The unlikely friendship between Johnny Jarvis and Alan Lipton begins in their last year at a comprehensive in Hackney: Jarvis, the loveable clown with a surprising talent for welding, and Lipton, the apparently talentless reject, fantasising about the future and the father he has never met. At the end of the year, they have to confront the adult world.
Lipton and Jarvis encounter the amazing Stella for the first time. Turner finds work of a fairly eccentric kind. Jake remains mysterious and evasive. For both Lipton and Jarvis, their relationships with their fathers take a dramatic turn.
Life at the squat for Stella and Lipton isn't easy. Jake has disappeared again. Both Lipton and the mysterious "Colonel" want to find him - and the Colonel isn't too fussy about his methods. However, Turner is in work, if not earning money, and Jarvis is busy at Technical College, where he gets a girlfriend.