This was originally a guest post at Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, the blog of Ian Dury's biographer Richard Balls.
Ian Dury was part of the soundtrack of my teenage years. His husky, intensely sexual voice and driving beat were with me through my transition from childhood to womanhood. He, and his music, have always been special to me.
When I became disabled, Ian began to mean even more: his polio had never stopped him from achieving what he wanted, getting where he wanted to be. That’s just one reason I was so thrilled when I was offered the chance to be an extra in the film sex&drugs&rock&roll, starring Andy Serkis.
A friend who works in PR told me she was going to be an extra, and I begged her to ask if they could use someone in a wheelchair. They could! I know extras were recruited through the fan club, and also through social media like Facebook.
We were to be in the “mosh pit” for the concert scenes and, as a wheelchair user, I managed to be front and centre for just about every scene. The atmosphere was great, and Andy was startlingly good as Ian. He came across as a really nice guy in between takes, as well. I’ll never forget the joke about the new flavour of crisps…
Being an extra involved lots of hanging around, retakes, and – to be fair – some boredom. And it’s not the way to get rich, either. It also involved moments of sheer exhilaration, when Andy and the band were performing. Overall, I had a great day. Can I do it again please?
A new updated edition of Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Life of Ian Dury which tells the inside story of the movie was published on 3 May by Omnibus Press.