Sammy and his three friends live in the Ardoyne, an impoverished, predominantly Catholic area of North Belfast. They love sharp clothes, a good drink, and the songs of Perry Como – whose commitment to clean living holds up a dissonant mirror to their own attempts to rise above their circumstances. Keen to make a difference, the boys find themselves in the incongruous position of running a comic-book shop taken over by the IRA. Their clandestine activities belong in the x-rated pages of graphic fiction: burglary, blackmail, extortion, torture, and murder – and they become transfixed by the initiatory possibilities of free-reign criminality.
Ross Raymond and Johnny McLaughlin are two fanboys dedicated to the Airdrie post-punk scene of the early ’80s – the glory years – when anything and everything seemed possible. Looking back on that time – the people, the bands, the underground legends – they piece together a story which has at its core Memorial Device, the greatest band you’ve never heard of. Featuring a cast of misfits, artists, drop-outs, small-town visionaries and musicians, ‘This is Memorial Device’ is a dark, witty novel depicting a moment where art and the demands it makes are as serious as life itself.