The Girl with Brains In Her Feet
Leicester, 1972. T-Rex are chewing up the charts and Jack, a mixed race teenager with a lot more than schoolwork on her mind, has a hectic month of growing up to do. This is coming-of-age, Midlands-style: forget the Prom, corridor passes and making out at the drive-in. Think Baked Alaska, the Colgate ring of confidence and sneaky cigarettes behind the bike sheds.
When we first meet Jack it's the day of her first period and just four weeks before she has to run the race of her life for a place on the county athletics squad. Convinced she is champion material, her bullish PE teacher, Mr Loughborough, is piling on the pressure to train hard, and buys her a long-coveted pair of swanky red trainers to demonstrate his commitment.
But a 13-year-old's life is not just one long 200 metres: Jack shines in academia and art class as well as on the track, and she's got her eye on a rather handsome classmate called Steven Green. Sex, 'frigging' and the big 'V' are the subject of every school bus seminar and playground pow wow. And Jack's mum Vivian is determined to keep a beady eye on her daughter's new-found interest in matters carnal. Vivian is also convinced her daughter is about to be offered a cocktail of class A drugs on every street corner.
While on a school cross-country run up to the local tourist trap and nookie spot, Jack is approached by Spanner, a David Cassidy look-alike with a nice line in cannabis consumption and floppy hair. He introduces Jack to the delights of getting slowly wasted in the sun. Meanwhile Jack's best friend Maxine sets her pal up in a garage tryst to do the deed with Steven Green and his spotty mate Poor Bastard. But the three of them are disturbed by a local policeman. By now determined to throw off her cumbersome virginity, Jack steals a handful of contraceptive pills from her mum's bedside cabinet and finally gets together with Spanner...