Welcome to the Heady Heights
by David F. Ross
About the Author
David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for
over thirty 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. Since the publication of his debut novel The Last
Days of Disco, he’s become something of a media celebrity in Scotland, with a
signed copy of his book going for £500 at auction, and the German edition has
not left the bestseller list since it was published.
Praise for other books:
‘Warm, funny and evocative’ Chris Brookmyre
‘Dark, hilarious and heartbreaking’ Muriel Gray
It was the year punk rock was born, Concorde entering commercial service and a tiny Romanian gymnast changed the sport forever.
Archie Blunt is a man with big ideas. He just needs a break for them to be realised. In a bizarre brush with the light-entertainment business, Archie unwittingly saves the life of the UK’s top showbiz star, Hank ‘Heady’ Hedricks and now dreams of hitting the big time as a popular music impresario. Seizing the initiative, he creates a new singing group of five unruly working-class kids from Glasgow’s East End. Together, they make the finals of a televised Saturday-night talent show, and before they know it, fame and fortune beckon for Archie and the High Five. But there’s a complication; a trail of irate Glaswegian bookies, corrupt politicians and a determined Scottish WPC known as The Tank are all on his tail…
A perfectly placed book with humour, nostalgia for some and curiosity for others of 1970’s Glasgow life in the East End and the desire to escape and for a celebrity, to become more famous than he already is. Whether you lived through the 1970’s or not, it’s a great read and is accurately written and it all feels like Glasgow of that time. Okay, I didn’t live through these times, I confess, but I’ve certainly seen many documentaries on it and plenty of folk over the years have told me about this decade.
The setting is the East End of Glasgow and the book is set mainly in 1976 and begins in July 1976. The hottest summer on record since records began and still is. The year, even if, like me, weren’t even born then, that is so well documented and televised with pavements and roads cracking in the sheer heat that lasted a very long time, as I am sure those of you who were born then, will remember. It’s a good place I think for this book to start and it proves Scotland can get hot and even in the present day it can too, perhaps not quite like in 1976, but hot all the same at certain times of the year.
Archie dreams of a different and better life for himself than only living in the East End of Glasgow, which is described well for the times of the gangs, the toil of heavy work and shortned life expectancy. There’s a real sense of poverty that is captured within these pages. It’s a part of the area’s history, captured well in what is a fictional novel, but also is thought provoking, as is the political parts, that some things never quite change, hence politcal circles being a phrase…. This isn’t however a political story. It’s a book that really captures the 70’s within Glasgow. Even the 3 titles of the 3 parts are recognisably 70s and would bring a certain nostalgia to people and a curiosity perhaps to others. They’re cleverly thought out.
All the places mentioned are real and recognisable and even today Tulliallan is where the people are trained for the police. There’s a political and social element that really stands out when it is mentioned how single female officers like Barbara don’t really get considered for leave. I don’t know if that is the case within the force now, but certainly there’s still a thing within society about single females being treated differently. She is a strong woman who stands on her own two feet and was a successful activist in getting a law to protect women.
There’s a feeling of wanting hope for Archie, hope that the strives of life change for him. He’s got hope and optimism within his character that fits in rather well into the story. It isn’t overdone by any means.
This is a book with plenty of humour weaving through it as Glaswegian life goes on in both the East End and the more celebrity world.
The author has great strands of a story in this book as we learn of character’s stories, that are then cleverly pulled together.
All in all, this is a very original book with humour, but there is also a rawness of reality through its narritive. It’s worth picking up a copy and giving it a read.
I was pleased to be part of this blog tour for Orenda Books.