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OLIVER GRAPE
Onward Virgins/Crumpet Voluntary/It's A Knock-Up!


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Onward Virgins
Futura, London, 1974
(price: 35p; 160 pages)

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Crumpet Voluntary
Futura, London, 1974
(price: 35p; 144 pages)

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It's a Knock-Up!
Futura, London, 1975
(price: 35p; 144 pages)


The blurbs on the back:

Lose my virginity? I couldnít give it away with Blueshield Stamps.
It is not surprising with some of the handicaps I have. A dad who builds a cabin cruiser called ĎSpirit of Wormwood Scrubsí in the back garden Ė and canít get it out. A competition-mad Mum who is always filling the house with crates of baked beans Ė and thatís just to go in or the competitions. A sister who can run faster than any boy in the neighbourhood Ė there isnít one whoís got away from her yet. A brother who makes David Bowie look like a square, and Gran Ė Hitler in skirts.
It is no wonder that Iím a bit uneasy in my relationship with girls: Angie who doesnít want to know, Sandra who knows too much, hot-blooded Caroline, Cherilyn who is on the cards, Mrs Lewis who is on the game, available Greer and Pat who is passing through. Itís a blooming miracle that the story has a happy ending.

If this is the permissive society, Iíd be better off with the Co-Op!
When Mum won the family a free holiday to the sun-drenched Costa del Sol, I reckoned my big break had come. I mean, youíre always hearing about English girls abroad, and then thereís all the local crumpet.
But somehow things didnít quite work out like that at the Hotel Qualido. It was bad enough getting Gran to the airport, but when she got loose at a bullfight Ė talk about a nightmare. What with Ron freaking out, Candice and the waiters, Mum and Dad on the beach, I didnít stand a chance. In fact if it hadnít been for Mrs Hildegarde and Lavinia, I reckon Iíd have been better off at home.

Midnight in Blackpool and Shirley was just across the corridor...
As usual it was Mum's idea - entering the family for television's 'Family Knockout' competition. You'd have thought she'd have had enough after our free holiday in the Costa Brava, but she reckoned anything was better than watching Dad build a pagoda in the back garden.
And it sounded great - semi-finals in Blackpool, finals in Cannes, Oliver Grpe international television star. It isn't many blokes of fifteen who get a chance like that. With birds like Sue, Gillian and Shirley just waiting for the come-on, it looked as though my luck had turned at last...


opening lines:

ĎI must be getting home now.í Iíd like to be able to detect a note of regret in Angieís voice but not a sausage.

The terrible thing about my night of mad passionate love with Miss Tufts is that I canít get anyone to believe that it has taken place.

It all starts down at the public library. That is where my thirst for sexual knowledge and Sonia take me.


So you find the Confessions books a bit too heavyweight, a bit highbrow for you? Well, fear not, because here's the junior version, in which the hero is only fourteen years old and is therefore legally not allowed to get his leg over. Which at least gives him an excuse.

If the tone and style is familiar, then that might be because 'Oliver Grape' was yet another pseudonym for Christopher Wood, who under the name 'Timothy Lea' gave us many of the Confessions books and scripts, as well as the screenplay for Rosie Dixon - Night Nurse. I don't know if he also wrote the Rosie Dixon books, but under his real name, he did a couple of the 1970s James Bond movies and their subsequent novelizations. In other words, he's responsible for a whole heap of rubbish, for which I'm not really prepared to forgive him.

Still, no doubt it has some value to social historians somewhere, somehow.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 1/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
2/5


from the maker of:
More? Oh God, no!


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