Alastair Strange is having trouble. His girlfriend Martha, tired of late night telly and takeaway pizzas, has reinvented herself as the real estate princess of Putney. His dream job has turned into a nightmare and his Dad's been arrested for burglary. Just when things couldn't get worse, along comes Alastair's old friend, society It-girl Tara, with a tantalising job offer. Alastair finds himself teaching media studies in an Ealing school. A cushy number, he thinks, but that's before Tara calls the favour in- The derelict Ealing Studios are next to the school - their presence haunts Alastair and acts as a continual motif for his story, combining the quirky wit and eccentricity of the Ealing films with an eye for the absurdities of modern urban life. Flat-sharing with the impossible Davenport, dealing with mysterious girls on the bus and disastrous blind dates, it would seem that there is, perhaps, one last comedy left in Ealing.
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Combining the subversive wit of Teachers with the charm and naughtiness of the Ealing comedies themselves... -- Time Out
The Last Ealing Comedy is a triumph -- Daily Express
I wrote this book partially as a homage to the Ealing comedy films of the forties and fifties. Not that I was around then - but they were always on tv on Sunday afternoons and they had the power, for me, anyway, to dispel the gloom brought about by knowing that tomorrow was Monday, and school, and all manner of other looming horrors. Which brings me to the other reason I wrote this book. I suppose I would say I am fascinated by the way people behave in large institutions - and the weirdest of all these, as well as being the one of which we all have some experience, is school. There can't be many people who haven't got a stock of stories about the absurdity of school - the strange rituals and customs, the mad rules, the curious personalities, some of whom seemed to have devoted their lives to the young at the same time as disliking them intensely.
I think what happens to Alastair in the book taps into a nightmare I used to have -where I found myself at a desk, back at school, about to sit some awful exam. And I would be insisting that this wasn't right, that I was a grown man, I had left school! Alastair thinks he's landed a cushy job, but instead he finds himself more or less back at school, his status little more exalted than if he was a snot-nosed member of the lowest year. I think I'm not the only person to have that nightmare - but hopefully, here, I've managed to get some fun out of it.
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Book Description Vintage, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 99273551