The Sound of What Could Have Been; A Vivid Reimagining of the Beatles' Story Is One of the Highlights of the New Season of Sky Playhouse Productions. for Cardiff-Based Musician and Fab Four Fan Martin Carr (Inset) It Also Provided a Source of Inspiration on Many Levels. Dave Owens Listens In
It was a long-standing friendship that brought Martin Carr to his latest project. The former guitarist and songwriter with '90s indie stars The Boo Radleys has embroidered new Sky Playhouse drama Snodgrass with a hugely listenable soundtrack.
The one-off reimagining of John Lennon as a 50-year-old who left The Beatles in 1962 after a musical spat is an offbeat treat from start to finish thanks to the keen quirky humour of writer David Quantick and Carr's innate melodic sensibilities.
Based on the novella by Ian R MacLeod, it seems like the musician, originally from Merseyside but who now lives in Cardiff, was hooked as soon as the first seeds of this offbeat tale were sown.
"I'd been friends with David Quantick for years because he'd written about the band when he worked for the NME," explains Carr.
"He sent me a copy of a sci-fi compendium that Snodgrass was a part of. He knew that I'd like it and I loved it.
"It was weird that I'd never come across it before because I was a big Beatles fan.
Anything remotely connected with them I would have heard, seen or read before. I couldn't believe how real it was and how funny it was.
"Quantick sent me the story years ago. He was obsessed with it. He said 'if I ever get this made you can do the music'. I hear that all the time, so I forgot all about it for a couple of years. He mentioned it to me again last year but I still didn't take it seriously, then he got in touch saying, 'Right we're doing it, I want you to do the music'. So he and the producer came to Cardiff to talk about it.
"It would have been unforgivable if I'd messed it up," continues the 44-year-old, who first started listening to The Beatles as a 10-year-old growing up on the Wirral, across the water from Liverpool.
"So I started writing in the summer of last year and the songs just flowed.
"I'd already had a couple of songs written that perfectly fitted what was wanted. And it didn't take me long to write the majority of the rest."
Although Carr hadn't tackled anything like this previously, he found the process effortless, chiefly because, in this instance, he wasn't writing about himself.
"It was probably one of the easiest things I've ever done. It sounds weird saying that because I've never said that about music before. I really struggle with writing lyrics, but because I was being someone else all the stuff that gets in the way when you're writing about yourself was just gone."
The guitarist who penned such stirring anthems as Wake Up Boo!, It's Lulu, Lazarus and C'Mon Kids, says that he could wholly identify with Lennon's character in this leftfield story.
"Snodgrass is a book about disappointments - that situation where you only get that one chance to realise your full potential and he blew it, I could relate to that, because I thought that's me, that's how I thought about myself; constantly living in the past, regretting and wanting to go back and do things differently. …