I wrote Off Key out of exasperation. It seems, to this cynical old hack, that every play/movie/song about musicians ends in the same way, with one of the band members rushing into a dressing room, clutching a radio announcing that their titanic struggle, often sometimes as long as a month, has been worth it because they are now “Number One in the Charts”.
This happens rarely . . . rarely as in never. “Off Key” was my attempt to bring a little reality into such dramas because sometimes just managing to get on stage and play even to three disinterested people and a stuffed weasel in a glass case in a pub, damp enough to serve as a venue for the Oxbridge boat race, is a success in itself.
There is nothing like achieving all of your dreams overnight to make for narcolepsy inducing prose. If you want a tale worth telling what you really need is a bunch of social misfits, trapped in a barely roadworthy van, travelling the globe facing every entertainment nightmare imaginable.
I should know. I lived every beer sodden moment of it, from The Station hotel, Aberdeen to The Kalaka Festival in Miscolc, Hungary.
Just be thankful you only have to read the book and not do the thirty-eight years of research it involved.
That said, I wouldn’t have changed a thing . . . Not for all the tea in China . . . whatever my Lawyer thinks.
“A perfect snapshot of modern life. It’s plucky, it’s intensely readable and it’s entertaining. Well written with a great cast of characters, this is a surprising gem.