John Hay is one of the Common People. Growing up on the Common council estate in a London suburb in the 1960s and 1970s is at first idyllic. The Beatles, Blue Peter and The Beano fill the senses and soccer, scrumping and splits provide the pastimes. But encounters with the police, paedophiles, pretty girls and bullies soon bring down the curtain on childhood innocence. With his friends from the estate, John passes through comprehensive school and out into the world of work. Experiences with drink, drugs, petty crime and hooliganism quickly follow, and the boys enter a lifestyle of sustained nihilism. One follows a route to hard drugs; while the others relentlessly chase the crack, the laugh, the buzz. Finally, as his fortieth birthday approaches, John recalls those formative years and the characters. He reflects on the various paths their lives have taken in the meantime and mourns for the time when he never felt more alive. This process spurs him into doing something not even he can understand . . . In Common People, Martin Knight - best-selling author of Hoolifan and The Naughty Nineties, the highly acclaimed books on football hooliganism and working-class culture - evokes the places, the people and the times in an absorbing, entertaining style.

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