At the age of fifteen Danny May has just one dream- to be an artist, and to go - like John Lennon before him - to Liverpool Art School. Living in Toxteth with his mother and five sisters, Danny meets Nicole and falls in love. She's clever, politically aware, and astonished at how unworldly an inner-city kid can be. n the autumn of 1980 Danny receives the devastating news that the Art School's funding has been withdrawn by the new Tory government. He slides into apathy, robbing, drug dependency. Nicole stands by him, trying desperately to break his depression, but when he burgles her parents' house she abandons him and leaves for Paris. Their love affair, played out to a soundtrack of Bowie and Joy Division, is grand, romantic and doomed. hen, in July 1981, he finds himself sucked into the longest, most exhilarating and frightening day of his life. Set on fire by rioters, Toxteth is ablaze. Danny, transfixed, starts to paint versions of the same picture, over and over again. His subject is Toxteth in flames. e writes to Nicole, a cry for help. She hears him and tracks him down
Kevin Sampson is the author of seven novels - Awaydays, Powder, Leisure, Outlaws, Clubland, Freshers and Stars are Stars - and a work of non-fiction, Extra Time. He lives and works in Liverpool.