Male friendship

My dazzling chum: Mayflies, by Andrew O’Hagan, reviewed

Presumably because a small part of it takes place in Salford, the epigraph to Andrew O’Hagan’s latest novel consists of four lines from Ewan MacColl’s ‘Dirty Old Town’. More fitting, though, might have been six words from the Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’: ‘Teenage dreams, so hard to beat.’ The first half of the book follows a group of lads from Ayrshire as they excitedly prepare for, excitedly travel to and excitedly attend a post-punk music festival in Manchester in 1986. The narrator is the bookish 18-year-old Jimmy Collins, whose life bears a close resemblance to O’Hagan’s at the same age and time. But the focus is firmly on his friend Tully