About The Last Days of Disco
Early in the decade that taste forgot, Fat Franny Duncan is on top of the world. He is the undoubted King of the Ayrshire Mobile Disco scene, controlling and ruling the competition with an iron fist. From birthdays to barn dances, Franny is the man to call. He has even played ‘My Boy Lollipop’ at a funeral and got away with it. But the future is uncertain. A new partnership is coming and is threatening to destroy the big man’s Empire … Bobby Cassidy and Joey Miller have been best mates since primary school. Joey is an idealist; Bobby just wants to get laid and avoid following his brother Gary to the Falklands. A partnership in their new mobile disco venture seems like the best way for Bobby to do both at the same time. With compensation from an accident at work, Bobby’s dad Harry invests in the fledgling business. His marriage to Ethel is coming apart at the seams and the disco has given him something to focus on. Tragic news from the other side of the world brings all three strands together in a way that no one could have predicted. The Last Days of Disco is a eulogy to the beauty and power of the 45rpm vinyl record and the small but significant part it played in a small town Ayrshire community in 1982. Witty, energetic and entirely authentic, it’s also heartbreakingly honest, weaving tragedy together with comedy with uncanny and unsettling elegance.
This book was not to my taste but I cannot deny the authors talent. This was too coarse and masculine for my liking, nonetheless it is a masterpiece in its own right.
The setting is brilliant. The Falklands War is highlighted along with government excerpts dispersed throughout. This really gives you a sense of the time and tension of country and people. Politics pepper the narrative just enough to add as opposed to take away from the overall plot and players. Another strength, I felt immersed in Kilmarnock – the dialogue, the slang, the people. The area felt too familiar which isn’t a surprise since Ross is more than familiar with the area, he manages to pull the reader into this colorful hamlet. At times the accent was a challenge to read, however, it made the reading experience totally authentic.
The characters are a motley bunch. There are numerous players a few stronger than others, some bit players with a known presence, as the story unfolds you become more familiar with their roles, and each one fits into the narrative with great surprise.
Ross captures the Cassidy family perfectly. Each member is sketched with great emotional detail. There are a few moments displaying such feeling and emotional clarity you will be moved. The family endures much yet despite their many fractures and dysfunctionality they pull together.
The music references will jar your memory to the sounds of the 80’s. The 80’s vibe is clearly felt, lots of nostalgia claiming your memories.
Despite this not being my cup of tea, it is well crafted and quite a showpiece. I look forward to more from Ross, his gift cannot be denied. Stirring debut.
About David F. Ross
David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964, and he lived in various part of the city until the late ‘70s. He subsequently moved to Kilmarnock, where he has lived since. He was educated at James Hamilton Academy until being politely asked to leave. (Expulsion is such a harsh word, isn’t it?) Following a frankly ludicrous early foray into sporadic employment (Undertakers, Ice Cream Parlour, Tennis Groundsman, DJ … he’ll save these stories until he knows you better), David found himself at Glasgow School of Art, studying architecture. In 1992, he graduated from the Mackintosh School of Architecture. He is now the Design Director of one of Scotland’s largest, oldest and most successful practices, Keppie Design. (Funny old world, eh?)
David has worked all over the world and he led his practice strategy for projects in countries as diverse as China, Egypt, Malaysia, India and Libya. He is a designated business leader for East Ayrshire Council, a Board Mentor for Entrepreneurial Spark and he was design advisor to Strathclyde Passenger Transport for their modernisation programme of the Glasgow Subway in advance of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. He is married to Elaine and has two children, Nathan and Nadia, who have both signed legally binding agreements to house him in the best Old Folks Home his money can buy. He is a Chelsea fan – from long before the cash-rich days – and occasionally writes stream-of-consciousness rubbish for @ByTheMinChelsea and other @ByTheMinSport feeds on Twitter.
David’s most prized possession is a signed Joe Strummer LP, and The Last Days of Disco is his first novel. Anything else you’d like to know?
Published December 5th 2014 by ORENDA BOOKS