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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 14 November 2013
Vintage stuff is one of my favourite Tom Sharpe books and the superb reading by Stephen Fry does it full justice. The central comic situation revolves around the two main characters. One is a man who yearns for adventures in the manner of John Buchan or Bulldog Drummond. The other is a boy who prefers his heroes to come from the pages of an Ian Fleming or Frederick Forsythe novel and certainly exhibits such characteristics in his own personality. Through a convoluted process, they both set off together on an "adventure", and the increasing irritation and then fury that the man comes to exhibit towards the boy are some of the funniest passages I have ever read. The ending is a bit daft but who cares? The whole premise is faintly ridiculous but I suspended my disbelief quite easily because I was laughing so much. Stephen Fry is outstanding as a narrator and overall I found this audiobook to be an incredibly enjoyable experience. RIP Tom Sharpe.
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Tom Sharpe is always violently funny, bawdy, rude beyond expectation and totally un-politically correct. This book follows that pattern precisely.

It tells the story of the rivalry between two masters at a below par public school. One obsessed by old fashioned adventure stories and the other obsessed with getting revenge on his rival. Throw in a stupid school boy who has been turned into a sociopathic killing machine and send them on a harebrained adventure into the wilds of France to rescue a countess who has no idea that she even needs rescuing and you have your story.

Fleshed out with sex, violence, politics and explosions it makes for a page turning read.

Having said that, this has none of the empathy that helps to cut this farcical slapstick and turn it into something more than a romp, the stuff that makes such classics of Wilt and Blott on the Landscape, which is a bit of a shame. Enjoyable but not a classic.
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on 8 November 2013
I bought this kindle copy for some light reading whilst on Holiday. I have all of Tom's books in paperback but I'm just not sure where at the moment.
It's been a good few years since I read a Sharpe novel and although this is not one of his best, it is none the less a witty and engaging read.
Like most of his novels it starts out with a seemingly normal situation which with the gradual introduction of a few unusual quirks along the way descends into an implausible farce. Such is the skill by which Tom reels you in that it takes a while to realise just how far he has carried you along. If you were to randomly open one of his books and start reading you would dismiss it as a ridiculous tale but by the time you reach that point, he has you hook line and sinker.
Going to start on the TS classics now.
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on 26 July 2002
For the benefit of the easily offended; DO NOT READ THIS.
Tom Sharpe has no respect for the PC culture as all of his best books were produced before anyone had heard of Political Correctness.
For the rest of us... this book is so funny you will embarrass yourself if you read it on public transport.
Sharpe seems to do what all of us have dreamed of, to ridicule, in print, those teachers who gave him a hard time at school and to point out they are all kids, and bullys themselves who never had the courage go out into the big wide world they sent us to.
Just try it!
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on 25 July 2000
There is no reason why Tom Sharp could not justifiably be considered one of Britain's greatest living novelists. His novels employ a clever and original brand of laser-sharp satire which, in the case of "Vintage Stuff", is used to attack public schools, intellectuals and, as always, the middle classes. The novel is set against a backdrop of middle-class suburbia which is portrayed as a dangerous place whose occupants cannot control the anarchy that continually explodes around them. Behind the thin, hypocritical veil of respectability, the novel's characters are purely motivated by money, sex and an intense desire to conform. If love exists then it is primal and disturbing, such as Mrs Clyde-Brown's protective, blind love for her murderous, idiot son Peregrine. Despite being characterised by hilarious misunderstandings and sexual innuendo, Tom Sharpe's world is humourless and grim; yet still effectively hits the values promoted in our society right between the legs. However, "Vintage Stuff" is still somewhat disappointing as, compared to Sharpe's South-African novels, it never really gets into gear. There are some hilarious moments towards the end, yet they don't live up to the novel's meandering build-up. If you want to see Sharpe at his brightest, it is probably best to look elsewhere.
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on 22 December 2005
Vintage Stuff is a hilarious classic from the best-selling writer, Tom Sharpe.
When Peregrine Clyde-Brown is sent to Groxbourne school by his father, he is in a for a surprise. Peregrine does very well at his new army training school but Peregrines problem is not his forever failing O-levels or his brutal dad's threats but the fact that Peregrine takes everything literally. When Mr Glodstone tells Perry about fantasy adventures in distant countries, Perry is enthralled and when Glodstone starts receiving letters from a mysterious "damsel in distress", Peregrine and Old Gloddie set of on what seems to be the biggest task of them all. But will everything end so happily ever after?
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on 14 September 2001
"Stephen Fry adds even more wit and character to this hilarious novel by the fabulous Tom Sharpe. His sheer enthusiasm shines through in non-stop riotous humour, wickedly poking fun at the upper middle classes and typical english private education. Fry encaptures the exact psyche of Glodstone, who, trapped in a world of train sets and adventure heroes goes on a fateful mission which seals his worst and funniest nighmares".
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on 25 August 2014
An average Tom Sharpe, normally I am restricted in how many pages I can read, constantly wiping the tears from eye's, but not in this case. There are a few laughs but not as many as the Wilt books. It is still a pleasant read.
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on 28 March 2014
Starts off what might appear to be ordinary: a satire on useless private schools? But no. Establishes itself as a brilliantly structured almost inexplicable plot that says "dont't stop". Which could almost be a line...
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on 14 December 1999
This book starts slowly, and gradually builds up to a manic head of hilarious steam. I laughed so much I ached. This is less incisive than his novels of Apartheid South Africa, but this time his targets are the idiots who inhabit English Public Schools and end up running our country. Or is it the ludicrous system itself? It's a madcap romp as teacher Glodstone and his idiot homicidal pupil set out to save a French damsel in distress, leaving a trail of surreal destruction in their wake. One of Sharpe's less recognised books, but in my opinion it's his funniest.
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