Useful advice …

Missing: Porterhouse Blue

… should you ever find yourself in a South African jail, from Tom Sharpe:

“In prison they told me: ‘Make friends with the murderers,’” he told Britain’s Sunday Express. “‘Everybody else is afraid of them so if you’re with them the others leave you alone.’ That’s what I did. Good tip.”

Tom Sharpe, one of the funniest writers of the 20th century, died last month.

Born in 1928, he was the son of a British Nazi:

Years later, when Tom was a famous writer, he was invited to address a Jewish women’s group and began his talk with the memorable line, “You have probably not often been addressed by someone whose chief ambition, at age 15, was to be an SS officer.” Tom’s dad was the Ealing and Acton member of The Link (a pro-Nazi organisation) and also a member of the Nordic League. A loyal Nazi, he said he hated Jews “in the sense that I hate all corruption”. When the war began the family was on the run from the Special Branch, moving house time after time, always haunted by the fear that the minister would be consigned to the Isle of Man along with other Mosleyites. Tom’s father died in 1944, just too soon to see the film of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Belsen which utterly devastated Tom; he realised that everything he had been brought up to believe had been wrong and that Nazism was pure evil.

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