From the very beginning, Oliver Walzer is a natural - at ping-pong. Without even a bat (he plays with the Collins Classic edition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) he can chop, flick, half-volley like a champion. At sex, he is not a natural, being shy and frightened of women, but with tuition from Sheeny Waxman, fellow member of the Akiva Social Club Table Tennis team and stalwart of the Kardoma coffee bar, his game improves. Twink, Aishky, Sheeny, Louis: the Akiva boys teach Walzer everything there is to know about ping-pong, at least as it is played in the Manchester and District League. His father, Joel Walzer, market trader, teaches him everything there is to know about 'swag': Dutch pee-pee boys with Chinese faces, flowery wall plates, pouffes shaped like grand pianos. Unabashedly autobiographical, this story of one man's coming of age in the Manchester of the 1950s is hilarious and heartbreaking. It won the Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic writing when it was published in 1999.