When I heard about David Clark’s The Death of a Disco Dancer, which was recently published by Zarahemla Books, I tracked down his contact information because I remembered his Irreantum short story, and I was very intrigued by the premise of the novel, and there were some things I wanted to ask him about. I’m very pleased that he agreed to do an interview:
The very first question that came to mind when I saw the title was: why is it titled after a song by the Smiths? Let me restate that: why is it titled after a *great* song by the Smiths. One of my personal favorites.
“Death of a Disco Dancer” is definitely one of my all-time Smith’s favorites; actually, it’s one of my all-time favorite songs, period. As I was writing the novel, I knew that there would be death — physical, intellectual and social — that a few of the different characters would experience. I also knew that one of the characters, the narrator’s Grandmother, would suffer from dementia and would be obsessed with a Saturday Night Fever album cover (which I’ve always thought was an absolutely hilarious and ridiculous image, in a very “˜70s sort of way). So, with these ideas percolating in the back of my mind — that there are different types of “death” or catastrophe in life — and the fact that the narrator’s grandmother was obsessed with arguably the most recognizable pop culture image of the somewhat unfortunate disco era, as I was driving home from work one day, the Smiths’ “Death of a Disco Dancer” came on. The first line of the song, says, very heavily and melancholically, “The death of a disco dancer, well it happens a lot “˜round here”¦” And, with that, it just clicked. I thought it was, like any great Smith’s song, goofy, ridiculous, enigmatic and yet poignant, and it seemed like a perfect match for the entire tone of the novel. From then on, despite a universality of raised eyebrows from those I shared the novel with, I knew there could be no other title. Continue reading “An interview with David Clark, author of The Death of a Disco Dancer”