I’d vowed to find another use for that name. As part of our Media A-Level course in Year 12, we had to create a promotional campaign for a fictional band or solo artist. This would be comprised of a poster, magazine article and introductory video, all informing the consumer of an upcoming debut album. The instructions were simple enough, but the actual project was anything but. Firstly, however, we each had to come up with names and willing contributors for our acts. Will decided to form a conventional band made up of some of our friends, but I decided to reduce the chances of bandmates not turning up to photoshoots by going solo. As I wasn’t keen on using my own name, thinking it would be pretty boring, I decided to look elsewhere for inspiration, at Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and – of all people – Owl City.
I then came to the realisation that some of the greatest bands in history had a colour in their name – Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Simply Red. With this in mind, I somehow managed to choose yellow, a colour that doesn’t exactly flow from the tongue when paired with a word like “flyover”, which was picked at random. The resulting name for this solo project both looked and sounded ugly, but it would have to do. Besides, there was still embarrassment yet to come. To take the photographs for the poster, Louis and I borrowed Dad’s digital camera and I settled on our hallway as a suitable location. The desk lamp from my room was positioned carefully on the carpet, its red-hot bulb far too close to my face for comfort as I knelt in front of it. Initially, it was the only form of illumination we had in the darkness, until Louis suggested draping a set of fairy lights over me. In retrospect, and after having seen the finished photos more than I’m comfortable with, it was the cheesiest and most terrible idea in all of human history. But I had a (fictional) electronica album to promote, so as far as I was concerned the fairy lights would give the poster just the futuristic feel I was looking for.
They didn’t. I looked completely ridiculous, having achieved nothing that I was aiming for. Rather than being an uber-cool pop star conveying the sci-fi awesomeness of his record, I was a berk in a white T-shirt being blinded by my lamp and humiliated by the lights. The photos we took were used on the finished poster (to the amusement of my teacher), but I severed my creative relationship with Louis after that. Happily, I was much more satisfied with my magazine article, and I’m still very grateful for all of the extra help that Mr Abbott gave me to make sure it was good enough and finished on time. He did the same for the video, an interview that Will and I filmed in my conservatory having already tried and failed to do it out and about in Minehead. On the day of that first attempt, with the (old and pretty rubbish) camera I’d been lent by College apparently fully charged, we went all the way out to my chosen spot only to find the battery was as flat as a pancake. A misleading red light at home had convinced me it was charging, but it had in fact been sitting totally empty overnight. In the end, of course, it was completed, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this was just in the nick of time. That seemed to be the case pretty often throughout sixth form!
Regardless of the obstacles that appeared throughout the process, I told myself I’d keep the Yellow Flyover name in mind for something else. It occasionally becomes a username for an account I’m setting up, but it does mean a little more to me than that. Even though the work was often draining, in terms of socialising with friends I was having some of the happiest times of my life at that point. To think of Yellow Flyover takes me straight back to those times, giving it special significance. That’s why it deserves a blog post and possible use in the future, as a byword for positivity in my life.