‘Starting To Fly’ was written from an amalgamation of the story of my Great Grandfather who fought in both Somme offensives in WW1. He was one of 13 men out of 900 who survived the first round but was then injured and captured the second time. Plus a look at the topical subject of what our soldiers go though today, and in reality, what they receive in return, or are left with, after giving their lives for debatably pointless causes.
The decision was made to do a short film to accompany the track, instead of a generic music video. I felt it would convey the meaning behind the song perfectly, and after reading a treatment written by Louise Dooley about an ex-soldier suffering from mental illness after war experiences, who had turned to drugs and lost his family, not only was I blown away by the whole project, I decided I’d like to play the part myself especially because of the personal element of my Great Grandfather’s inspiration in the writing of the track.
By the time the day of shooting came around, I’d done a month of research into the character, as well as the physical preparation of growing my hair and beard. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the most pleasant of roles, and it did take a good three days after shooting to shake it off and cheer up again. The first three scenes of the day were pretty emotional and difficult, not made any easier by having to swap sets for the ‘house raid scene’ twice, due to locking ourselves out….
But apart from a few minor set backs it seemed to all run pretty smoothly. Well, that was until I was arrested!!! You see, the climax of the film finds the character on a set of train tracks with a train coming towards him. We had the spot in mind where we could get onto the live tracks so we headed down for the last scene of the shoot. When we arrived it was clear from the fence, barbed wire and signs about trip wires and prosecution etc. that we probably should have abandoned the idea and done a re-write for the ending. We didn’t! On top of that, I was unsure if the track had a live current running through it or not because there were no overhead lines……
In hindsight I have no idea why we carried on, it seems crazy now, but at the time adrenaline must have been in control. So I climbed the fence and we got the shot we needed, but we also had a visit from the fun spoilers in blue suits, they spotted our camera man (Dino) on the bridge filming down onto the tracks and clearly thought what the f*** is going on down there?!?
In all fairness to them after a detailed explanation in the back of their car and showing them footage on the camera of the days shoot they were actually good as gold, a bit pissed off, but fair. No fine, No caution, and we got the shot we needed, so as far as I was concerned all’s well that ends well!!
The song itself, the short film and the cover artwork which is by Kevin Donnelly, are three different representations of freedom and release. I hope you like it……