It’s wonderful what a smile can hide

Patrick Wolf

This was going to be a post about my 20th Patrick Wolf gig, but sadly, life has been a bitch to my family this week and forced us to make other plans.  So instead, I thought I would gush like the fangirl that I am about my favourite musician.

I grew up in a mid-sized crap-hole town called Bracknell.  The relevancy of this being when a friend told me in 2005 I had to see a musician called Patrick Wolf play in our local arts centre, I scoffed.  No one of note has done anything of note in Bracknell, so this Patrick guy couldn’t be all that.

The venue was tiny and there was only a handful of people there, but Patrick was mesmerising.  It was just him and a drummer, and the room was so tiny his head almost touched the ceiling (no exaggeration, although admittedly, he is a tall boy).  And he was a boy – 21 years old, his second album released a few months back.  He sang at times without a microphone – his gentle voice making everyone in that cramped room fall in love with him.  And I fell in love with him.

I couldn’t get this one song out of my head, and Googled it the second I got home – Teignmouth, which is where the name of my blog comes from.  I found out he had another gig in a month, bought his first two albums and began my obsession.

I was so excited for the release of The Magic Position.  I bought the CD and put it on as soon as I got into my car.  I remember vividly pulling out of the parking space and immediately having to stop to cry as the amazing Overture poured out of my speakers.  It was the most beautiful song I had ever heard and it remains my favourite song to this day.

It’s not all been smooth sailing as a Patrick fan, and I think a lot of fans would say the same, but the past few years, my love for him has grown again.  It’s been such a joy to see him get to the place he’s at now, to grow up and become this mature, intelligent, funny, beautiful man and there have been so many memorable moments for me – the gigs hearted below have all been so special, like the time his hair changed colour in the interval at the Bloomsbury Theatre, the time he put his hand on my back at the Boileroom and danced in the crowd to Together, and the frankly jaw dropping encore at the Palladium where he postured on a rotating mirrorball singing Vulture.  The Palladium gig was the first gig I dragged my friend Ryan along to, and despite almost scaring the crap out of him, I think Ryan was converted the moment the entire theatre got to their feet and jumped along to Hard Times.  I must have watched this YouTube video a million times.

The first time I saw him, back in my crap-hole town, I had the opportunity to meet him and I decided not to (too shy).  Which made it all the more special when I did get to meet him in Oxford two years ago.  I told him about almost meeting him in Bracknell and he remembered the venue, so we chatted about that.  He signed my ticket and I got a photo with him (which I’ve never shown anyone as I have a ridiculous dorky grin on my face).  But it finally happened, and I think I remember squealing at Ryan and his girlfriend Nikki (who I’ve also dragged into my obsession!) when they met me after.  I was on such a high.

My next ambition is to see him somewhere other than the UK.  I very nearly went over to Sweden to see him a couple of months ago, and I think I’d just about explode if I managed to combine my love of Scandinavia with Patrick.  I also had a vague idea that my fourth tattoo would somehow commemorate the 20th gig, so I’ve got a little more time to think about what I’d get.  He doesn’t have any tour dates planned for the moment, but there’ll be something.

I’ve been following this man for 8 years – through red, blond, and brown hair; through his experimenting with Alec Empire and testing the mainstream waters with Alex Zane; through pretty much every instrument out there – and I can’t see this stopping any time soon.  I should really thank all my enablers – my Husband, my BFF Tim, and the ever supportive Ryan and Nikki – all of whom I have dragged along to a various different gigs, and kept me company by text when I’ve gone alone.  I’ve endlessly babbled to them about “This one time, at a Patrick gig…” and I’m deeply appreciative for their (sometimes pretend) interest in my fun facts.

And now, what I like to call my Patrick Master List

1.     15th June 2005 – South Hill Park, Bracknell ♥
2.     18th July 2005 – Islington Academy, London
3.     31st October 2005 – Scala, London
4.     30th March 2006 – Bloomsbury Theatre, London ♥
5.     4th October 2006 – Koko, London
6.     19th December 2006 – Union Chapel, London
7.     6th February 2007 – Zodiac, Oxford
8.     11th April 2007 – Astoria, London
9.     20th December 2007 – Shepherds Bush O2, London
10.   13th March 2009 – Koko, London
11.   15th November 2009 – Palladium, London  ♥
12.   6th December 2010 – The Boileroom, Guildford   ♥♥♥
13.   25th March 2011 – O2 Academy 2, Birmingham
14.   29th March 2011 – Koko, London
15.   31st October 2011 – O2 Academy 2, Oxford ♥♥♥♥♥
16.   4th November 2011 – Roundhouse, London
17.   29th August 2012 – Old Vic, London
18.   24th Nov 2012 – Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
19.   4th February 2013 – St Johns the Evangelist Church, Oxford

This ended up being a quite long post…

4 thoughts on “It’s wonderful what a smile can hide

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