Pre-pubescent girls around the globe were left reeling from the double disappointment of their two favourite pin-ups leaving to pursue solo projects this week. Zayn and Clarkson have been long time admirers of one another, both wearing ‘mom jeans’ while singing ballads; but neither felt like continuing without the other to inspire him to smoke a joint or punch a work colleague.
Zayn Malik’s publicist released a tersely-worded statement: ‘With Top Gear losing Clarkson, Zayn felt that it was time to call it a day. You can’t be expected to sing five part harmonies about love, if the one you love is no more.’ Likewise Clarkson admitted to close friends that he could never feel the throbbing urgency of a V8 engine without thinking about ‘Zayn’s tushie’.
The similarities between the two men mean that many teenagers mistake one for the other. Both men have laughed off the confusion; Clarkson saying he never minds having underwear thrown at him and Zayn remains happy to get poor service in Mexican restaurants. There are, however, some tell-tell differences; firstly Zayn has a tattoo of Perrie Edwards’ face, while Clarkson has an Albert ring stuck through his Richard Hammond.
Some will naturally draw parallels with the band ‘Busted, when they split in 2004 after football presenter Ron Atkinson was sacked. A BBC spokesperson replied: ‘It’s unfair to suggest that this is the same. Busted were an insignificant band and Ron Atkinson was nasty racist. One Direction are not insignificant.’