John Otway may finally get the worldwide recognition that he craves with a genuinely funny film about his attempts to make the big time, according to Bucks Herald entertainment reporter Andrew Kay.
On Sunday around 1,000 of the Aylesbury-born punk rocker’s fans paid to hire out London’s Leicester Square for the premiere of John Otway:The Movie – many wearing ballgowns and tuxedos, and instead of having tickets they were given lanyards bearing the word ‘producer’.
The laugh-out-loud true story features archive footage of Otway’s first national TV appearance in 1977, where he fell over the speakers and crushed his ‘male parts’ midway through the song.
It also charts his creative attempts to get to number one, such as by cheating (getting fans to buy his records from the few stores which were used to compile the charts at the time) and creative ticketing (only allowing fans carrying a vinyl copy of his new single into his shows).
His other record-buying schemes included taking the entire crowd shopping to buy his new single straight after his show finished, and releasing three instrumental copies of his new single – whereby the person who bought it could expect Otway to turn up at their house and sing the vocals live in their living room.
The movie will be shown at film festivals next year as Otway looks for a distributor. It is funnier than Spinal Tap, which it will inevitably be compared to, because it is a true story and you simply couldn’t make up Otway’s antics.
It includes archive material of his 1978 show in Aylesbury Market Square, including the moment it all started to go wrong as the whole crowd stood silently in shock as Otway performed his new single Geneve which was nothing like his previous music.
The film also revealed that his record company had so much faith in him that he was given a £250,000 advance - they only gave The Jam £50,000.
The movie traces Otway’s life growing up in Aylesbury, where he was bullied at the Queens Park School and chronicles the moment a fortune teller told him that he would be famous.
Otway’s parents also feature in the film, stating that he has no talent whatsoever and they cannot understand how he has achieved two hits.
The movie also charts his campaign against Woolworths and failed jumbo jet world tour.
> To read the full report and interviews from his fans and bandmates, pick up a copy of this week’s Bucks Herald.