I’ll be honest with you, I’m a fully paid up member of the David F Ross fan club and have been ever since opening up The Last Days of Disco back in late 2014. I love his brand of bittersweet humour and the relentless optimism of his down at heel characters as they suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
Welcome to the Heady Heights is his fourth novel, breaking away from the Disco Days trilogy that preceded it but retaining all of their West Scotland charm. Some of the themes get pretty dark and some of the characters demonstrate traits that are all too repugnantly real, but the determined villains are offset by another ragtag of wonderful human beings kicking at the shins of life.
Archie Blunt is exactly what he thinks he is, deep down a decent guy, but he’s struggling to cope with the hand that he’s been dealt. A crap job, widower to a wife he loved but to whom he never properly expressed it, a father losing himself to dementia, struggling to hold it all together under the financial and emotional pressures of being a normal bloke in an unforgiving world.
He’s joined by Gail, a freelance journalist on the trail of justice, and Barbara, a pioneering WPC in a police station of glass ceilings and in your face prejudice, as well as a gaggle of freewheeling friends and associates catching a croggy on his ride towards fame, fortune, disappoint and redemption.
Not everyone in Archie’s story is a good guy though, some of them are downright nasty and what’s worse is they have the money and the power to get away with it. When their paths begin to cross it’s an engrossing tapestry of high jinks and belly laughs mixed with righteous anger and heart-breaking tears.
At its heart, this is a love letter to the city of Glasgow, warts and all, but it has such a big heart that it can encompass us all. It is a celebration of the struggle to live that we all face to some degree or other. Go out and buy David’s books and in doing so hopefully inspire him to write some more.
Archie Blunt is a man with big ideas. He just needs a break for them to be realized. In a bizarre brush with the light-entertainment business, Archie unwittingly saves the life of the UK’s top showbiz star, Hank “Heady” Hendricks, and now dreams of hitting the big-time as a Popular Music Impresario. Seizing the initiative, he creates a new singing group with 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 hilarious, poignant nod to the elusivity of stardom, in an age when “making it” was “having it all,” Welcome to the Heady Heights is also a dark, laugh-out-loud comedy, a heartwarming tribute to the 1970s and a delicious drama about desperate men, connected by secrets and lies, by accidents of time and, most of all, the city they live in.
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 debut novel The Last Days of Disco was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and received exceptional critical acclaim, as did the other two books in the Disco Days Trilogy: The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas and The Man Who Loved Islands.