Though I wouldn’t expect Mark E. Smith and Steve Coogan to see eye to eye on many issues of social importance, I suppose there are some persons who manage to offend a wide range of sensibilities. Quizzed by The Quietus’ Kevin E.G. Perry upon the release of The Fall’s new ‘Ersatz GB’, the topic somehow rolled around to “Top Gear” host/shitbag columnist Jeremy Clarkson (above).

We talk for a while about The Quietus and about how much I’m getting paid to do this interview, and then about our shared love of Hunter S Thompson and conversely about the lad’s mag journalism he unsurprisingly abhors: “I’ve never been into cars or looking at birds. I don’t understand that. It’s funny because when my book came out, I went to this writing convention in Wales. It’s like where all these writers congregate. Very famous.”

The Hay festival?

“Yeah. So that fella was there. The Top Gear fella. Jeremy whodyamob. Jeremy whatisface from Top Gear. I dunno, I know nothing about cars at all. Even my dad was like that. My dad had a Lada. Ha ha ha. What happened was, I was doing this thing about my book, and there was about 500 people there. But for this geezer there was thousands. You couldn’t get out of the place. There was about a million cars on this camping site. It’s almost like you’re drowning in people who look like him!” Smith points at a balding, middle-aged man reading a newspaper on the other side of the lobby. “Fucking thousands of them! I had this fucking co-writer with me, the ghost-writer. The fucking idiot is shaking hands with the fuckers because he thinks they’ve all come to see me, or ‘im. So I fucking bottled him! Ha ha ha ha. I bottled him in the car park! He was shaking hands with fucking every fucker you’d see! I just wanted to get out, it was that frustrating. It was horrible.”

It’s a pretty damning indictment of people’s reading habits that Jeremy Clarkson is the most popular man at the Hay Festival.

“I know, yeah, but there weren’t like young girls there. It was people like him.” He points again. “It was quite frightening! Thousands and thousands of thousands of them, and they must be parents so you can’t really blame the kids who aren’t reading. A lot of fellas my age, they won’t fucking grow up.”