There was a point in time where Turner was the artist most likely to appear on SteveForTheDeaf. The site launched in a flurry of all the music I love and the new stuff I’m liking around the era he launched the Songbook into Be More Kind era. So we got 1933, Make America Great Again (waves at Pussy Riot) and There She Is in real time. I’d also made him star of early list week Songs About Songs with I Still Believe and featured Silent Key in it’s own right for being a tear jerking rock-a-roller. How Reasons Not To Be An Idiot got posted too is just sheer enthusiasm.
Mrs ForTheDeaf and I were having a cultural renaissance in late 2019 early 2020. We had city breaks, zoo passes, gym membership, National Trust cards, theater bookings and gig tickets a plenty lined up for the whole year. There was a period of illness in our home which was now behind us and we were ‘getting back out there’ before we were too old to do some of this stuff with four functioning hips between us.
We had tickets to see Frank play in our local theater in March 2020. The curious plot leapers among you (the kind of people who 5 minutes into a crime drama cry out ‘She did it’) may wonder if the gig went ahead or was it cancelled due to Ver ‘Rona. It did go on. Frank played a show 15 minutes from our house. We didn’t go though. This was the first instance of us changing our plans because of the Dirty Little Virus. The next night Frank cancelled the rest of his tour and he and his crew packed up and went home. Within a fortnight my wife was sick. Within a month I was terrified I’d lose her. I’m not judging Mr Turner on when he called it a day. As I say, we didn’t attend the show. We were all getting the news at the same time. The directions were muddled. I was gutted to miss the gig. We both were, but what is clear is Frank lives for the shows. He’s the live experience in human form.
Going to see Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls (or on his own, or with Ginger Wildheart or Jon Snodgrass or Million Dead or on Mastermind answering questions about Iron Maiden or opening up the 2012 Olympics atop a fake Glastonbury Tor and stealing the show from ALL OF THE BEST BRITISH BANDS EVER) is a joyous experience.
Frank’s stayed busy during lockdown. He’s played shows from his home and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Venues he and his band fill, thrill and spill out of singing songs about the power or music, love and dancing with your friends. I’ve watched a fair few. I’ve chipped in. I’ve sent song requests through the comments bar. It’s been fun. But it’s not the same.
“The first time that the beat drops in the bar, is going to be biblical, the second that the singalong starts it’s going to be sensational”
Frank’s not doing a lock-down song. Oh My Giddy Aunt! The next few years are going to be so full of lock-down songs. Nope Frank’s coming out of his cage and he’s doing just fine. He’s got his eyes on the prize. He’s a better wordsmith than I. I’ll let this little lyric explain.
“We’ve been huddled in our houses for however many days like survivors and we’ve been dutifully paying our dues and paying heed to our advisors, Yeah, but we’re pent-up and we’re pissed off and we’re perilously close to the precipice, we’re butterflies in ballet shoes and Brothel Creepers coming out of our chrysalis, it comes down to this”
Playing like he’s stolen a song from The Hold Steady and convinced Tad to play a Slade riff for him. I’m excited by this track. Honest lad that he is, I saw this morning he’d already tweeted to Craig Finn to apologise for that. These two acts are the same species. Pure bread mongrels of rock and roll. He’s roped in Jason Isbell and Dom from Muse (waves at Royal Blood) as accomplices. You can’t blame any of them.
“All together now, this is our mantra, we gather together, we look out for each other, because we’ve got strength in our numbers”
I’m so pleased to have Frank back firing on all cylinders. And I want to say thanks.
Thanks for keeping us company from your sofa with your acoustic guitar Mate. Thanks for looking after the Tivoli, The Black Heart, The Crauford Arms and The Roadmenders too. It really helped during some of the darkest parts to hear the songs, see how you were doing. To see how the rest of the crowd were doing and sing as we cried into our beers.
I couldn’t help feel like I was using that zoo pass to see a tiger in it’s cage though. And you were Booooorrrrrnnn Freeeeeeee. So it’s important we get you back to your natural habitat.
Gatherings? They’re Grrreat!