Interview with Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy, Sunday Business Post, 19th April 2009
If there’s one line of dialogue that defines the message of The Boat That Rocked, Richard Curtis’s new film about pirate radio on the waves, it comes from the disc-jockey character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman:
‘‘These are the best days of our lives.” Writer and director Curtis may have made his name with hit romantic comedies Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Notting Hill, but for his latest film he has turned to the subject he describes as his ‘‘first love” – pop music.
‘‘I wanted people to stop for a second and think how gorgeous it is to have music to provide soundtracks to times of your life,” Curtis says, relaxing into an armchair in his Dublin hotel suite.
‘‘I can tie down the years of my life [to music] – the Dylan years, the Cohen years, the Joni Mitchell years, the David Bowie years, the Madness years. Pop music has never let me go.”
Curtis and The Boat that Rocked star Bill Nighy have come to Dublin as part of a busy media tour to publicise the film, which travels back through time to 1967 and an era when more than half of Britain would tune in to pirate radio stations – some of which were based on boats – to listen to tunes which the BBC considered too subversive to play.
As many as 25 million daily listeners – including a youthful Curtis – were influenced by those DJs. ‘‘Pirate radio was like a sweet shop,” Curtis says. ‘‘You’d switch it on and hear songs you’d never heard before. It was very exciting.
‘‘Think what it would it be like if there were only two films showing in every cinema across the country, and then you heard that somewhere else there were 50 more films you could watch – that’s what it was like discovering pirate radio.” Continue reading