Any Tom Sharpe fans here?

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Any Tom Sharpe fans here?

Postby raisindot » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:50 am

I'm curious to fnd out what our UK members think about Tom Sharpe.

I found him many years ago when, having completed the entire P.G. Wodehouse series and all of Evelyn Waugh's comic novels, was looking for another Brit author along the same vein.

I found a bunch of Sharpe paperbacks in a remainder bin somewhere and bought them all. I must say that I did enjoy them all, some (the Wilt series) more than others. It is amazing how long he goes between books. I haven't seen anything new in the states since "The Midden." Has he published anything since then?

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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:04 pm

I've never read any of his books, but I saw the TV adaptaions of Wilt and Blot on the Landscape and they certainly seemed very funny. Now I think of it, I think saw an adaptation of Porterhouse Blue as well, although I can't remember much about it. :?

I've often seen his books in charity shops, but never yet felt inclined to buy one - maybe I will one of these days. I'm pretty sure my dad used to read them.
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:14 pm

I read all of them yonks ago. I liked them. My favourite was the Throwback. :lol:
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Postby Penfold » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:45 pm

I haven't read any Tom Sharpe for a few years now but my favourites were 'Indecent Exposure' and 'Riotous Assembly', both of which were set in South Africa and for which, I believe, he was deported (tho' he may have written the books after deportation). Both were banned at the time for slating apartheid and the Afrikaans Boers.

Tonyblack wrote:I think saw an adaptation of Porterhouse Blue as well, although I can't remember much about it.

There was an adaptation of Porterhouse Blue set in a stuffy, tradition bound English public school where the 'students' (think Bullingdon Club) and masters led a privileged lifestyle. "Porterhouse Blue" was the name given to a stroke caused by overindulgence (on the menu at feasts was roast swan, for example). The plot is basically surrounding a government ministry appointing a 'common oik' as the new head-master (the old one dying after suffering a Porterhouse Blue) who has to save the college from bankruptcy (both financial and moral) by modernisation, allowing female students, passing exams rather than rely on the old school tie network, etc. This meets with considerable resistance from the other masters and staff who wish to maintain the quid pro quo.

David Jason plays the part of Scullion the Porter (the equivalent of a UU Bledlow) who wants everything to remain as its always been with the 'gentlemen' on top and everybody else beneath them (crab-bucket springs to mind). The adaptation also starred Charles Gray, John Sessions, Gryff Rhys Jones, and Ian Richardson.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:11 pm

Now you mention it, yes, David Jason was in it. :D
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:42 pm

*Starts to run away when Pooh said he'd read the lot* :roll:

I read most of them too yeah - if his name isn't a nom de plume then it's one of those things where people grow to suit their names/pets/nature. He could have been called Savage too, with some justification, because although the books are breathtakingly funny, it was often humour of the very darkest hue with searing political satire that would make the Bader-Meinhofs look like the Women's Institute. The Throwback in particular had me avoiding cheesegraters and giving Range Rovers a very wide berth for years! :shock:

He's an important social culture writer though, especially with his earlier books set in South Africa - Indecent Exposure and Riotous Asssembly, which had a ring of truth with the apalling yet hilarious (really) antics of the army and police and their hypocritical attitudes. Henry Wilt is simply brilliant saddled with an airhead wife with an unfortunate wilful streak and later the most horrible quadrupets (all girls all taking after their mummy) imaginable. There was a film of that starring Griff Rhys Jones in the title role and Mel Smith as his nemesis Inspector Flint which didn't do justice to the book, but did lead to the TV serialisation deals for Blott etc (David Suchet was wonderful in that!). They're not the sort of books to return to much but he's still writing I see and has another Wilt book out this year apparently.
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:46 pm

Apparently there's a new Wilt book out this year. :)

I always thought that Geraldine James who played Lady Maud Lynchwood, in Blot on the Landscape, would make an awfully good Lady Sybil. Although she might have to put on some weight for the role. :wink:
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Postby chris.ph » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:41 pm

im the same as pooh i read them years ago but i enjoyed them and i think blott was my favourite
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Postby raisindot » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:04 pm

I remember seeing the "Wilt" movie on TV a number of years ago (way after I'd read the book). Although the actor had him down, the adaptation for me at least was incredibly sloggy. And I think they must have cut it to shreds because all the good stuff was left out.

Glad to see there's a new "Wilt" book coming out. He's my favorite character. I wonder what's going to happen to his tonker this time. 8)

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Postby raisindot » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:06 pm

poohcarrot wrote:I read all of them yonks ago. I liked them. My favourite was the Throwback. :lol:


I can see that. That was definitely one of the nastiest books I ever read. But hilarious as hell.

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Postby Bouncy Castle » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:59 pm

Years ago, a work colleague loaned me Wilt.

I put it in my bag, and when I was on the train going home that night, I got it out and started to read.

I had to put it away about four or five pages in, because I was laughing so much. :oops:
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