparently, it'll reach 120mph, but not with me in it.
Our 'Top Gear' characters are based on our own characters, if exaggerated and cartoonified. We try not to be completely different to who we are, because you couldn't carry it off in the long run.
I don't know what a gazillion is.
I can't make a house homely. My house just looks like a garage or a shed. I'm not untidy, but it just looks so uninviting.
It's fairly well known that we all hate each other to some extent. 'Top Gear' has worked because of a combination of camaraderie and mutual dislike. That's actually the magic.
Boilersuits are used by everybody from pilots in the army to racing drivers to people who clean your drains. The one piece overall is what all males secretly desire.
If your ideas are good they rise, and if they're a bit crap they sink.
I'm a great believer in the principle of try it and work it out. If a gadget is designed well, you can easily work out how to use it. But if you can't, it isn't shameful to read the instructions.
Never has a material been as overrated as leather.
I don't play a lot of games. I play flight simulators, mostly.
Richard Hammond is a reasonably fit bloke who looks after himself. Me and Jeremy aren't.
I do not wish to help Jeremy Clarkson be amusing in the event of my death.
I know there have been some catastrophically unpopular programmes on television over the years. Has it ever got to the point where the only person still interested in what's happening is the person who's on the telly?
I've never thought about marriage or children.
The Amazon lot are perfectly reasonable, level-headed people who just want to make TV programmes. I don't think they are the enemy of the BBC or the other way round. It's not a war; these things can coexist. We can have Amazon and Netflix and the BBC and BT Sport, and people can make choices. That's what modern life is all about.
There's this perception that I've got this huge collection of old cars. I don't.
I do worry about breaking things - things that don't belong to me.
I've got a new pair of trainers. That's the only difference in my life since I started working for Amazon.
'Normal bloke' is my style.
It would be a shame if the BBC didn't exist.
I hope we're not barred from Argentina - I'd quite like to go back for another ham and cheese sandwich.
There are all sorts of things embodied in the Lego brick - geometry and mathematics and truth and proportion and shape and color... It is a faintly spiritual activity that everybody connects with.
I hate the idea of people nicking my stuff, but in all honesty, I'm pretty well off. If a genuinely desperate man on his last gasp nicks my coat from the pub on a freezing night, well, he's welcome to it. It'll change his life. Mine's only inconvenienced by having to buy another one.
Look - think very hard about the car you want. Then buy that one, brand new.
As far as I can work out, no-one really loses out.
Despite some of the stories that have gone around, I've never had a big, flouncey strop about how much I'm paid. Considering I have a pretty interesting life out of making telly, I'm really paid quite well for it. So I'm not complaining.
A car isn't a classic just because it's old. To be a classic, a car has to tell us something of its time.
I don't have a worry about women because I keep reading that not only are they better at school, they are now better at parking, better at navigating... we know that women are good at everything.
Men think that not being able to wire a plug somehow makes them more creative or intellectual. It just makes them morons.
Modern man is in crisis. He has degenerated from the redoubtable pillar he became through centuries of refinement and slipped resignedly into the popular depiction of himself as a witless under-achiever, incapable of looking after himself or those around him.
I have never stormed off over money or contracts. I am paid quite well by 'Top Gear.' I am pretty happy, and I have never seen Richard Hammond storm off, either.
I'm conflicted because I like being in deserts. I find them sort of cleansing, but there's another part of me that hates dust. And I particularly hate dust in cars, so it's a huge conflict going on there.
I'm not soppy-romantic. I don't buy Valentine's cards or any of that cheesy crap.
France is a country you have to drive through to get to Italy. That's all it's there for.
I'd quite like to film in Central Park. I think we have asked, but we're not allowed to.
When it comes to watches, it's ironic that you can spend thousands on an exquisitely made mechanical watch, and yet it will be less accurate than a five-quid digital bought from a petrol station.
Not being part of the BBC with 'Top Gear' any more does pain me, because it's an organization I approve of.
I don't like to think I am a celebrity; I am just a bloke on the telly.
I remember thinking, at the end of 2015 on New Year's Eve, I'm actually quite glad to see the back of that one. 2015 was a bit complicated and had some very traumatic bits in it.
It's actually very difficult to come up with a new name for something that hasn't already been bagged by someone else, unless you call your new show 'Shubbley-Doobley-Woobley' or something like that!
I'm a big user of digital technology, but I don't find it beautiful.
I don't look like Susan Boyle!
Hunter S. Thompson
The Notorious B.I.G.
Anne Graham Lotz
Robert Murray M'Cheyne
Paul J. Meyer
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