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Spoz and friends: Tales of a London medical student

These delightful stories chart the stuttering and at times quite hapless progress of ‘the Spoz’, (so named by his brother ‘the Woog’) from Norwich schooldays through his time as a student at a prestigious London medical school in the 1970s. From his initial interview at St Thomas’ Hospital – an institution he chose because he had never heard of it and on that rather dubious basis thought he was more likely to be accepted – to his final exams, the book documents the author’s painful progress as an immature seventeen-year-old away from home for the first time. Sexually na?ve, he devotes much of his time attempting to lose his virginity, while his excessive beer-drinking hampers his success and results in several awkward brushes with the London constabulary. Chronically impecunious and homeless for several months, Spoz devises various hair-brained money-making schemes and ultimately has to take extensive time out of his studies to work on a nearby building site. From there he witnesses the bombing of Westminster Palace by the IRA, while his absenteeism from classes almost results in a premature end to his already unpromising career. While always infused with the author’s characteristic humour, the Tales of Spoz offer the reader a more serious yet unobtrusive social commentary on the problems of being a student in that era, charting the often tortuous transition of a group of young men from immature schoolboys to responsible young doctors.

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