Book Club: Off-Road by Phillipa Sage
Need a gift idea? Know someone who can read? Check out this tell-all book about The Boys.
The holiday season is upon us and if you're looking for gift ideas, I may have something that could tick some boxes.
Not that many moons ago, when Clarkson, Hammond and May still worked for Auntie Beeb, they had a travelling circus, Top Gear Live. A giant travelling bonanza that bounced from city to city, country to country entertaining the masses, or on some occasions trying to, with a blitzkrieg of stunts, challenges, races, celebrity faces and the usual levels of chaos expected from Jeremy, James and Richard.
I went along to an early version of one of these shows back in 2012(?) and recall it being a simply fantastic experience. It was loud, big, mildly explosive and generally, an entire episode of Top Gear reorganised for an arena. But working tirelessly behind the scenes was an army of staff procuring cars, drivers, equipment and solving the puzzles that putting on a pantomime of petrol throws up. Further behind that are the people put in place to essentially babysit the stars and make sure they are fed, watered and in the right place at the right time. Enter stage right, Phillipa Sage.
Phillipa's role was a broad one, working as the boys' PA, gofer and fixer. As well as medic, mum, chef, barista and somellier. Her role quickly became pivotal in maintaining the rockstar lifestyles the gang became accustomed to on "Chris' Cashless Holiday'. From booking 5* restaurants to making sure their riders were fulfilled, Sage's book takes you deep into the goings-on of several years of this mega tour. Inside she answers the question of what do you inject two hungover television stars with to get them on stage? And crucially, where?
The book is a brilliant peek behind the curtain and I lapped it up in the span of about three days on a recent trip to Spain. A thoroughly enjoyable read you feel quite honoured to have acquired the information between the covers and yet it fails to spoil any of the magic of my Top Gear Live experience.
Unique and revealing, you're fast pulled in.