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Home arrow Older News Archive arrow Nick Mason on BBC TV's Top Gear
Nick Mason on BBC TV's Top Gear Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Thursday, 04 November 2004

This week's Top Gear motoring programme turned into a sizeable promotional device for Nick Mason's new book, "Inside Out, A Personal History Of Pink Floyd"! The programme, on BBC TV, was one of the funniest things we've seen for a while... and indeed, when we chatted with Nick after his BBC Northern Ireland interview (see other news), he made mention of the circumstances of his involvement.

Jeremy Clarkson, famous presenter of the show, needed a Ferrari F60 (aka the Enzo; 218mph top speed, a 6 litre V12 that develops 650bhp!) for a feature, and tried all sorts of people, including Ferrari themselves, and Jay Kay, to see if he could borrow one. Now, these £500,000 supercars aren't lent out easily, but Jeremy got a call from Nick offering his, in return for a mention of his book.

Clarkson explained that they "aren't really allowed to plug stuff on Top Gear, but if we get the car, I'll slide in a couple of references, and I don't think any of the big-wigs will notice..."

And then the fun started!

The report started with close-ups on the car, and Astronomy Domine as the soundtrack! "For sheer excitement and pizzazz, it's hard to think of anything which can match it! The only thing that comes close, really, is...erm...this BOOK that I've been reading. It's called "Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd" by Nick Mason. It is beautifully written, remarkably well produced, and, at just £30, exceptional value!"

Wide shots of the car zooming along the race track follow. "Of course, anyone can buy the book - it's for sale in every good bookshop. Whereas only 399 F60s were made, and you couldn't just choose to buy one - you were chosen by Ferrari! And you were only selected if they thought you were worthy!"

Cue Great Gig In The Sky; "One of the lucky ones was the author, and part-time drummer, Nick Mason." Nick strides to the car, clutching a copy of the book.

Jeremy: "So, how much of a thrill was it, when you got the call from Ferrari to say that you could have one of these F60s?" Nick: "Oh, it was absolutely terrific. In fact it was probably as exciting as the moment when I got my hands on the first production copy of my book, 'Inside Out'." Jeremy: "Oh, your new book - yeah!" He lifts up his copy, and Nick subtly raises his.

Clarkson now out of shot, lifts his book into view, continues with "...which I have to say is absolutely excellent - it really is! Absolutely wonderful, 'cos it chronicles the whole history of Pink Floyd... Thing is, how would you compare the car to the book?"

"I think that's a tough call, Jeremy. I think they're both enormously exciting, but perhaps most importantly, they're both GREAT value for money." Clarkson then remarks that Nick is saying that his car is as good as his book - which means "it must be quite a machine!"

Clarkson starts driving and describing the car. Some extracts: "Look at [the steering wheel and instrument cluster]! It's a saucerful of secrets!" Later, whilst accelerating at an alarming rate: "ATOM HEART MOTHER!" then "UMMAGUMMA! [whimpers] mummy... that is the delicate sound of thunder - you just set the controls for the heart of the sun, and just like that, you're on the dark side of the moon!"

Set The Controls is now the background music, replaced with High Hopes. "Oh, I wish you were here, just to feel the power!" Astronomy Domine again: "Oh my god! Only the astronauts have found power like this before! This is now THE performance benchmark. This is THE speed king. This is the division bell between the ordinary, and the absolutely ASTONISHING!"

"The thing is now, Nick Mason could take this car home. We've finished with it. But instead - look how he IS going home..." Cue effect loop from start of Money, as Nick approaches and enters his helicopter. Nick flies off into the sun, leaving Clarkson mystified...

Back in the studio, we see people in the audience wearing t-shirts. T-shirts with specific comments on, such as "PINK FLOYD BOOK - PERFECT CHRISTMAS PRESENT" and "BUY NICK'S BOOK"! The presenters wonder why his Ferrari, with only 300 miles on the clock, was not used for the return journey, and a helicopter was. Jeremy: "As soon as he'd taken off, and was obscured by clouds [looks around audience who are laughing], I got to thinking - maybe the older stuff is better for day-to-day driving", and mentioned that later, he'd put some supercars to the test.

In the meantime, he introduced singer Geri Halliwell, "quite simply the biggest selling female British artist of all time". His co-presenter: "Of course, not as big selling as Pink Floyd, I should say, which I've been reading about in this riveting book - full of fascinating facts about... Pink Floyd!"

Geri comes on but is not allowed to mention her new album or single, as the cars she was offering weren't good enough. Clarkson: "Just stop. We don't do plugging on this show. We don't want to know the name [of your album]... unless you've got a half million quid supercar in which case you can frankly say anything you like about it!"

Later, Nick's Ferrari F40 (0-60mph in 3.2seconds) was put through its paces in comparison to the Porsche Carrera GT and the McLaren F1 - and Nick's car comes out by far on top in terms of sheer driving ability. Finally, Top Gear's mysterious racing driver, Stig, takes the F60 for a spin round the track, and sets by far the fastest time of all the cars they've driven there - and drove it listening to Another Brick In The Wall!

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