Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I was thrilled to find another Otway fan out there! Thanks Mrs T, although I'm guessing pogo-ing to Otway is probably out of the question for you right now.

Any how, after I wrote my last post, I had a brainwave and went looking for this on YouTube. I was not disappointed.

Part of Otway's appeal is that he never changes. He started off performing in black trousers and a white M&S men's shirt and 30 years later he's still doing it (albeit with rather less hair). Looking at the chart for the week The Hit reached the heady heights of number 27 (w/e 17th December 1977), it was rather eclectic fashion wise. Punk was waning (shame really, as Stiff Records had pigeonholed Otway as a punk artist) and there was a fair smattering of disco, retro and all sorts. To give an indication, the charts that week included Wings, Bee Gees, Darts, Showaddywaddy, Chic, Status Quo, Queen, the Barron Knights, Boomtown Rats, Elvis Costello, Diana Ross, Donna Summer and the Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band with The Floral Dance. Otway stood out rather, in more ways than one.

Anyway, about the time of The Hit, or maybe a little later, Otway and Barrett went on that great stalwart of "grown up" music shows, The Old Grey Whistle Test, playing a popular song from their live set, Cheryl's Going Home (later turned into a rock opera by Otway in collaboration with Attila the Stockbroker). You have to remember that Wild Willy Barratt was (and indeed still is) a serious musician and that Otway was, well, Otway, really. He had been told by a gypsy that his future lay with a long-haired blond, so he took that to mean Wild Willy and badgered him into forming a duo. Otway, however did prove to much for him and the relationship is probably best summed up by the record that has Wild Willy sawing up Otway's guitar in the background.

Anyway. I beg of you to watch this and watch it in its entirety. It will give you a real flavour of what an Otway gig is like, including the forward rolls and an ambitious hurdle across the amp, which did make it into one of those 100 most excrutiating moments ever type shows, probably voted for by sympathetic male viewers.

Go on.

Watch it.

It's less than 5 minutes long. The tea can wait just that bit longer.


Anonymous said...

Yay! I must admit I've never seen that Old Grey Whistle Test before, I've seen the pics from it in his book.

The thing about Otway is that he's not always a nut, the song 'Best Dream' reduces me to tears every time I hear it, especially the bit when he sings "and there's no-one else around to love me when I'm down" but then I'm just a soppy old romantic!

cathy said...

Hi Nic,
Thanks for your comments - it helps to have knitters give us feedback.
Happy knitting!

gogsy said...

Thanks for the link to Otway and Barrett — takes me back a bit! Really Free and The Highwayman were my favourites I recall.

Five minutes well spent. I'll make that tea now.