Fashion victims

Christopher Hawtree savours the vulgar tale of a yuppie in peril; The Big Kiss by David Huggins Picador, pounds 12.99

Some readers of The Big Kiss might wonder why its author, the son of Jeremy Brett and Anna Massey, has the surname Huggins. Others could question his roping in the unholy crew of Will Self, Stephen Frears, Oscar Moore and Stephen Fry to provide - American-style - the back-cover puffs. Most, however, will not delay over such considerations but quickly get stuck into the "good jokes and good sex" touted by Frears.

Jokes fly from the beginning, but it is only in the middle, around page 100, that there is the sex, to whit: "Her wetness all over my face, she smelt faintly of cumin." This might have the more prurient among us speculating about Frears's tastes and also doubting that even such a culinary metaphor will deflect the gourmet Fry from his avowed celibacy. On the face of it, The Big Kiss offers another variant upon that familiar tale, the yuppie on the skids.

Steve Cork has long since graduated from a stall in Kensington Market to become a partner in a fashion enterprise. Its initial success led him to take out a mortgage on a large house by a golf-course in Roehampton only to find that sartorial whims are not paramount as recession continues. His wife is disgruntled.

It never takes much to awaken the animosity that seethes below the surface of commercial life. At the start, Steve finds himself able to set aside any concern about the strange, even murderous cries which come from his partner Alan's SW7 mews house. Such unconcern does not last long, for it turns out that it is Steve, rather than the alcoholic gay divorcee Tony, who is to get the chop in the restructuring process.

To give away much more of the plot would be unfair. One might safely reveal that, along the way, Steve is given to such hallucinations as the Capital Radio tower bulging before his eyes and a bargain-bin Habitat peppermill grinding perfectly. Not only are there such expected locations as wine bars (it is no advert for the Hilton) but also the psychiatric ward. This sounds grim, but The Big Kiss is far from solemn. One reads on avidly, reluctant to break off and find a pen to note down the jokes. No matter, for it is easy enough to flick back and find copious examples.

Chandler was more seamless and graceful, but Forties LA was not the rough- and-ready place that contemporary London is. Here, young women greet champagne with the words, "Wow! Rock-and-roll mouth-wash! Wicked!" And in Steve's marriage, "seven-year itch had developed into nine-year eczema".

New terror is brought to a screening of Jurassic Park. Not even this quite prepares one for a display of golfing prowess far removed from Updike or Wodehouse. It makes Dan Kavanagh's cheese-wire-round-the-groin scene in Duffy look the stuff of a Sunday tea-time serial. Or, as Oscar Moore puts it when describing the book, it's "a smacker on the gob that pushes its wagging tongue right inside your mouth and licks it dry". One appreciates the sentiment if not the expression. Let us simply say that The Big Kiss, vulgarity itself, offers choice sapidity.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Cover Supervisor

    £75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

    Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

    Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

    SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

    £1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam