A lot of OLLIE's inspiration can be traced back to my parents, truth be told. My dad was a hooker in a Washington D.C. rugby club, and my mom was (hilariously enough) one of those hangers-on following the nonstop party attached to that bandwagon. She even came complete with an old yellow VW bug called the RugbyMobile. I grew up hearing slogans like: "Rugby is a two-hour excuse to get together and drink all day," or the alleged Churchill wisdom: " It's a hooligan's game played by gentlemen," or even "Who needs football when there's rugby?"
The idea of writing OLLIE was more than just the roughness or Britishness of the game: it was the wild lifestyle that comes packaged with it -- the parties, the drinking, the unruliness. Though Ollie quickly asserts that he's got larger goals for himself, he can't escape the ruddy grip of the sport, and it's an element I thought would be good in a story featuring gay men. The stereotype that gay men are delicate still exists within the context of OLLIE in that Julian, Charles and the other homosexual athletes in the group are denied visibility in such a masculine scene, though, truthfully, their sexuality has little or no bearing on athleticism . Anyway, goes without saying that parties and music fuel this aspect of 70's culture, creating both openings for Ollie's growth -- and just as many pitfalls. Here are some of the songs that haunt Ollie on this particular night out.
Here are just a few songs that come over the airwaves during Ollie's first big shindig with the rugby clubs of London.
All Things Must Pass - George Harrison -  - This is the title of George Harrison's most famous solo album, and one that is mentioned whilst Julian is trying to convince Ollie to follow him to the giant party being thrown by one of the most popular boys on the rugby circuit. Though all the Beatles had lucrative solo careers, the fact that Julian keeps George's work close at hand is a small hint as to which of the Fab Four Julian likes best. In my mind, Julian is similar to the quiet, brooding Beatle: thoughtful, witty, but almost a little unspokenly sad as well.
Money - Pink Floyd -  - This song was fresh in 1973, and pops onto the radio while Ollie is crammed in the back of an Aston Martin, riding in style from his shit job to this nighttime lalapalooza. Though the song is iconic and awesome for its technical aspects, it was chosen for this exact moment to highlight the overwhelmingness of Ollie's new social setting. Thrown into the Aston by circumstance, escort consists of his two most nefarious rivals, the pretentious Charles and even smugger Julian. As far as Ollie is concerned, their largest sins are affluence and snobbery -- even if Julian has only committed those things by association.
No Particular Place to Go - Chuck Berry -  - Another classic Chess recording artist is Chuck Berry, one of the real pioneers of rock 'n' roll as we know it. It's always interesting to note that the British Invasion was a direct result of British acts trying to imitate African American groups of the 1960's. Of course, with segregation being what it was in the 60's, those African American acts weren't given the mainstream attention they deserved until the Brits tried to emulate it. Then American white groups were trying to copy that, which is an almost hilarious circle of events. Suffice to say that someone like Ollie would never be the Stones fan he is without an appreciation for Chuck Berry and artists like him. It's one of the main reasons he's able to bond with African American exchange student, Leon Fletcher, and his weekend band.
I've Just Seen A Face - The Beatles -  - This song is off Help!, an album that Ollie doesn't want to acknowledge because of its creators, but one that is perhaps more relevant to his life than he'd like to admit. This song has been clipped from the final manuscript, but it made an appearance at the big rugby bash. After stumbling through the party with an almost manic need to embarrass Julian in the name of protecting himself, Ollie is pushed just a step too far when he overhears the rest of the gang enjoying the Beatles in a way he absolutely cannot.
People Are Strange - The Doors -  - Ollie overhears snatches of this iconic song on his trip home from the party. Ollie is the proverbial stranger, alone in his own mind as he tries to navigate London. The frontman of the Doors, Jim Morrison, is perhaps a good secondary figure to attach to Ollie's story. If anyone hasn't ever seen the Oliver Stone film, The Doors, I highly suggest checking it out. Val Kilmer is mesmerizing in it.