© 2017 by Graeme Scarfe
Website Design by Michael Hoelters
 
 

Some notes on the saga of

Seagulls On Speed.

 

This has been a long journey. Seagulls On Speed was a film script before it became a book; and before that it was an idea born out of a snappy title floating around my head when I lived and wrote in Folkestone.  I had been commissioned to write the screenplay for the horror film Lighthouse and used to take long walks along the cliff path when the writing wasn't going as planned. I walked a lot!

 

The one thing Folkestone has in droves is seagulls, and it was during these walks that I hatched the idea that became SEAGULLS ON SPEED - a 'love letter' to the British ensemble films I love so much.

 

By the time I got round to writing the initial screenplay for Seagulls On Speed a few years later I had three very precise castings in mind. It always helps if I have the perfect casting (even if its in my own head) when writing. First, Paul Reynolds, an actor I’d admired since I saw him in the TV show Press Gang. I loved his comic timing and his onscreen persona and knew that he would bring to all that to the part of Nev.

Then there was Fish as Lenny. Fish had been frontman with rock band Marillion whom I adored from the first moment I heard them in 1983. Apart from his career as a singer-songwriter he has also acted on TV and Film, notably ‘Young Person's Guide to Being a Rock Star’. When Lenny appeared on the first page totally out-of-the blue (the character wasn't even in the step outline) he was a tall, bald Scotsman. Who else would I want to cast but Fish?

Finally I always wanted legendary singer/performer John Otway to play Horry. I’d first seen him perform at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds in the very early 1980s and had been a fan of long standing. We exchanged e-mails, met a few times in Brighton and casting agreed (I was by that time associate producer on the project and was trying to get the bird to fly). Knowing he’d recorded the title song for the feature version of 'Whoops! Apocalypse’ I also suggested he write the theme tune to run under the end credits of the proposed film. Anyway, one thing led to another and the finances fell through. The seagull was a dodo dead in the water.

Years later, frustrated with the state of the British film industry I wrote the book just to get it out there.

Fast forward over a decade later, just after Christmas 2016 and an e-mail arrived from John. He'd been working on a new album and ‘Seagulls On Speed', the song he'd written but never told me about, had been recorded and was going to be on it. To say I'm thrilled and honoured is a massive understatement.

If you're interested in hearing the song that was inspired by the screenplay that was inspired by a throwaway title, you can find the track on Montserrat by John Otway available through www.johnotway.com

Someday, somewhere, someone might pick up the book and think it would make a good film…or television series, and if so that would be great. But until then here’s the book and the song it inspired. What more could a writer want?

Artwork by David Exton. © 2001

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