John Otway: Rock And Roll’s Greatest Failure: Otway The Movie

He did it Otway.

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Having witnessed John Otway’s antics since he was shrieking the current pop hits or guzzling ink in our school playground to entertain the bullies, his later transformation into a flop folk oddity seemed perfectly natural.

Before being replaced by Wild Willy Barrett, this writer played bongos with Otway between 1970 and ’77, and witnessed the trouser-dropping and calamitous acrobatics deployed to win over crowds.

Otway’s grand plan to promote himself as rock’s biggest failure is pursued in this fan-financed movie which also calls on old associates and collaborators. It’s a tale hailed as “funnier than Spinal Tap”, but it also establishes how his fanbase was huge enough to send a single into the Top 10 in 2002, though not flush enough to finance a planned world tour by chartered plane. You can only guffaw as Otway careers across the stage of life in increasingly befuddled self-aggrandisement.

If Otway The Movie bombs it would be an ironically unjust finale, but that also seems highly unlikely./o:p

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!