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.
I adore a good retro story – especially when it is set firmly in my era, as a child of the 80’s for me this was funny, sometimes sad, always heart warming and I spent the entire reading experience in a daze of nostalgic innocence.
The Cassidy family are a delight, Mr Ross managing to weave around them a tale that is at turns hilarious and tragic, capturing the sense of the era perfectly – a homage to the music of the time embedded into the tale in a beautifully elegant way which gives the whole thing a depth and emotion that moves it beyond a simply family drama, evoking an emotional response in the reader that will stay with you long after reading it.
Set as it is in the Thatcher era, war looming with the Falklands, a time I remember well although from a teenagers point of view, we follow Bobby as he sets up his Disco venture, attempting to rival that of “Fat Franny” – a marvel of a character who kind of grounded the story for me – the writing is witty, ironic, perfectly paced and will drag you into that place and time in very short order. Gary’s story is compelling as we see him through army training and hovering over all this is the very real threat the Falklands war. It is amazingly well drawn, authentic and it is actually quite difficult to review in the sense that nothing I say can quite capture the ambience of it.
It is a tale of consequences, with heart and soul, a coming of age tale set in difficult times, David Ross has written a terrific terrific story that will have you laughing out loud one moment and sobbing into your pillow the next. Once I had gotten my head round the Scottish flavour of it all (brilliantly real unsurprisingly) there was no stopping me and I read it fast – the musical imagery at the core will have you putting your dancing shoes on, I challenge anyone to read this book and not end up having a boogie – but the heart of it is emotionally resonant and absolutely unforgettable.
Highly Recommended. Get your dancing shoes on!
David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night. His most prized possession is a signed Joe Strummer LP.
The Last Days of Disco is published by Orenda Books and is Available Now.
Find out more here: http://www.davidfross.co.uk/
Follow David on Twitter here https://twitter.com/dfr10
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