I went to bed last night after being awake for 22 hours. It reminded me of another time here in Manchester in 2018 when we saw a regular “Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls” show and went to his DJ set afterwards. Difference is, that while I could sleep in and have a relaxing day back then, I need to be at the first of a couple of work meetings in about 2.5 hours and converse in English with collegues from all around Europe. Today and for the next two days. It’s going to be interesting, but also…. exhausting. My alarm was set for 6:30 this morning (and 6:45, 7:00 just in case). I woke up still pumped full of adrenaline and unable to go back to sleep around 5:15. Yay! Not! So after checking my work mails and read over what my colleague had prepared so far, I thought I use the time to jot down a few thoughts from last night, before the day gets busy.
The “Book Event” was a lovely evening. Frank and his friend Ian Winwood, a music journalist, talked about all kinds of stuff in Frank’s career, his songwriting, but also touring of course and anything else they fancied talking about. At least that’s what it felt like, it wasn’t a formal interview kind of thing. They are good friends and it showed. There was a Q&A with questions from the audience as well, which also had to serve as a “Manchester’s best band: Oasis or Elbow?” survey and Frank ended the night on stage with six acoustic songs. Among them “The Armadillo”, which made me quite happy as I never thought I’d hear that cover. He also played a new song from the album he had finished recording recently and I loved it. This album is going to be so so so good, I think. I wrote why at the bottom of this post a few days ago.
We had managed to get good seats at the front, which in consequence meant we were at the back of the “book signing” queue. A slow moving queue, because… Frank is so easy to talk to and takes his time and wants to make sure everyone has a lovely experience. Unfortunately for me/us it meant, that the clock was ticking when it was my turn and because I am who I am, that stressed me out even more than usual. No ones fault, I bet Frank would have listened attentively to what I had wanted to tell/ask him. He was asking me questions all the while he was signing my book and we took the obligatory photo. He’s the pro at this. I’m the sometimes still too self-conscious fangirl. *headdesk*.
Anyway, it’s always a joy to see/meet him, whether ‘talking bollocks with his mate’ on stage, answering audience questions, playing a few songs or standing in a concert hall foyer for almost two hours, signing books, taking photos, chatting with people. (I was about to type “fans”, but Frank mentioned that he doesn’t really like that term and I might need to ponder on what I think of that. It’s too complicated to entangle my thoughts right now). I can only quote what I said about a similar event I was allowed to witness in Swindon last year.
[….] because he is just such a kind and lovely human being. It’s a joy to watch him interact with his supporters and I think he really enjoys these interactions. Not in a self-centred, narcissistic kind of way, which could be assumed of any pop / rock / sport / whatever star who is interacting with his fans. But in a simple enjoy-interacting-with-other-human beings kind of way. And yes, it probably helps, that the people who he was interacting with that afternoon liked him and came to see him, because they liked him and it was very lovely to witness. [….] I was focused on watching how Frank interacts with the fans who wanted to chat with him for a moment. It was fun and exciting and lovely, but I thought “I would NOT have the energy to be Frank Turner” ;-) Because there were so many people and he had to focus on someone new every one or two minutes. And even though Frank’s time clearly was limited at the store, he never ever sent out that vibe.
My energy levels are barely sufficent to be a ‘working’ fangirl, because I’m going to need all the coffee I can get to help me through the day today. The memories are always worth it. That reminds me of another thing Frank mentioned in the talk with Ian, about what he likes to be on tour so much. It was something along the line, because every day is different and there are so many exciting memories. In the “Live your life to the fullest” kind of way. And that’s exactly why, when it turned out I had to be here for work this week, I had no shame in asking my supervisor if I could arrange my travels so I could be in town early enough for the book event :-)