The Hairdressers of St Tropez by Rupert Everett
Sunday 30 April 1995
The upper-class thespian's second book is a catty satire about a menagerie of St Tropez wasters cracking up. The hairdressers of the title, a pair of "queeny dinosaurs", coiffe a parade of past-it glamour girls called things like Peach Delight and Whoopie du Bal. The duo swan around having hair tantrums and ego crises while a bunch of public school refugees with common-room nicknames like Geppie, Rockets, and Virgil, and Paul Yates (known as "Cerebral Paulsy") waste their lives with an array of drugs.
The narrative takes the form of a series of flashbacks by Mr Rogers, who has retired to Brazil and is reminiscing about this lost summer of his youth. Despite the structural problems involved in switching between alternate chapters of "Now" and "Then" - which makes a mess of the historic present used throughout - the weary tone of commentary is much the best thing about the book. "My life was trapped in the story I was telling," he says stoically.
The Martin Amis-like cruelty of their depraved times can be funny, if savage. At one point the narrator joins a gang who go and massacre some transvestites, and later a forest fire is remembered nostalgically: "I dream of that first great forest fire all those years ago that sent birds flying like fireworks through the air, and burning fieldmice screeching through the undergrowth." In fact Everett should be reported to the simile police. Tear ducts burst like breaking dams; early morning mists hang over the city like thick glue, tears build up behind fluorescent blue lashes like impatient commuters in an underground lift. A drunken TV personality whose "breasts are bursting out of her black decollete like two eager children in a cinema queue." eventually explodes like a car in a movie. If you prefer suds, salopes and seedy soft porn to the other four S's, this is the novel for you.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 4 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 5 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
First Look at Bryan Cranston transformed into LBJ for HBO’s ‘All the Way’ film
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
This little boy loves books so much that he cries when his mother stops reading to him
Prog rock finally comes of age with launch of the first Official Progressive Chart
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up