Friday, May 09, 2014

Otway The Movie, Review.

It was a windy and rainy day yesterday and I was trapped indoors and starting to get depressed. "How can I make today interesting?", I asked myself. Then my Facebook friend John Otway posted that there was to be a screening of  'Otway,The Movie' at the Little Theatre Cinema in Bath that very evening followed by a question and answer session with the man himself. I knew I had to go so I phoned up my friend Dave and he wanted to go as well so I  booked two tickets. I spent the afternoon kicking my heels and getting excited because Otway has been part of my life for nearly forty years ( See previous stories below). I met Dave in the pub and we caught the 6.38 train to Bath.                                                                                       We had time on our hands so we went for a drink in the Grapes pub in Westgate Street until it was show time. In all the years I have lived in this area I have never been to the Little Cinema before and I must say it is a wonderful little venue, hidden away up an alley way off Westgate Street and the seats are really comfortable.
While we were waiting for the doors to open Otway himself arrived and I took the opportunity to take a couple of photos with himself, Dave and I. He also signed an album for me and we had a little chat. He really is a nice person who seems genuinely interested in what people have to say and takes the time to speak to them. I think that is why he has built up such a devoted fan base over the years. I told him about previous times I had seen him. The first time was right here at Bath Pavilion in 1978 and he remembered it which surprised me because he must have played thousands of gigs since. I also told him about the time Kim and I went to his 50th birthday party at the London Palladium. Kim used to love Otway and it made her night when he gave her a kiss on the cheek at a gig in Frome a few years ago.

 Then it was time for the film which Otway introduced. He said that we had to listen out for the one word that was the reason that when the film got its certificate it can't be seen by unaccompanied children under twelve. The film begins with Otway returning to his old school in Aylesbury to talk to the kids about how to make a career in the music business. It then chronicles his whole career which is portrayed as one disaster after another. There is a lot of footage of his legendary concert in Aylesbury market square in 1978.I was there on that memorable day. There is also the London Palladium concert where the fans conspired to give him a hit record as a birthday present. I'll never forget that night sitting in the pub listening to the chart being announced and 'Bunsen Burner' going straight in the charts at number 9. Then Otway coming over to the pub and standing on a table to the cheers of the fans.
 I won't tell you all of the film but it was really enjoyable and I know the rest of the audience enjoyed it because there was a lot of spontaneous laughter and applause throughout the screening. There is one thing that slightly niggles me though is because the film has the sub-title of  'Rock And Roll's Greatest Failure'. I disagree with that because John Otway has had a long and successful career and brought a lot of pleasure to many people. The other thing that is overlooked is that he has written some great songs and has a body of work to be proud of. I think his first  album with Wild Willy Barrett and the follow-up 'Deep And Meaningless' are great albums by any standard. I would put them in my favourite 50 albums of all time. Songs like Geneva, Gypsy,Josephine,Place Farm Way and many more are songs to be proud of and show that he is a great singer-songwriter.
After the screening there were questions and answers and I asked John if he was doing Glastonbury this year and he is. I can reveal that he is on in the Cabaret Stage on the Saturday and also the film will be shown in the Cinema Tent. Dave and I left before the end because we wanted a quick drink before catching the train. John did ask though if anyone noticed the one word that barred unaccompanied children from seeing it. I thought it might be Willy but actually it was Twat. Now that Otway has made a film I wonder what the future holds for him. I think he should definitely be given the freedom of the city of Aylesbury because through his songs he has put Aylesbury on the map. Also if his fans can get together and give him a hit single why can't they start a campaign to get him in the Queens New Years Honours list for services to music. He deserves it more than most of them. Anyway, thank you very much John Otway for a great night out in Bath.

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