Example: you can buy a 1 sausage biscuit, or one hasbrown, or one cup of coffee for a US dollar in the US. About US 1.50 will buy a grand sized plain coffee at Starbucks. Will a single pound by about the same thing?
Also ... 20 something average man from a working class background -- sees a very handsome man and is comparing him to a somewhat classic movie star. In the US, I'd pick Robert Redford. In Britain, who might it be? (era: 2000 - 2002, so basically, this day and age).
Finally, 20 something young man from a working class background. He dropped out of university without completing his course. He gets an opportunity to go back later -- can someone go back to University later? I gather you need to take the A levels, which -- to me -- look like what I'd define as the last two years of required high school here in the US. Are the A levels optional? In the US, you can go from high school, directly to most colleges and universities (depending on a whole host of things from money to grads to SAT scores and etc) but you don't need extra schooling besides the required public school years.
Can you enter a uni without taking A levels? Or years after school? Is it very unusual for someone to return to uni years after dropping out?
In the US, we have state universities, community colleges, two year universities etc -- a whole host of advanced education opportunities that can lead to degrees and all of them are potentially open to students of any age.
I've done my due diligence with Google on the prices and schooling but have no idea where to look for the info on cultural icons.
ETA: Wow, this turned out to be a very meaty post! Thanks everyone for all the good feedback, especially on upper level education and money. General consensus seems to be that quid is acceptable in most cases as a slang for pound, that an older student can go back to uni via access classes, but that a criminal record will make it more difficult and that it's also more possible in the UK (again, generally) to get work w/o a college degree than it is here.
There are a lot of cool links and discussions about money, education and so on in the comments if other folks stumble on this post and are interested in the topic.
Thanks again, everyone!