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The Independent Travel
Is Harry on the Boat? by Colin Butts

(pounds 8.99, Tuesday Morning Publishing)

Like the chalet girl, the holiday rep has been turned into a bit of a stereotype, never more so than when the holiday in question is of the "Young, Free and Single" variety. Excesses of alcohol, sex, drugs and raving are all de rigueur among the reps in Colin Butts's saucy tale of a season in Ibiza.

Despite the author's attempts to spice up his life story with what appears to be a spoof biography (he claims to be a descendent of the Russian royal family and a NASA recruit), the novel is based on real events and experiences. The anecdotes Butts has collected during his time in the resort are turned into racy dialogue and action, which delve deeper than even fly-on-the- wall documentaries dare to go. For these reps, back-handers, sexual diseases, alcohol-poisoning and even death are all part of a week's work.

Their lifestyle is summed up in the words of the book's dubious hero, Brad, "There are no nice reps. We're all egomaniacs who think we can sleep with anyone we want to". The same could be said of the clients, who are more than willing to do as they are told. "Because they're on holiday, they don't wanna have to make decisions. They don't wanna have to decide where to go - it's a lot easier if we do it for them."

But paradise starts to lose its appeal as the constant drinking and lack of sleep take their toll. Brad even gets bored with sex. The answer for some is to take their minds off the trials of holiday life with a cocktail of easily obtainable drugs. Others plan even more corrupt schemes to make their fortune at the expense of the clients and the travel company.

Like its subject matter, this book is a cracking holiday read (as long as you are not on a "Young, Free and Single" trip). But, if you secretly believe there is a cultural side to Ibiza, you won't find it here.

Start packing your clubbing gear now, or vow never to go near the place.

Rating 6/10

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