Northern Boy

Meet Rafi Aziz, an ABBA-loving ten-year-old growing up in early ‘80s Lancashire. Flamboyant, sensitive and confused about his feelings for the new boy in school, Rafi is a butterfly among the bricks.


He has to face bullies, challenge the shifting expectations of his eccentric mother and break out from the confines of his smalltown world if he is to be true to himself.


Rafi isn’t prepared to leave his childhood behind without one final flourish of high kicks, a swish of sequinned cape and his impeccably Brylcreemed head held high.

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Despite being in Mother’s bad books, nothing could sour my weekend. I had the letter in my hand from school, confirming I was taking part in the ABBA recording along with the rest of the choir. It was like having a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

I whooped and clutched it to my chest, singing “Voulez-Vouz” and whirling and jumping around. This eventually led to a more concentrated bout of spinning on the spot: if the magic letter in my hand wasn’t going to let me become Wonder Woman, nothing was. As I twirled, I casually tossed the letter from my hand, like Diana Prince throwing aside her glasses before the big transformation.

I corkscrewed to the floor in a dizzy heap. It hadn’t worked, but the letter was real! 

There was just one problem: the letter needed to be signed by a parent or guardian, authorising our absence from school and giving permission for us to be filmed. Given Mother’s current mood, the chances of this happening were less than zero. 

I am represented by Robert Caskie

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