Books & Literature

Book Review: D*A*A*S – Their Part in My Downfall, by Paul Livingston

Livingston’s book covers the careers of the Doug Anthony All-Stars just as well as his own, with interviews, photos and candour.

In 1989, Paul Livingston – under his alter ego Flacco – took to the stages of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as the warm up act for Bob Downe (aka Mark Trevorrow). In the hall of the George Heriot’s School, both Down and Flacco served as the underlings for the 3rd time Fringe performers, the Doug Anthony All-Stars.

Jump forward to August 2016, and Paul Livingston, Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson shuffle to the stages of the Edinburgh Fringe festival, 26 years after the original D*A*A*S team had called it quits on their lucrative and popular careers. A pensioner, a cripple and a self-proclaimed superstar replaced the former award winning trio whose vocal harmonies and sharp tongues regularly sold out 500+ seat venues across the globe. D*A*A*S – Their Part in My Downfall is the tale of how Livingston first encountered the trio that was D*A*A*S, then somehow managed to become entangled in their sudden re-birth.

Livingston’s first impressions of the Doug Anthony All-Stars was during the 1986 Adelaide Fringe, where the stench of their unwashed costumes reached the audiences nose well before their somewhat human forms took to the Rundle Mall ‘stage’. While the first word Livingston thought of to describe them was ‘shallow’, their enthusiasm and need to entertain the audience caught Livingston’s attention. Having launched Flacco’s own career just one year earlier in Canberra, Livingston admired their ability to work the crowd while simultaneously hurling insults to them, much to their collective delights.

After stumbling onto the D*A*A*S radar that first year in Edinburgh, Livingston’s ‘Flacco’ would join the trio – and several other willing participants – through the seemingly unstoppably juggernaut that followed their original launch as buskers, street and fringe performers. D*A*A*S would debut onto the television screens, continue their successful international career, sell out concert tours around the globe and somehow find themselves shaking hands with Royalty; until Tim Ferguson was forced to cut their collective careers short after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Livingston’s book covers the careers of the Doug Anthony All-Stars just as well as his own, throughout the pages of this memoir. Full of interviews, photos and candour, fans of the All-Stars will enter the back-stage world of how the trio thrust themselves into people’s hearts, only to pull away, then be reborn – sort of. While it does jump between the past and present with rapid fire wit, those who’ve followed the Australian born trio, as well as Flacco, will enjoy the recount.

One for the fans.

Reviewed by Amie Kendall
witter: @AmieJK80

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: December 2016
RRP: $32.99

Rating out of 10:  8

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