HEARING a song from his dad’s past has inspired a young autism sufferer to produce a stunning video to commemorate the centenary of the World War 1 Armistice.
Joe Butterworth is 24 and a keen and talented photographer. His dad Allan, now busy as a self-employed tiler, spent what he calls “the most memorable 10 years of my life!” managing a local band Vanishing Point that almost – almost! – made it into the music big time, and evolved into the much-loved local group the Daw Green Stompers.
No Man’s Land, a song written by Vanishing Point’s Kris Tattersfield as long ago as 1982, was chosen by Princess Anne in 1991 to be a charity single as part of a fundraising effort for Romanian orphans.
“We thought our record company RCA were having a laugh when they called and told us,” recalled Allan. “But when we got down there, there was Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood), Jocelyn Brown, Alexander O’Neil, Sinitta … it was unreal.”
Allan said what could have been the band’s big break was dashed when music impresario Pete Waterman pulled out of a plan to promote the single worldwide.
“All of the proceeds were supposed to go to charity,” said Allan. “Waterman had offered to back it but then said he wanted all of his costs covering. In the end he walked away.”
Vanishing Point had a top 10 hit in Holland, but things never quite took off.
Now Joe has resurrected the song in time for the Armistice centenary, and shot a moving video to accompany it – and he wants his efforts to inspire other autism sufferers to challenge themselves.
Joe, who lives with his dad and mum Sue in Bradford Road, Birstall, has been unable to find regular employment because of his condition, so he volunteers at various charities besides caring for his grandma – and he says it’s changed his life.
“It’s brought me out of my shell, meeting new people,” he said. “I hope it shows that anyone can achieve things. We can all get out and contribute, get out and live.”
Using a hand-held video camera, and using friends and family as both stars and extras, Joe shot footage over the space of a weekend this summer.
He and Allan got permission from British Pathe News to use old newsreel footage, which Joe edited in using inexpensive video edition software – “the best £40 I’ve spent” - and worked in shots from the Yorkshire Wartime Experience weekend in Hunsworth in July.
“A few years ago, Joe would never have done something like this, let alone had the confidence to talk about it,” added Allan. “He’s a diabetic who has to self-medicate twice a day, but how he’s come on should inspire all young people with autism – he even had one of his landscape photos featured on ITV’s Calendar last week!”
The video can be found on Youtube, by searching for Kris Tatt-No Man’s Land.