Eight Days A Week
Alyson, Boston, 1985
dedication: This is dedicated to the one I love.
The blurb on the back:
Can Johnnie Ray Rousseau, a 22-year-old black gay aspiring nightclub singer, find happiness with Keith Keller, a six-foot-two blond bisexual ex-football jock who works in a bank? Will Johnnie Ray's manager ever get him booked on the Merv Griffith Show? Who was the lead singer of the Shangri-Las? And what abut Snookie?
I feel I ought to explain the inclusion of this one since it's mostly a gay love story set in the pre-AIDS era, which isn't the kind of subject that falls naturally within the Trash Fiction brief. However, we make an exception here because the narrator is a singer with a passion for classic oldies - the Acknowledgements thank 'the Crystals, the Ronettes, the Shirelles, Darlene Love and the Shangri-Las' - and because the portrayal of life as an artist working the bars and clubs of late-70s LA is thoroughly convincing: the gap between the fantasy of stardom and the reality may not be an original theme, but it's damn well done here.
Actually, everything is damn well done. However slight the story, the sheer ease of the writing style is really lovely - it takes both talent and hard work to seem this effortless, in the same way as it takes vast quantities of both inspiration and perspiration to create something as simple as the Dixie-Cups' 'Chapel of Love'. A comparison of which I expect Mr Duplechan ('not just another black, gay, rock 'n roll ukulele player,' according to his website) would approve.
The only problem I have with the entire thing is the cover, which does nothing to enhance my mind's image of the characters: bear in mind that the blond banker nicknames our hero KT after Tutankhamen and you'll see what I mean.
That gripe aside, it's a charming book.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 4/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 2/5