Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Imagine the scene. Middle-aged bass player, cryptozoologist, and occasionally rock music journalist limps into his sitting room, shoos the orange cat off his favourite chair and sits down. His nephew and niece have come for the evening. “What are your plans for the evening Uncle Jon?” asks Jessica. “Rob Ayling has sent me a DVD about a mate of his who hitchhiked around Ireland with a fridge, as a drunken bet. I’m going to watch that this evening,” he says with a cheerful smile. For some reason this was a cue for niece and nephew to leave hurriedly, his lovely wife to suddenly decide that there are things to do in the other room, his equally lovely mother-in-law to immerse herself in a jigsaw puzzle and the also equally lovely boxer-cross-bulldog bitch to curl up in a corner, go to sleep and snore loudly.

Our hero, leaning heavily on his walking stick limps to the wine cellar (actually, a cardboard box from Lidl underneath the kitchen table) and grabs a bottle of South African Chenin Blanc 2001. He limps back into the sitting room, ignoring the studied indifference of his nearest and dearest, presses the play button the remote control and settles down for the evening.

If the truth were known, our hero (Jon that is, not Tony Hawks) was not particularly enthusiastic about the prospect either. He has a singular sense of humour, and didn‘t think that 90 minutes of the adventures of a bloke hitchhiking around Ireland with a fridge would be more than passingly entertaining. He was completely wrong.

Our other hero (Tony Hawks, not Jon) is a remarkably self-effacing leading man. At first you think that the whole scenario is so ridiculous that the film is going to be remarkably contrived, but within minutes you are proven wrong. My first big laugh came about ten minutes in when a taciturn and ever-so-slightly sociopathic Irish countryman, the first person to give Tony a lift, plopped a smug looking terrier on his lap. The film went uphill from there. Having travelled around Ireland myself, but more importantly having travelled around all sorts of parts of the world doing something that the rest of humanity would probably think more than passably stupid, Tony’s odyssey quickly began to appeal. Having worked for local radio in the UK, the scenes of hyperbole drummed up by low budget DJs and their operatives not only rang true but illicited a whole slew of belly laughs. All in all, a film that I wasn’t looking forward to watching turned out to be massively entertaining and not a little heartwarming.

And the last scene, in which Tony broke the fourth wall and suddenly became narrator in his own personal narrative (a little bit like I have done in this review) was far more moving than I thought it was going to be.

This is a smashing movie. I look forward to talking to Tony in the next few days and to blagging a copy of the next DVD off those jolly nice people at Gonzo as soon as it can be managed.


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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.