For his 50th birthday in 2002, John Otway got a top-ten hit record. For his 60th birthday in 2012, he’s getting a movie.
The premiere has been booked for this October at the Odeon, Leicester Square. Work is on the film is already well underway, as John will explain when he performs at The Chichester Inn, West Street, Chichester, on Wednesday, March 7 at 8.30pm (tickets on 01243 774641 or direct from The Chichester Inn or www.wegottickets.com).
John shot to fame on the back of punk rock and a gymnastic performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test alongside his legendary musical partner Wild Willy Barrett.
Now he’s chronicling on the big screen his life in music.
“October is quite a long way away, but I am about half way with the film. The film is about me. I couldn’t possibly think of a more interesting subject,” he laughs. “It’s a documentary with lots of archive footage. I insisted that whenever I thought I did something interesting, I got someone to follow me around with a camera.”
Quite what his mother would think, he’s not sure: “My mum always thought I would end up getting a proper job. She died disappointed!”
For John, the great turning point was that celebrated Old Grey Whistle Test appearance all those years ago.
But the desire to attract an audience goes back much further than that: “For the film, I went back to my old school where I got an audience of a hundred in the school playground years ago to watch me drink a bottle of ink. I did it. But I wouldn’t recommend it. It turns your pee blue. But it had an impact.
“But my mum wouldn’t let me get a guitar for years and years because she suspected that I wanted to become a pop star. Eventually I got one because I wanted to play it so badly, and we started to attract audiences. It was the big year of punk. We got booked for The Old Grey Whistle Test and we did Really Free.
“I did a leap over Wild Willy Barrett’s amplifier. One leg went one side; the other went the other side. I landed on my testicles live on TV. Before that we were playing to about 30 people at gigs. After that we were playing to about 200!”