The Last Days of Disco

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Published Date: March 8, 2015

Available formats Paperback, Ebook

ISBN 9781910633014
RRP £6.99

ISBN 9781910633021
RRP £8.99

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 and great tunes.' Hardeep Singh Kohli

'Warm, funny and evocative. If you grew up in the Eighties, you’re going to love this.'Chris Brookmyre

'Dark, hilarious and heart-breaking.' Muriel Gray

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

‘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

‘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

‘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

‘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

‘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

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