DEAR POPSY: COLLECTED POSTCARDS OF A PRIVATE SCHOOLBOY TO HIS FATHER
by Eric Bishop-Potter
World-famous publisher Andre Deutsch once described DEAR POPSY: COLLECTED POSTCARDS OF A PRIVATE SCHOOLBOY TO HIS FATHER as ‘the most decadent book I have ever published.’ Now Eric Bishop-Potter’s hilarious novel is to be re-issued as an e-book. A new paperback edition is to be published, too.
Dear Popsy tells in postcard form of the bizarre goings-on at St Cloud’s, an exclusive public school, where the boys prefer rouge to rugger and bondage to bunsen-burners. Writer of the postcards is Basil Leaf, who is sent to St Cloud’s to further his education. At first Basil hates the place. ‘It’s horrid,’ he tells his long-suffering father, the eponymous Popsy. But his spirits quickly lift when he chums up with the outrageous, ‘criminally pretty’ Gemini Tarqquogan, a fellow boarder, who paints his nails scarlet and wears frocks and feathers. Soon Basil and Gemini have a small but devoted band of followers – Father Absolute, Basil’s Father Confessor (‘such a wheeze and as common as muck’); Roy O’Brien, St Cloud’s rugger coach, whose ‘protege’, Courtney Durham, runs up curtains on his sewing machine; Hugo Bletchworth, a senior prefect with a passion for leatherwear, flogging and Courtney Durham’s mother; Nipper Thompson, a spirited jockey, who dyes his hair ‘the colour of cheese custard’ and is sacked by his guv’nor for wearing earrings at morning gallops; Marurice Le Vere, a former ballet dancer and manager of The Last Faerie, a notorious inn in town; Sir Geoffrey Grassington, a local magistrate and the proprietor of a palace of pleasure, wherein Basil and his chums bring comfort to wealthy gentlemen of unusual tastes…until the men from MI5 move in.
Dear Popsy is an outrageous, madly comic book, brimming with zip and exhuberance. Paul Cox’s line-drawings wittingly capture Basil and his chums in flagrante delicto. Michael Palin of Monty Python fame said of it: ‘Very, very funny…wonderful turns of phrase…carries on where “Decline and Fall” left off…I think I am jealous.’