Walking across the playground to use the computers in the tech workshops, Will offers me a reason his tie is turned backwards today (apparently he was stressed, and in mourning).
Children of fourteen, particularly tactiturn children with borderline Asperger's, don't generally offer up conversational satellites such as this without reason, so I decided to challenge Will's normal disinclination to expand upon cryptic proclamations, and uncover the reason for the sort of stress that would prompt a boy to turn his tie the other way around, then chat about it.
Will patiently explains to me that his rock band are in trouble, to the tune of ten thousand pounds. I swallow the snort of disbelief and keep prodding for explanation.
It turns out that a year ago, Will and his friends needed money for equipment to set up a decent band. Rather than spend every weekend doing jobs till they could afford a guitar between them they took a more modern, practical route towards their futures.
They set out a business plan for world rock domination, took it to a local bank, who lent them a secured loan of five thousand pounds (around three thousand dollars?) in order to publicise the ban'ds gigs and buy equipment.
At a particularly good gig last week - possibly their best gig ever - in fact possibly their final gig ever, the euphoria of a good performance added to the pressure from the crowd, and the band decided the only appropriate ending to the set would be to smash all their instruments onstage in a squealing cacophonous finale, then crowd surf their way to the exit and leave.
(You see why I thought it important to mention the borderline Asperger's)
Therefore, Will and his band now have to pay back their five thousand pound business loan, and to secure for themselves another five thousand loan for replacement equipment if they are to make the money with which to repay the first loan.
I had to admit that if I had had such burdens at age thirteen or fourteen, I too may have turned my tie, in mourning.