A not-so-guilty secret of mine is the enduring appeal of the bawdy ‘laugh-out-loud’ passages in Tom Sharpe’s novels, and since his demise I have to say that I’ve missed them. So how did a family discussion on the geographical origins of the surname ‘Otway’ (family friends) bring Sharpe’s prose back to mind?
Well, it seems that Management couldn’t remember John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett’s rendition of ‘Really Free’ (not that it had anything to do with our conversation). Nor did she know that the song had come to the public’s attention via an appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Writing in the Independent a few years ago, Robert Chalmers reflected on the event in pure Tom Sharpe fashion:
“… Otway vaulted on to a PA tower and overbalanced. He brought down the speaker stack but fractured no bones when he landed on the sharp corner of a bass cabinet as the impact was cushioned by his testicles“.
You can watch it here.