Patrick Wolf - Bluebells (The Magic Position, 2006)
I remember when I first saw the video for The Magic Position and thinking how amazingly different this guy was compared to all the rest of the crap on whatever passed for an hour of ‘music-channel-stuff’ on Channel 4. And then on our crappy bulk of a cream-coloured computer, with our useless dial-up system that we had in the countryside until 2008, I remember finding this video. And I was just like, that’s me. That’s how I feel, that’s where I live, that’s my environment. Somehow he’d captured my life, and the countryside, and the weird feeling of, like, being trapped in it as a youth, but also really loving it. And I got the album, and I remember that I wanted to hear it… properly. Not on my shitty little CD player. So when no-one else was in, I put it in the large stereo system we had in our living room, the one with the vinyl player on the top and two tape players to record and transfer albums or radio shows, the one that had huge speakers covered in thin felt at the front, the one that finally gave up the ghost a few years ago to make way for a DAB. And I heard him sing about magpies and fungus, stars and rotting leaves, orchards and rafters. It was like someone had just turned somewhere I felt… part of into weird, beautiful music.
Soon I got Wind In The Wires and found even more songs about the countryside, about Cornwall and birds and the shipping forecast. Then in November 2008 Patrick came to Exeter, where I was in college at the time, for a tiny little gig with Lightspeed Champion. He came on with long red hair extensions and a giant rosary bead necklace, and he played everything acoustically for us, entering the stage singing Frére Jaques. A Baritone ukulele, and a fiddle. I saw him the next day, as he brushed past me and my friend on the street, me wearing an overly tight gig t-shirt I’d bought the night before. He was dressed in wellies and a huge barbour jacket, towering over the two people he was walking with.
I love Patrick’s music. I love it when he’s acoustic, I love his experimental electronica, I love it when he’s unashamedly poppy. But I’ll always have a fondness for those songs about the countryside. About rivers and ghosts, and the place where the winds are born. For someone who felt so disconnected from the mainstream world of pop culture and city-celebrity, it was so amazing to find someone who sang about where I felt most at home.
words cannot convey my joy at seeing these two together in a photo!
Patrick Wolf and Calpernia Addams at the Oxford Union Debate.