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September 18, 2016

The words “surreal” and “Otway” have forever been linked in my little world. Having paid for the first ever recording by John Otway in 1972, and having never managed to make any money from him for the provision of countless services, money and help I have happily and excitedly provided over the some 45 years, I thought perhaps this week would provide me with some solace.

He had this ridiculous plan. Just as ridiculous as the dozens of stupid but entertaining schemes he has hatched over the years. His idea was to crowd fund and record his first new album in a decade, but in Montserrat at the private studio at Sir George Martins house.  The last people to record on the island were The Rolling Stones. Such is the value to tourism his visit has generated that he has already received a visit and endorsement from the Prime Minister of the island and the Governor is staging a reception at The Governors Official Residence.
I have always enjoyed being involved with the great scams and the entertainment working with him provides, but the opportunity to go to Montserrat to “help” him record his first new album of songs in over 10 years, and to rightfully claim it as a business expense (FC Exchange customers are all over the world) seemed just one more absurd rung on the Otway ladder to Otexcess, his own vision of success Otway style.

Once the decision on the venue had been made, a decision on when to go was next. “When is the cheapest time to visit? asked Otway. The answer was during the hurricane season. “Perfect” he said, “Let’s go!” The website advice for fans wishing to join him and his band for this trip to this Caribbean gem suggested bringing an umbrella and a hard hat.
There is a very inauspicious date on Montserrat. On 17th September 1965 a Pan Am jet crashed into a hillside on the island killing 33 people. On the same date in 1989 a hurricane hit the island destroying many of the buildings including the famous Air Studios owned by Sir George Martin and in 1995, Once again in September, The Soufriere Hills volcano erupted with such force it all but destroyed the capital, Plymouth. The 17th was a particularly bad day. Pyroclastic flows of over 600 degrees centigrade swept down the mountainside at 100 miles and hour and still it is deserted and entry allowed only under police escort.

The third floor of a building in Plymouth, now under about 30 feet  of volcanic rock and ash.

As it turned out, the 17th September 2016 was the date set for The Governors Reception for the Otway followers (about 50) who had made it to the island. Set at Government House, an idyllic building nestling by the sea, everything started so well, but then the swarm of flying ants sent most people in from the pool (yes, of course The Governors House has a pool overlooking the ocean) and then the lightning started….
Chris France

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Glenda Lake permalink
    September 25, 2016 5:44 pm

    Dear Chris France.
    You know how, when you are online sometimes and you start off googling one thing and then something else catches your attention and then something else and before you know it you can’t recall what you went upstairs for !?
    Well today I listened to Johnny Walkers Sounds of The 70s which was sublime (Thin Lizzy, Peter Frampton and Led Zep) when I began wondering if it was at Friars that I had seen Thin Lizzy or elsewhere.
    So, I googled it and whilst doing so saw your Otway’s, Potters and Kris Needs names which sent me off at a tangent.
    Then I googled you and Lo and behold you had just posted about Otway!
    It reminded me that I needed to ask someone who was there at the time about a memory I have which no -one else recalls anything about but which I’m sure happened. Maybe I need regression or hypno therapy.
    Anyway, it was a Sunday morning in the early 70s, maybe 73/4 when a gang of us were asked by Otway to congregate at the BA rooms and be the extras while he auditioned for Pete Townsend.
    There was Otway (obviously) you, Potter, probably Graham Dible, my sister and I, maybe Warren Harry or Paul Kendall.
    The memory is so clear but I don’t recall the outcome except it wasn’t a good one for Otway.
    Am I going mad? Did I dream it? Do you recall it too?
    It was in the days when we used to drink in the Lantern, Derby Arms and sometimes the pub on Bedgrove, maybe the Duck?
    Potter used to wear that bloody silly long scarf and had just died his hair black to resemble (as he put it) a ‘Wop ice cream seller’! He was working at Sun Life, I think.
    See, my memory is really good but I’m stumped over this one.
    Can you help?
    Meantime I will go back to my googling.
    Now what did I come upstairs for?
    A bien tot
    Ps think I might go in for this blogging. I’m good at the old waffle!

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 25, 2016 7:45 pm

      A lot of what you write resonates! I think it must have been that making of the Misty Mountain video? How’s things with you?


  2. Xx.PonyGirl.xX permalink
    March 8, 2017 8:03 pm

    Helpful. Thank you. My homework is now doneeeee!!!!!!!!!!!


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