Richard Blandford - Flying Saucer Rock & Roll (3 stars)

Richard Blandford - Flying Saucer Rock & Roll

(Jonathan Cape)


For men of a certain age, Richard Blandford’s second novel will strike a (power) chord. The plot details Chris Hurry’s final years at school where the bands you align yourself with can make or destroy your social status. Chris discovers heavy metal and a whole new world opens up to him, going on to form a band with a similarly disaffected group of adolescents.

While rock’n’roll soundtracks the story, this is more an examination of peer pressure and the law of the playground than music. The weight of social constructs and the hierarchy of ‘cool’ mean friends are trampled in a search for acceptance. Blandford captures the awkwardness of youth with a deft realism, acknowledging the inherent cruelty that can come into play. The story does peter out as the characters leave the comfort of school but this still is a witty and sometimes poignant coming-of-age tale.

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