Hero-Worship At A Frank Turner Show

Noted this down on the way into work on Monday morning; I think I’m going to think about it somemore and rewrite it, eventually, into a proper kind of article-type thing.


I’m not big into hero-worship. That may sound fairly hypocritical, or even just a blatant lie, seeing as I constantly go on about Camus, but I think it’s true. I think it borders a little too close to Absolutism, for me, and if you’ve read the free short story I’ve got in my site, The Maddening Dark (SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION ALERT), then you’ll know how much I despise Absolutism – but then again, I can see the benefits.

I listen to a lot of music. When I was younger, I went from rock to metal to punk and straight into folk without stopping much along the way. I would say, at this point, I’ve listened to more Woody Guthrie than Dio, more Bob Dylan than Black Sabbath, and more Johnny Cash than Queen. I did get back into Punk a couple of years ago, and it was around this time I started listening to a wider range of stuff.

Anyway, Frank Turner wrote a book. He’s one of the best songwriters working at the moment, a fantastic singer (I understand how he can come across as a bit of a busker to a lot of people) and an interesting personality. So I was going to pick it up anyway, but then he announced that he was accompanying it with a tour.

I went to see him on Saturday, the day after my 22nd birthday, at the Liverpool Library. He wasn’t boring, he and Ian Winwood had a conversation that, whilst it might have been boring for them (even though they looked like they were having fun), was new to the audience. I couldn’t stop staring at this one couple in the second row. He looked like the standard guy who wouldn’t call himself ‘Alternative’ but probably thinks he is. The girl was a little older than him, with slightly purple hair, and I’d seen her at a few concerts and things before.

She leaned her head on him, she would occasionally hold his hand; she kissed him at one point. At no point when Frank Turner was on-stage did she take her eyes off of him. She laughed at jokes that weren’t meant to be funny, but were simply answers to questions. She nodded emphatically at every line he uttered. She nodded every time he asked a question of the audience, but never put her hand up or made another noise to agree, and looked dumbstruck when Turner spoke to another member of the audience instead of her.
She swayed along with the songs, but she didn’t look like she was enjoying them. She didn’t know the words to the new songs which, although they technically haven’t been released yet, a good selection can be found online. She wasn’t there to listen to music, she was there to listen to the man, and it was as though she didn’t realise that the two are inexorably linked.

Anyway, all I could think was ‘She will never lover the man next to her, as much as she loves the man on the stage.’ It is a strange lure; similar to the way a barmaid always looks more beautiful when she’s at work. It’s Hero-Worship, and it’s repulsive to watch.

It’s not new. You can see it at any kind of live event, in the eyes of people watching a programme, listening to music or, unfortunately, reading.

I have felt the twinge of it myself, but I feel it in the music. I don’t go weak-kneed, I don’t ignore people I love to hear Frank Turner’s voice, but I always have a song or two stuck in my head.

Still, the songs were good, great in fact, and I got to hear some new and some older stuff with a kind of raw delivery that just doesn’t translate as well to larger venues. I bought the book from the Merch Stand in the lobby, but I didn’t join the queue to get it signed. I don’t understand the whole ‘signature’ thing, I don’t understand the assumed personal message part of the whole experience. I wouldn’t having a hat with the guys, but I doubt I’d have anything interesting to say to them. I think I just like the music.

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Is it odd that I’ve started to take more pictures, because it can relate to this little online presence of mine? Is it odd that this thing that I don’t really consider to be a serious platform, is starting to affect the things I do?

I’d probably say that I knew a lot of what Frank Turner and Ian Winwood talked about through listening the songs. His signature comes through in the music he makes, and I don’t need a scribble in a black marker pen, on the inside of a book or on the front of a ticket.

We went to a nightclub, got drunk, I threw my head around a little. We went back to a friend’s apartment, on the top floor of some shitty-looking building between a comic-book store and what I think is an investment banker’s, and I slept on a couch without any cushion.

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