Everyone has that “remember that time I met (xyz celeb/famous person)” story, right? Well here’s the full glorious story of the that time I met Frank Turner (yes this is the explanation of THAT photo that is the lock screen/background of everything I own forever).
So, let’s begin at the beginning (yes that’s a lyrical reference, shush). It all started on Twitter, the way all good things do, with me lamenting the fact that Frank’s show at Alexandra Palace was not sold out when I’d expected it to be and yet I couldn’t go anyway because I had a super early lecture the next morning. Frank saw this and well, chaos ensued that ended in me basically being told by several fans on Twitter “skip the lecture you’re only a fresher you’ll make it up you can’t miss this” (fair point well made). But there was still the issue of the long travel to and from the venue, until a fellow fan offered to give us a lift there (yep, they offered to give a stranger on the internet a lift just to make sure I could get to the show #FrankFamily). AND THEN Frank himself told me to send him over an email. The email was sent, despite me not really knowing why I was sending it, turns out Frank was offering to sort out a cab, so I could safely get home from the show! So, I was all out of reasons NOT to go!
And thus, tickets were purchased, and I asked Nikki to join me (yes editor Nikki) and she of course accepted.
Around a week or so later I got another email from Frank. This time offering a meet & greet & picture as part of the Random Acts of Kindness thing that was happening around the release of the Positive Song For Negative People album and of course I was never going to turn down a chance to meet someone I idolised (and still do) contact details were also exchanged with Frank’s tour manager Tre so we could make sure this whole thing went down without a hitch.
And then, through no fault of anybody’s, our ride to the show had to drop out just the day before, but Nikki and our friend Bella found a solution (i.e. Bella gave us a lift in her car because she’s an actual angel).
We get to the day of the show, we somehow make it around the North Circular in Bella’s tiny car and she drops us off in the car park. Nikki’s poor legs were then destroyed having to push me up the giant hill between the car park and the venue, to the point where another woman helped us up the hill. #FrankFamily again.
So, we caught the end of Will Varley’s set. And then I looked at my phone in between acts and saw a text from Tre asking if we’d got in ok and where we were sat…cue minor “holy hell this is actually real” moment.
A little while later, we were collected from the disabled platform and taken down the ramp towards backstage. And all of a sudden, a curtain was pulled back and…there was Frank! And at that point I sort of forgot speaking was possible and just sat there thinking “HOLY HELL THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING”.
Nikki similarly lost her mind and we both forgot I’d actually brought a cd with me to potentially get signed. Small things to forget when such a huge moment is happening.
After hugs, a quick chat about a festival that used to be in Uxbridge (I think?) and a picture of the 3 of us, Frank had to rush back to do the show.
After the meeting, we headed back to the disabled platform to watch the show and I cried out of pure disbelief at what had just happened (you think I’m joking, I genuinely cried for a good half of the Skinny Listers’ set).
After singing along to every single word of every single song and dancing until I felt like I was going to fall apart, the show was somehow over, and we waited for someone to come and get us to take us to the prebooked cab home. But not before security tried to take us out of the side door with everyone else and were told “they’re with the band” (I’ve always wanted to be “with the band”!)
We were well looked after and felt like VIPs all night, and that was appreciated more than you can imagine. or VIGs (Very Important Ghosts) as Nikki likes to say, as the colour drained from our faces and we looked like ghosts when we met Frank (I thought I was playing it cool but apparently not!).
This was one of those experiences that made me realise anything is possible if people are willing to help you make it work, one of those things that sparked the #InvincibleWoman within me. I’d heard about the #FrankFamily, how it’s more than a fanbase, how once you’re in you never really leave no matter how many shows you can’t get to, how you’ll make friends that you’ll never lose. that was exactly what I needed given that the show was one of my first major events living in London, or away from home at all. And that’s exactly what I got, for that I’m forever grateful. #FrankFamily
I’ve seen Frank since in Kingston, but I’ll never forget that first show or the lengths he and the rest of the crew went to give me a night I’ll talk about forever.
Since that show, I’ve made a promise to myself that I will go to every show I possibly can, because that’s the only thankyou I can give that seems to go anywhere close to how many thankyous I need to give. On that note, if anyone’s at the Saturday of Lost Evenings Festival (12th May) feel free to say hey!
Also, for those wondering, here’s a 2-and-a-half-year update on that meet & greet picture (minus Nikki because she couldn’t make the signing) and that elusive signature since I forgot to get it at Alexandra Palace.