Last Days of Disco by David F Ross
View Gallery

The Last Days of Disco

Published Date: 18th November 2014

Ebook, Paperback, Hardback

$0

EBook
9781910633014
£6.99
December 2014
Paperback
9781910633021
£8.99
March 2015

Description

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. A simply stunning debut.

.

‘Full of comedy, pathos & great tunes’ Hardeep Singh Kohli

.

‘Warm, funny & evocative’ Chris Brookmyre

.

‘Dark, hilarious & heartbreaking’ Muriel Gray

.

‘Like the vinyl that crackles off every page, The Last Days of Disco is as warm and authentic as Roddy Doyle at his very best’ Nick Quantrill

.

‘If you lived through the early eighties this book is essential. If you didn’t it’s simply a brilliant debut novel’

John Niven

.

‘Ross perfectly plays the nostalgia card through the music and TV shows of the day, transporting readers back to the decade that, arguably, set the UK on the destructive political path it follows even now … By turn hilarious and heart-breaking, more than anything Ross creates beautifully rounded characters full of humanity and perhaps most of all, hope. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It’s rude, keenly observed and candidly down to earth. You should read this, especially if you were 18 as the Falklands Conflict developed and recall the fear those call up papers might be dispatched at any moment’ Scotsman

.

‘There’s a bittersweet poignancy to David F. Ross’s debut novel, The Last Days of Disco’
Edinburgh Evening News

.

‘The Last Days of Disco is a scream, an early 80s teenage dream of vinyl and violence, where Phoenix Nights meets Begbie – catfights and kickings at the disco, polis, payoffs, Masons, pals, and a soundtrack ‘Kid’ Jansen would be proud of … David Ross’s debut novel punches the air and your face, hilarious and raging; a falling glitterball. Thatcher’s Kilmarnock is the coalition’s Kilmarnock, where the politics is bitter but the kids are alright; the last days of disco are the days we still dance in. This is a book that might just make you cry like nobody’s watching’

 Iain MacLeod, Sunday Mail

.

‘The author himself grew up in Kilmarnock and his book gives a poignant portrayal of the humour and the horror of growing up in a small town in Scotland in the early 1980s. Crucially Ross’s novel succeeds in balancing light and dark, in that it can leap smoothly from brutal social realism to laugh-out-loud humour within a few sentences. It is a triumphant debut novel, which announces a real new talent on the Scottish literary scene’
Press and Journal

.

‘Ross perfectly plays the nostalgia card through the music and TV shows of the day, transporting readers back to the decade that, arguably, set the UK on the destructive political path it follows even now … By turn hilarious and heart-breaking, more than anything Ross creates beautifully rounded characters full of humanity and perhaps most of all, hope. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It’s rude, keenly observed and candidly down to earth. You should read this, especially if you were 18 as the Falklands Conflict developed and recall the fear those call up papers might be dispatched at any moment’ Edinburgh Evening News

.

‘More than just a nostalgic recreation of the author’s youth, it’s a compassionate, affecting story of a family in crisis at a time of upheaval and transformation, when disco wasn’t the only thing whose days were numbered’

Herald Scotland

.

‘Ross levers the various plot-twists and turns effectively. He also knows his music and the numerous references give the book authenticity. You will be thumbing through old records (or the modern day equivalent) as a result of reading this novel.’ Danny Rhodes

.

FANTASTIC APPEARANCE: BBC Scotland Off the Ball

.

Longlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award

Author

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?



The sequel, The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas is out February 2016.

Website: www.davidfross.co.uk

Online Reviews

‘Councillor Douglas Reid said: “David has used his local knowledge of Kilmarnock to great effect in his novel. Kilmarnock is a great place to write about and I’m sure many people will recognise several of the places he mentions. If you haven’t already read it, I would urge you to do so; it’s a great read and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for the characters in David’s follow-up novel.’ East Ayrshire Council event report

.

‘I really enjoyed this book, and the effective manner in which David Ross controls the humour, emotion, and tragedy in equal measures. His characters are likeable, the comedy moments are genuinely funny, and the emotion isn’t over the top or exaggerated. This is a high quality, extremely well drawn, and assured debut from this new author. Highly recommended’ Books and Pals Blog

.

‘The novel contains many facades as Thatcher’s Britain takes its toll. The political debates and speeches found at the beginning of each chapter, are a constant reminder to the reader of the bigger picture during this time. the novel completely exceeded expectations. I laughed out loud, I was moved to tears and I couldn’t put the book down. The Last Days of Disco is a brilliantly written reminder of times past, good and bad, and I would highly recommend it’ Segnalibro Blog

.

The Last Days of Disco is the second book published by Orenda Books and it is another triumph – an absolute joy to read … Humour is a key element to Last Days and there were dozens of scenes which had me in stiches. Ross uses the reader’s benefit of 30 years of hindsight to set up some fabulous gags. However, there are some very emotive moments to share too. I was reminded of Trainspotting … but with disco rather than drugs! I loved everything about this book and have to award it a 5/5 review’ Grab this Book

.

‘I defy anyone not to be humming ‘Shaking Stevens’ when reading this. You will … This is a funny, charming, slightly crazy and intelligent tale … retro comic magic’ Northern Lass

.

‘This is David Ross’s first novel but he demonstrates a gift for expressing life that surely has more to give. There is a real empathy for people of all kinds in the pages, there are “good” people doing bad things and “bad” people doing good things, because people are not good or bad they are just people dealing with what is in front of them, imperfectly. This book is worth reading for that truth alone, but it also takes you on an emotional journey that reminds you what it is to be human, a fabulous debut’ Live Many Lives

.

‘The author has lived in Kilmarnock since a teenager and used his intimate knowledge of the area to craft an authentic recreation of the era that never falls prey to misty-eyed revisionism or caricature. Packed with social realism, humour, and pathos the book expertly recreates the epoch’s joys and tears … Readers of a certain age will be transported back to their youth and once again get to relive an age when Shakin’ Stevens was the UK’s biggest selling male solo act. For those who were born after the 1980s, The Last Days of Disco captures the decade in all its harsh monochromatic glory … Filled with characters that will make you want to laugh and cry, often in the space of a single page, Ross has written a tragi-comedic novel that might topple Trainspotting‘s crown and become Scotland’s favourite book of the last fifty years’ Andy Lawrence, Eurodrama

.

‘Initially, I found Ross’s use of Scots dialect, well, challenging (and it’s the reason I abandoned Trainspotting. Sorry, Irvine).  But please don’t be put off by it, because in continuing, you will discover a wonderful debut about adolescence, family, music, emerging sexuality and war. (Sex and death: what else is there?) … The Last Days of Disco is a strange mix of drama and farce. From about halfway through the novel, the Eastenders-esque drum bash moments, revelations where your mouth will drop, come thick and fast. That said, Ross is the master of bad taste comedy. Fancy a children’s entertainer who makes phallic balloon animals? Or sex in a shed involving a dry ice machine? Honestly, they say you couldn’t make it up, but Ross really can … I can’t wait to see the return of Joey in Ross’s next novel’ Amy Pirt, This Little Bag of Dreams

.

‘Set against a backdrop of rising unemployment levels and the brewing Falklands War, The Last Days of Disco – with its anger, wit and rebellion – is the novel version of an impassioned punk song. Indeed, if time and place constitute ‘characters’ in themselves, so too does music. It is music that has brought together the novel’s two central protagonists – the charismatic Joey and bumbling but likeable Bobby – as they attempt to eke out a living soundtracking such illustrious events as a Masonic retirement bash and a birthday party in the local Conservative Club. Clever anecdotal uses of ‘Up the Junction’ (Squeeze) and ‘Ghost Town’ (The Specials) lend the novel a strong sense of time and place, but it is its politics that breathes real authenticity into its pages … The humour is well-pitched and executed, in places even sublime – but David F. Ross has a talent for social angst, and it’s this I’d love to see more of in the future’ Louise Hutcheson, A Novel Book

.

‘It’s a strong premise and Ross handles the two threads skilfully, stepping backwards and forwards to follow the disco conflict through the local corridors of power … Rather as Jonathan Coe does with the ‘70s in The Rotters’ Club, Ross celebrates the music of the early ‘80s through the commitment and passion of Bobby and Joey to their favoured bands. I think there’s always a risk in writing about someone who has such passion – will it leave the non-believers cold? – but Ross easily brings it off’ Blue Book Balloon

.

‘Their adventures are hilarious, but life is not straightforward for most of the characters as it wasn’t for most people at that time. With Thatcher constantly buzzing in the background, like an unwanted wasp, for one reason or another: unemployment, the Falklands; it takes you right back to that era with an authenticity that is rare to find.’

 Sandra Foy, For Reading Addicts

.

The Last Days of Disco is a thoroughly enjoyable, uplifting and bloody hilarious book that’s shot through with a clear and knowledgeable devotion to music (“the beauty and power of the 45rpm” as the PR summary so succinctly puts it) and a wicked, wicked sense of humour … The main story arc is beautifully bolstered by a strong cast of supporting characters. From dubious party entertainers making phallic balloon animals and hapless van drivers to local gangsters (Fat Franny Duncan is one of those woefully unaware self-styled master villains so comedically-inept as to almost warrant his own novel), each with any number of laugh-out-loud moments … In his first novel, David F. Ross has given us a heady blend of social realism, tragedy, humour and Paul Weller. There’s not a dull moment in these pages and I wholeheartedly recommend getting your hands on a copy pronto’

Tony Hill, Mumbling About Music

.

‘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. The heart of it is emotionally resonant and absolutely unforgettable. Highly Recommended. Get your dancing shoes on!’ Liz Loves Books

.

‘Without delving too deeply into political motivations the whole novel is smartly framed with an awareness that is complimentary to the personal fall-out. You could say this is a book primarily centred around escapism. Each character has a reason, a need to escape and a route planned out with varying levels of success. I was surprised by how caught up I got in some of the more difficult moments of the book, how moved I was and how fascinated I was to see the characters concern work through it. The Last Days of Disco strikes the perfect balance between weighty socio-political commentary and witty observation. I laughed out loud a great many times and shrunk in sadness during the harder moments. A tragic comedy of deep family difficulties and the comedic coping mechanisms, it makes for a strikingly authentic and enjoyable read’ Laura Jones, Publish Things

.

Q&A with David F. Ross The Book Trail

.

First person feature, Culture, Irish Times

.

‘Ross has written a great coming of age novel that is full of wonderful prose and characters who are instantly likeable. At times the book is reminiscent of Irvine Welsh; Kilmarnock takes the place of Leith and Vinyl, rather than Heroin, is the drug of choice.  After reading The Last Days of Disco I’m pretty certain you will need another hit of David F. Ross’ Literature for Lads

.

The turf war with Fat Franny who fancies himself as the Disco King of Kilmarnock provides the Scottish banter and laugh out loud moments. And it’s the language – the Scottish vernacular – that really cements the book in the Scottish landscape. If you don’t speak Scottish dialect then you’ll have learned a few choice words by the end! When the tears flow, it’s because of the Falklands war and what that means for the young men who are forced to go out there and fight. And the tears do flow for there are some sad moments, poignant moments and a realisation via the political reminders at the start of chapters of what the situation was like for so many’ Susan Heads, The Book Trail

.

Debut Spotlight Shaz’s Book Blog

.

Q&A with David Ross Northern Crime

.

Where were you in ’82? Foyles guest blog

.

The Last Days of Disco is a nostalgic, heart-warming tale of music and gritty real-life set in Scotland in the 1980s. This is the author’s debut novel and the writing style is fresh and witty, packed with inviting Scottish charm and a fantastic set of characters. A wonderful book. David F. Ross excels in his weaving of humour and sadness into a novel which will have you feeling a range of emotions but ultimately marvelling at the signs of a great new author to follow’ Sophie, Reviewed the Book

.

Last Days of Disco is the new Trainspotting, brilliant writing! Irvine Welsh you have a new jock on the block! Thank you David F. Ross for a fantastic read and music set to go with it’ Atticus Finch (all main review sites)

.

‘David Ross captures the mood and spirit of the time impeccably, with a wonderful cast of characters and a fabulous soundtrack … there are definite echoes of the late, great, much missed Iain Banks here – there are plenty of comparisons to be drawn, with a sprawling Scottish small-town cast, delicately intertwined plotlines, social commentary and a deft turn of often quite black humour. It’s a remarkable debut from an author who I’ve added to my list of writers to watch in the future. He’s set the bar pretty high though, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!’ Espresso Coco

.

‘David F Ross may be a new name on the Scottish writing scene, but his skill at writing good comic scenes – which is actually very difficult – suggests he has a great future in front of him. This book’s the perfect pick-me-up for when you’re feeling down. If, like me, you’ve made the mistake of not reading it before now, then, as Fat Franny would say, “Sort it. Now.”’ Crime Worm

.

Books of the Year, Sandra Foy

.

‘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’ Discerning Reader

Reviews (2)

2 Comments

  1. Keith Nixon
    Keith Nixon 18th November 2014 at 2:28 pm .

    I picked up David Ross’ debut novel after a friend reviewed it on a well known indie blog site. I wasn’t disappointed.

    The story is set in 1982 and follows teenager Bobby Cassidy and his best mate Joey as they set out on a new venture – mobile disco. That Bobby has three significant issues – no money, no experience and lots of competition bothers Bobby not a bit. However Bobby is stepping on the toes of Disco King Fat Franny Duncan who’ll do anything to maintain his position and ego.

  2. Ryan Bracha
    Ryan Bracha 18th November 2014 at 2:29 pm .

    I have a strange affinity with Scottish authors, especially Christopher Brookmyre and Irvine Welsh. I find that they write with an honesty that just seems to shine through, and I love the challenge of deciphering the way they write the dialect and colloquialisms, which they achieve like no other nationality of author. My experience with this debut by David Ross was no different.