Becoming Nancy – Terry Ronald

BN2(Not discussed by the group but written in a personal capacity.)

The late 1970s are captured very well, with the trendy teachers, the Anti Nazi league, Rock Against Racism, Blair Peach, Abba and cheesecloth but there’s still a secondary modern school and an unusual one at that as it has a Sixth Form. The tastes in furniture reminds me of Paul Magr’s ‘Strange Boy.

Boys growing up uncertain about their sexuality had no role models. Larry Grayson, in Crossroads,is emulated by the hero of this book but most young men found him deeply alienating. They couldn’t possibly be ‘one of them’ if they weren’t camp. Interestingly, the hero’s family have no illusions about Grayson being celibate: a notion most of his fans believed so as to not be shocked that they liked someone who did ‘naughty things’.

It’s a bit liker many American coming out stories where the effeminate boy has a girl as his best friend falls for the jock. The boy also has an acid tongue when critiquing the fashion disasters of some of the girls and the women.

There’s a highly unprofessional and unlikely parents’ evening. However, at the time, the trendier teachers did offer cigarettes to `heir pupils – in school.

There’s a husband who insists on eating the same meal on each particular day of the week and hates his routine being altered – like the husband in the film Shirley Valentine. This is the husband who nicks things – the family get a new dishwasher only discover that there are some plates already in there when they plug it in.

There’s a marvellous vignette of tap room conversation: The two of them have been getting right up my nose for the last hour – putting the world to rights, as they saw it: what a marvellous bloody job Mrs Thatcher is doing, and what was the point of women being liberated when they spent most of their free time looking through catalogues at saucepans.

BN I had to look up ‘”kushdi”= cool.

And I think he has confused Melksham (Wiltshire) with Meltham (Yorskhire)

But it was a good read and will have you singing along to the show numbers from Oliver for some time afterwards.

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