'Higher education comes at exactly the right time: in the twilight of your teens, you're just starting to coagulate as a human being, to pull away from parental influence and find your own feet. What better than three years in which to explore the inner you, establish a feasible worldview, and maybe get on Blockbusters.'
After an idyllic provincial 1970s childhood, the 1980s took Andrew Collins to London, art school and the classic student experience. Crimping his hair, casting aside his socks and sporting fingerless gloves, he became Andy Kollins: purveyor of awful poetry; disciple of moany music, and wannabe political activist. What follows is a universal tale of trainee hedonism, girl trouble, wasted grants and begging letters to parents.
A synth-soundtracked rite of passage that's often painfully funny, it traces one teenager's metamorphosis from sheltered suburban innocent to semi-mature metropolitan male through the pretensions and confusions of trying to stand alone for the first time in your own kung fu pumps in a big bad city.
It's perceptive, moving and excruciatingly funny. A treasure
Collins' easygoing charm is hard to resist. A welcome visitor into any home that houses a Nick Hornby or a Tony Parsons
Beautifully observed, cleverly narrated and very readable, it's like being part of the great unwashed again
Entertaining and surprisingly familiar read ... Even for those of us who were still in pre-school at the time, the joys and lows are all given an added relevance via the author's emulation of Nick Hornby's self-deprecating humour. Like High Fidelity, if it had been written by a teenage Rob Fleming