Troubador Rasmus

Released: 28/10/2016

ISBN: 9781785893612

Format: Paperback

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A Television Tale


Rasmus is a pitch-dark satire and a gloriously cynical swipe at a television industry that perhaps well deserves it. As funny as it is disturbing, this is an ambitious ‘State of the Nation’ novel which uses the hyperrealism of exaggerated reality to reflect back at us the often absurd and grotesque horror of 21st century TV and society. In this dark tale of wrecked morality, a visionary reality TV producer leads the public and his own competition to a point of corruption they never dreamed possible. Along the way, pets stampede, celebrities are eaten, and the world erupts in violence. The story revolves around three central characters – Rasmus, the mysterious visionary; Minty, ambitious TV producer and wannabe first female Director General; and Hugo, affable but bumbling BBC Head of Vision. How these characters interact ultimately determines the course of events and drives the plot towards its shocking conclusion. Written in three parts, the story is set mainly in London, but also travels far and wide – Russia, China, Africa, Papua New Guinea and South Wales, amongst other exotic locations. Rasmus is an imaginative, unusual and intelligent work that asks some difficult and pertinent questions about the world in which we live. Rasmus is a must-read for all who work in the television industry, as well as all those with a concern about how and where both TV and modern British society are going – and why.

21.8.20 Some great reviews coming in, from magazines (BCSA) and social media. Two radio interviews lined up too. Lockdown has had a big effect on medic coverage because most magazine etc offices have been close. However, I hope reviews trickle through more and more in coming weeks. SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE is a campus novel ideal for academics to read, so as they return to university, I hope they will discover it - though they might not like it! Satire speaks truth to power...

2.6.20 SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE - a 'Crump' campus novel was released on 28th March, just four days after lockdown! That has made marketing challenging, though promotion copies have been sent out, and replies received (from Sir David Attenborough, Edwina Currie, Matthew Paris - Times journalist - the Brigadier in charge of education at Sandhurst, the Academics For Academic Freedom Association and more).

I shall promote the novel more in September/October as it really is a novel all serious academic should read to see themselves - my satirical state-of-the-nation speaks truth to power, which will of course offend those bigoted wokies I lampoon, because satire always has a target and they are mine, together with other hypocrites in the higher education system and society generally.

I look forward to more reviews after lockdown - at present, many offices are still closed. Crump (2010) too 3 years to sell out of 1000 copies and got some great reviews, in time - especially in the USA and Canada.

So many people have told me how well-written, funny and moving the novel is, and how very timely. Those who cannot see this are almost certainly lacking the education to read an intelligent, satirical novel such as SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE and should perhaps stick to what they know.

October 2016

I am pleased to announce that RASMUS - A TELEVISION TALE will be published in OCTOBER 2016 (28th or earlier).

It has been a hard, but enjoyable, activity writing this complex 'state of the nation' novel - which is unlike any novel I have ever read - set against the backdrop of the TV industry.

I actually started it in 2011, have worked on it since then bit by bit while writing other books, and have more or less rewritten it twice (the first draft was 161,000 words; the published version around 96,000, so lots of cuts made!) It's a book to make people laugh, wince and think - which may not be very popular with some readers (who prefer happy romantic stories about weddings etc - which sell in their millions) but I could not bear writing a novel which had NOTHING to say. RASMUS has a lot to say!

And I can assure readers of one thing: when you read RASMUS you'll never look at TV in the same way again!


The book launch has gone well, with lots of positive feedback, and local shops such as Cover to Cover displaying the book prominently - in the shop window too!

I've also received positive feedback in response to some of the promotional copies I sent out: letters from the office of Prince Charles, Rowan Williams, a hand-written note from David Attenborough, and personal emails from Lord Digby Jones and Chris Woodhead, amongst others.

12 April 2010: South Wales Evening Post - article entitled 'Author's got A-list fanbase' published on page 12 with photo; the article calls 'Crump' 'a good read' and says that the 'author has won some famous fans with his debut novel'. Fair enough!

May 2010: Crump has got a great review in the May issue of The Bay magazine. It calls Crump "A startling novel".

May/June 2010: Also, Swansea Eye has got a review of Crump this month: again, a very good one! "The Lucky Jim" of now!

Crump will be available to buy at the Hay Festival site, May-June 2010.

July 2010 - Crump gets a mention on BBC Radio 2.

Pleased to report that Crump has now been read by people in Canada, the USA, Australia, Pakistan, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and in all parts of the UK.

10 August 2010: I was emailed the review that will appear in the September issue of 'Anglo-Files' (a twice-yearly magazine that goes to all schools and colleges in Denmark) by Futurum books (which sells books to schools and colleges in Denmark, Sweden and Norway). Apparently, the review (2000 words in Danish!) in 90% positive! The reviewer praises Crump for being:

“funny, frightening and thought provoking”

Describes what the market forces do to Crump's educational institution; Recommends the book for the English depot at the school; Recommends reading extracts in class; Draws parallels to Danish universities; Ends with various considerations about the future of the Danish educational system. Though the reviewer doesn't like the way Muslims are portrayed in the book!

19 August 2010: A review of Crump on today:

Generally positive, stating that Crump has:

"an engaging writing style, that grabs you from the first page and keeps you entertained throughout. The characters are writ large,... the satire easy to get to grips with, and it all flows nicely from the page...As comic novels go, it ticks enough of the right boxes and makes for an enjoyable, light read, perhaps for lounging around on the beach or by the pool. Frustrated teachers on their summer holidays will either find it blessed relief, or a little too close to the bone for comfort."


"Those who hate political correctness will love it."

19.8.10. Today, I became a member of The Society of Authors.

October 2010: did an email interview with The London Student, the biggest student newspaper in Europe.

November 2010: has been kind enough to do a review, again 90% positive:

It says:

"Intended as a darkly comical, yet loaded with truisms; Crump holds no punches – neither in terms of its use of very strong language, nor in its roughshod treatment of the inner workings of higher education."


"Crump is a stinging condemnation of how we have lost sight of the trees for the forest. Its comedic aspects are darker than dark, which won’t be to everyone’s taste. In fact, there will be, no doubt, those who will find this book unpalatable and perhaps offensive. Other will proclaim disgust loudly; whilst quietly agreeing with the vast majority of the author’s sentiments. In our terribly PC world, it is becoming increasingly rare for an author to express certain opinions"

And finally:

It "certainly send(s) the message that Vanston means business."

November 17 2010: review published online. Generally positive:

"Whatever else the book is it is thought provoking, holding many sacred cows of political correctness up for ridicule...Crump is very readable." now has an author profile and Crump feature page:


South Wales Evening Post

Morning Star

The Bookbag

Books Monthly

Brilliant (very) dark satire, not for the squeamish or easily offended. When Rasmus takes revenge he certainly does it to the nth degree. I can't honestly say I enjoyed this book, it would me more accurate to say I was totally captivated by it and couldn't wait to see what outrageous thing XTV was going to produce next; which I guess proves the author's point - we are all capable of loving the very things that disturb us!

by NetGalley reviewer

P.J. Vanston

P.J.Vanston is an award-winning author who has been a teacher and lecturer at schools and colleges in the UK and mainland Europe. He was born and brought up in Kent, but now lives in Swansea where he runs his own editing company. He also writes as Jem Vanston, has published seven books, and is published songwriter too.

Photo by Dimitri Legakis

Photo by Dimitri Legakis
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