Rychard Carrington reports on John Otway- The Man On The Moon, Cambridge, 14 May 2010

John Otway and theremin
Man On The Moon

Otway's second volume of memoirs ends quite abruptly with the collapse of his grand plan for a world tour in 2006. How has our hero fared subsequently? From the outside, at any rate, he's just carried on in established vein, playing numerous gigs in small venues, delighting audiences with his remarkable performances. If I were to recommend one live act above all others, it would be Otway.


To the converted, I can happily report that our man stills somersaults off a stepladder, headbutts the microphone, plays theremin and ambidextrous guitar, sings I Will Survive in the style of Bob Dylan, still combines exuberant rock and ungainly comedy with oddly tender ballads - his version of Barry Goldsboro's Honey both mocks and enhances the uncompromising sentimentality of the original. The absence of sidekick Richard Holgarth is compensated for with a fuzz-pedal and the incorporation of new young roadie ‘Deadly' as stooge for the slapstick pranks.


Otway is not merely another jocular pub-rocker with a loyal fan-base. His combination of eccentricity and ordinariness, of exhibitionism and self-deprecation, of cheery ambition and unabashed sensitivity, make him a really unique champion. His talent for original self-expression is supreme.


Writer: Rychard Carrington

Photo: John Haxby


Patrick Widdess's review of the same gig