Tag Archives: john otway

  • So here it is, Merry Christmas (and a Happy New Year)

    December 23, 2014


    The Frockers would like to wish all our customers, readers, visitors and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you all for your support during 2014, which has been our most successful trading year to date.

    We'll be back at the frock face for a few days - full of turkey (and veggie equivalent), chocolate and raised spirits - before starting again on our Hogmanay celebrations next week.

    Do please remember that, for any Frockery items purchased as Christmas gifts, we are happy to extend our refund/exchange period as long as the goods are returned to us by the end of January.

    Sadly, John Otway didn't hit the Christmas No 1 spot, but he and his reindeer made an impact on the charts, along with his Big Band (one of whom doubles as a Hot Rod) and the Very Dodgy Jumper choir. If the truth be known, we preferred the B side, Rocking with the Reindeer - so here it is, Merry Christmas!


  • Mat's magnum opus: Sex, Drugs and HIV

    October 18, 2014

    mat's mission impossible?

    Mat's Mission Impossible?
    Autographed poster from Sex Drugs & HIV recording sessions

    The chief frocker first met Mat Sargent, the driving force behind the Sex, Drugs and HIV project, about 10 years ago when she was in France and dressed as a nurse. It’s a long story that involves John Otway, his Big Band and Max Splodge (as themselves), Deadly the Roadie (random nun), Andy the Roadie (dodgy priest) and a whole line up of nurses (Patsy, Gina, Jane, Janie, Ruth, Pam and this guy in drag), as well as a few extras who had raided the dressing up box for the annual Otfest across the Channel.

    otway im cured

    The Eight Otettes perform I'm Cured with John Otway and his Big Band

    nurses and priest nun meets nurse

    Suffice to say, the aforesaid Mat made a big impression, not only as Splodge’s bass guitarist but also as a seriously nice bloke. Who’d have guessed what lay behind that winning smile, wit and repartee?

    mat sargent

    Mat was diagnosed HIV positive in 1989 (the year the Berlin Wall came down and Danny Frocker came into the world) and was given a gloomy life expectancy of between two and five years. How frightening must that have been for a young man of 18 with everything to live for? But the prospect of ‘rolling over' could never match the power of rock’n’rolling and he’s still here banging out the bass lines and doing as much good for the rest of humanity as he possibly can. 

    Sex, Drugs and HIV is Mat’s magnum opus that has finally come to fruition as a result of his indefatigable spirit (something we have blogged about before) and we frockers are right behind his efforts to raise awareness and money for good causes. The project supports the Terrence Higgins Trust, Release, Rape Crisis and Cancer Research.

    If you are old enough to remember that Duracell battery advert, you’ll get Mat. In his own words:

    “Twenty-six years ago I was given between 2 and  5 years to live. After refusing treatment for 10 years I finally succumbed to new medication after developing full blown AIDS. I never gave up the fight to live a normal life and when I thought all was lost the new medication gave me the freedom of life. Instead of only seeing a couple of years ahead I now see a future. The Sex Drugs & HIV album has been an amazing project to work on and over the 19 years it took for it to come to fruition there was always the thought in the back of my mind that I might not be around to see it finished. I am happy to be able to share the moment and the album which is due for release on the 2nd November 2014 (available on Amazon).”

    Here’s a taster song from the album: Why, by Jimmy Pursey, Mat’s former bandmate from Sham 69 (They're coming to Glasgow in November, frockers!)

    Sex, Drugs and HIV
     comprises 40 tracks and features over 200 musicians spanning five decades of music. The project band, Rock'n'Roll Gypsies, play songs from the album and Mat is currently editing 'Rockumentary' films of the various musicians meeting up in the studio to record their parts and share their stories. The films will be available in a limited edition box set.

    We should forewarn our readers that there is some strong language in the video below, but we promise to wash the offending mouths out with soap if you buy the album! The highlights from our point of view are Max Splodge’s creative trombone playing (4.50 mins) and Mat’s matter-of-fact upbeat discussion of his diagnosis (19.30 mins).

     For more information, visit the project's website and Facebook group, or follow Mat on Twitter.



  • 21 days, for frocks' sake

    September 8, 2014

     21 Days:  John Otway live in Lyme Regis (video credit: Stephen Greenslade)

    Just 21 days (but it's actually only 19 as we write). That's how long 88 year old Alex Graham has to save 7500 costumes from the Oxfordshire Drama Wardrobe of which she is curator.

    A registered charity, the OFW is facing eviction from its present base on 27th September and is desperately seeking alternative hangar /  warehouse  space, or even a wind and watertight barn, to save the unique collection.

    An appeal via the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform - For Frocks' Sake: Save Oxfordshire Drama Wardrobe - has been launched to raise the £7000 needed to avert the imminent accommodation crisis, but additional support in cash or kind is desperately needed to ensure the future of the collection.

    There is no time to waste, so here is Alex's story in her own words. Please share it widely, most especially with any Oxfordshire barn owners!

    For Frocks' Sake: Save Oxfordshire Drama Wardrobe from TreePress on Vimeo.

  • Sounds of the 70s

    January 7, 2012

    We should be processing the latest frockery arrivals today as we got a bit behind over the festive season and, thanks to new year consignments, the stock room is full to overflowing with frockery in need of cataloguing. However, we just had to take some time out to gush with enthusiasm over last night's / this morning's  Triple A* showing on BBC4 of the Old Grey Whistle Test: 70s Gold, Top of the Pops: The Story of 1977 and Top of the Pops 1977: Big Hits from the 70s.

    To say we were riveted is an understatement as we were transported straight back to our own youth by star performances from an era which encompassed the most incredibly diverse range of music (and fashion). Social media buzzed for hours with comments and reminiscences as nostalgia took firm hold of those of us who were there the first time around, while younger music aficionados also shared their appreciation (or otherwise!) of the featured acts. Even our local MP tweeted enthusiastically about musical "gems" from his youth as a Ramones and Clash fan, and to see Dr Feelgood trending on Twitter was, in the words of Whispering Bob Harris, "very cool".

    We frockers were blown away by the awesome performances of Johnny Winter, Captain Beefheart and Frankie Miller in particular, but there were just so many brilliant examples of 70s musical supremacy crammed into a few short hours it would be impossible to mention them all. Catch them on the iplayer if you can, but meanwhile here's Johnny!

    We had in fact tuned in to watch John Otway, whose career (with its many lows and occasional highs) we have followed since the mid 70s. A spectacular and painful mishap with an amp on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1977 resulted in his instant propulsion from dustman to stardustman with Cor Baby! That's Really Free. However, despite his best (and worst) efforts, he remained a One Hit Wonder until 2002, when he finally achieved a No 9 chart hit with Bunsen Burner with a lot of help from his fans.

    Our chief frocker was a member of Otway's Hit Squad, sang in the Abbey Road choir which contributed to the B side (House of the Rising Sun) and had a front row seat at the Palladium on the night  BB's chart position was confirmed on stage by Johnnie Walker. Some might say it was a bit of a risk booking such a prestigious venue before even recording the Hit, but Otway is probably the least risk averse person/prat we know, and  it worked out on that occasion. (Just don't mention the World Tour). Later this year, Otway the Movie is to be premiered at the Odeon in Leicester Square to celebrate his 60th birthday and we feel sure it will be a success, again with a lot of help from his fans both old and new!

    But back to the excellence of BBC4's offerings:

    Old Grey Whistle Test: 70s Gold  included archive performances from a myriad of stars, including  Elton John, David Bowie, Captain Beefheart, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Curtis Mayfield, New York Dolls, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Brinsley Schwarz, Gil Scott Heron, Blondie, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Jam, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop, Cher and Greg Allman, Argent, Steppenwolf, Lindisfarne, Dr Feelgood and Johnny Winter. Just wow!

    Top of the Pops: The Story of 1977  featured our own Mr Otway with Wild Willy Barrett in the Queen's silver jubilee year which saw punk and New Wave blast on to the music scene. We were treated to the Stranglers and the Jam alongside Donna Summer's disco,  Bob Marley's reggae and pub rock greats like Eddie and the Hot Rods who remain one of our favourite still-touring bands. The programme also featured interviews with musicians and insiders who lifted the lid on the making of TOTP back in the day.

    Top of the Pops 1977: Big Hits highlighted the show's 1977  output with performances by Rod Stewart, the Jacksons, Queen, the Stranglers, Brotherhood of Man, David Bowie, Bob Marley, Baccara, Heatwave and Elvis Costello. Rod Stewart's shoes raised a laugh in the frocker household, but prize for most ridiculous outfits had to go to the members of Heatwave whose rendition of Boogie Nights was especially energetic and hilarious.

    We are now fully expecting a run on 70s vintage fashion (well, maybe not Johnny Winteresque sleeves!), if only as a means of helping to banish the winter blues. Nobody can deny it raises the collective spirits to see grown men and women dressed like Christmas trees, masquerading as extras from Star Trek, or held together with safety pins, but the era encompassed a wide spectrum of styles, not all of which were garish or overly outrageous - and the music was out of this world. Yes, even Boney M (talking of Christmas trees!)

    Maybe we are showing our age, but we have to say that today's reality 'talent' shows and so-called celebrities look and sound stale and sameish by comparison, with the exception, in our opinion, of Amy Winehouse, whose life was cut so tragically short in 2011. Simon Cowell et al have a lot to answer for as manufactured bands crowd out the grass roots talent, most of which is probably playing in a local live music venue near you, but which has neither the PR budget (nor probably the desire) to compete on such a cynically skewed playing field.

  • Get ready for the festival, Josephine

    April 17, 2011

    "Get ready for the festival", John Otway wrote in one of his best loved 70s songs, Josephine.

    Well, if you are planning on taking in a festival or two this year, how about one of these fab vintage frocks which have just arrived in stock and will transport you right back to the 70s? We love them, but alas they don't fit any of us frockers and so they are seeking new appreciative homes.

    First up, this stunning 70s vintage maxi dress in an amazing multicoloured psychedelic print, which has an unusual racer / halter neck with back button fastening. It's a size UK10 and priced at £22.

    70s festival maxi dress

    Next we have this equally eye catching 70s vintage maxi dress in a bold multicoloured floral print with a self-tying halter neck. This one is a smaller size UK6/8 and also priced at £22.

    70s festival maxi dress

    We always have a good selection of 70s frockery in the catalogue and even have a dedicated boho festival section in our Get the Look department. Do have a browse and see what takes your fancy.

    Meanwhile, if you are in the vicinity of Oxford on May Day morning (very early) you will find Otway singing Josephine with members of his band. If, like us, you prefer to keep to more civilised hours, do keep an eye on his gig list for performances throughout the country, including the Edinburgh Fringe in August. Once seen, never forgotten!

    Get ready for the festival, for the festival is only once a year.

    Raise your glasses in the air and fill the barrels full of beer.

    Mother Nature wave a wand over this lady's hand

    May her reign mean a good year on the land.

    And the legend Josephine,

    the blond blue-eyes May Queen

    Spent the night in the arms of her lover the day before the crown,

    Gifts and flowers by her bed

    Tired eyes and sleepy head.

    Stay warm till the morning calls you in.

    And the crowd scream Josephine our Mayday eyes are on you.

    And the people sing and drown in wine

    To crown the Queen of Springtime.