Johnny Proctor – Ninety Six

Ninety Six” is the follow up to Johnny Proctor’s debut novel “Ninety”, a remarkable tale of a young Scot discovering football hooliganism, girls and, most importantly of all, Acid House and Ecstasy. Set in a small town in Fife, the story follows our protagonist (Steven Duncan AKA Zico) and his exploits over the course of his 16th year on this planet, 1990 – hence the title of the book.

“Ninety Six”, I’m sure you will not be surprised to hear, is set during 1996. So what has happened in the six years between the stories? Well, I can’t give too much away in case you haven’t yet read “Ninety” but the main change in Stevie’s life is his DJing, an artform he was just starting to get to grips with in the previous outing, has come on leaps and bounds. So much so that he’s now got a residency at Space in Ibiza, a club that needs no introduction. So he’s doing well for himself, needless to say. It’s an early doors residency but in Ibiza, the setting for almost the entire story, any time is party time so he’s always playing to a busy dancefloor. He’s also garnered himself a bit of a reputation for being a maverick, throwing in tunes that possibly no other DJ on the island has ever even considered. Clubbers who may not have known his name (DJ Selecao) before they entered Space, are in no doubt as to who he is once they leave.

Now 22, Zico is at a stage in his life where your average person would struggle to get through a weekend without enthusiastically taking part in the chemical side of things. Here we have a young lad “working” a few hours each week in the middle of party central. Needless to say chaos ensues, helped hugely along the way by his best mate Si, who has “bravely” packed in his job back home to support his mate abroad. His bravery knows no bounds as he parties away the days and weeks with Zico, as their time in Ibiza, both individually and together, takes us on a weird and wonderful trip from comedy to drama and whatever lies inbetween.

In “Ninety”, Johnny used some chapters to tell the story from the perspective of Lisa, Zico’s girlfriend. It was a brave move that could have backfired, especially trying to write from the viewpoint of the opposite sex. After successfully dipping his toes in the water with this novel way of telling the story, he takes it up several notches in “Ninety Six”. Although Zico still guides us through probably 50-60% of the tale, the rest is told through the eyes of various other characters including the aforementioned Si, Zico’s father Peter and his new wife Eva amongst others. This works so well and each character adds their own thing to the story without making you want to get back to Zico. The style of writing changes with each character too and you are placed easily in the mindset of each one without it feeling forced or fake, a feat I’m sure is difficult to pull off.

You’ll have to buy the book to see what happens when you mix a hard partying DJ with a summer in Ibiza but just in case that’s not enough, just to add something else into the mix there is also one of the greatest football tournaments of our time going on as well – the unforgettable Euro96 set in England. This offers up some great side stories to the main thread, including that match. Yip, that one. The one every Scotland fan will never (unfortunately) forget.

As with “Ninety”, we have a story told by someone who obviously writes from experience. There are lots of Ibizan, Spanish and Colombian references and it’s clear experience plus research equals accuracy. As this is a trilogy of books we evidently have another, and final, chapter of the Zico story to go. I hope Mr Proctor completes the third as quickly as the first two because I for one can not wait to find out how this tale of youth, drugs, music and love concludes.

As the strap line says, “Three months in Ibiza : What could go wrong?”. Well, a hell of a lot can go wrong, that’s what.

You can contact Johnny on twitter at @johnnyroc73 to purchase a copy of the book, or buy it from Amazon here: Ninety Six https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1916088511/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_VTgpDbKCF1VDZ

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