In the early '80s Phil's father moves the family from an inner city slum to build a bright new life in Stevenage. But it's now the '90s and the dream has crumbled. After leaving school, Phil finds himself in the bewildering world of unemployment, violence, alcoholism and drug abuse. His best friend Ted disappears, Steven tries to conform to his parents' expectations, and Matt becomes engaged. Feeling alienated from his friends and dissatisfied with his existence, Phil becomes involved with Steven's brother Robert, a dangerously incompetent villain who is ever planning the "big job". Now trapped between two worlds - the criminal and the banal, it is the arrival of his vibrant and liberated cousin Shona that acts as the catalyst for Phil to expand his horizons. But on his horizon lies momentous decisions that will transform his world.