Twenty-year-old Nicky Hutchinson returns to Newcastle in 1964 after several months working in the southern United States, where he participated in the emerging Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans. He first visits his girlfriend, Mary Soulsby, who is living with her parents and her disabled brother Patrick. He later has a small birthday gathering with Mary, his parents, Felix and Florrie, best friend George 'Geordie' Peacock and local councillor Eddie Wells, a friend of Felix's. After arguing with Felix about his past involving the Jarrow March, Nicky begins to campaign for the Labour Party in the upcoming election, much to the annoyance of Felix. Geordie introduces Mary to his friend Terry 'Tosker' Cox, who immediately begins to make romantic gestures towards her despite the presence of Nicky. Eventually, after feeling that Nicky is spending too much time with the Labour Party and no longer has time for her, Mary has sex with Tosker, which leads to her getting pregnant. Geordie, ...