Key Themes: fiction, relationships, anxiety
To Alex, his new mate McEwan is just a loud wild-boy with nerve, raging at authority and injustice. But when he learns that McEwan is quietly cutting and burning himself, Alex doesn't want to know (his Dad did himself in, and that still hurts too much). McEwan's increasingly disturbed behaviour pushes Alex's friendship to the limits. If only boys would talk more. The joys and madness of Brixton Hill and Streatham High Road amplify Alex's funny, edgy tale of young male friendship, distress and denial. A witty and conscious work of fiction that will resonate with anybody who see a bit of either Alex or McEwan in them.
After a degree in English literature and comparative religion at Leeds, John worked with adolescents in Yorkshire, taught briefly in Suffolk, then became a London hotel porter before training as a social worker and working in mental health. He now works for the national charity Together: Working for Wellbeing (formerly MACA) and lives in south London with his family.
I saw him at the enrolling. There were hordes of us in the gymnasium, alphabetically divided. You could see him from the back even though he'd hacked his little red dreads off. McEwan. Smoking against the rules. Good boy.
He looked round once, didn't see me of course, wouldn't recognise me anyway, being dressed up, different from school. I felt nervous. Everyone else was screaming and jerking about like party kids. I knew some of them. But McEwan was on his own, like me. A bottle sticking out his pocket.