Have you heard the Good News** about Frank Turner?
**The Good News is that he’s an incredible songwriter, he has recorded quite a few albums, and you can hear them!
Many of Frank’s lyrics are stories about real people in his life (sometimes with the names changed, sometimes not). Like myself, @elliomeg is a fan of his work, and she requested a two-part series with “characters from the Frank Turner lyrics universe,” which I have dubbed the FTCU. She specifically asked for the ocean or water to somehow be included. The physical letter was mailed to her earlier this month!
90/91 High Street
13th April, 2007
Ms. Meg Elliott
Well, your girl has really proven herself a right numpty this time.
Tell me, what’s the point of having cardinal rules if you’re just going to ignore them? It was supposed to be simple: no more married guys, no one who fails a background check from my cat, and especially no more musicians. If I’d been born a moth, I’d be the only one in the colony lecturing myself while sprinting into the sun.
In my defence—and I’m aware that you might already be frowning and making the growl-snort that pops out when you’re annoyed, but hear me out—I genuinely believe this one’s different. Yes, I did think the same thing about Ryan. And Tomas. And Zachary. Hell, even D-Dawg, if my memory’s being charitable. But this bloke, he just…when words fall from his mouth, they have this way of ringing true. I know how daft that sounds.
I had plans this weekend, Meg—and in a flash of weakness, I confessed them to Emily. I realise now, bobbing gently on the waves as I write this, the beauty and the terror of that decision. I was going to binge Life On Mars, destroy the structural integrity of a chocolate cake, and polish off at least half of the Zig Zag Red I’ve been harvesting. Work’s a bloody nightmare lately. You remember Emily from your last visit here, of course (as does all of Winchester and probably a fair chunk of Southamton). She wasn’t impressed with my staycation itinerary, so come Friday evening, I found myself ordering overpriced swill at The Soundhaus instead.
He started playing around 9, this skinny grinning punk, and I couldn’t pull my eyes off him. He’s a riddle, Meg. He’s like if Springsteen and Iron Maiden had a kid, with Billy Bragg as the weird uncle. At some point, I convinced myself that I was acting ridiculous (I’m a grown woman, not a dizzy teen, for the sake of all that is secular and non-vulgar). So I set my jaw, turned my heel—and discovered his face right there, waiting patiently for me.
We closed that pub down, then another, and moved on to the earliest breakfast I’ve ever eaten. I expected him to romanticise his job, and he certainly delivered. But he’s also, shockingly, a normal mate. The type you never meet in this business. Growing up, he’d longed to drive a train or become an astronaut when his moment arrived. But like many people, he traded those dreams for climate-controlled rooms and comfortable trainers without really noticing. These songs he writes are his salvation, he said. Jumping around on that stage and yowling truths in front of witnesses and co-conspirators, he thinks that’s some sort of ticket to “getting his hands callused.” To honesty.
I felt seen, Meg. He listens with his whole body. His eyes are intrigued; his ears would enjoy a refill. We yammered past the 8 AM rush, I dashed home so I could gift both our noses with a shower and change of clothes, and we met up again for dinner that evening. Turns out that I emptied the Zig Zag Red bottle after all.
Cut to Sunday morning: he’s pontificating here in the middle of my boat, having the nerve to be interesting when I’m putting so much wasted effort into ignoring that. My own flirtation was escalating to unacceptable levels, which I noticed when I proposed a deal: if anyone ever asks us, we’ll tell them that we met in jail.
When he didn’t reply for a minute, I felt this tiny doubt slither inside; maybe I’d misread him. But he laughed. The corners of his mouth sparkle when he laughs. We spent the rest of those church hours expanding our fake backstory, delighted to finally sail with someone else who understands. He told me that in a past life, he was a sailor beholden only to the waters. He still occasionally pines for the ocean. “She’s still got open arms to hold me,” he said. But your girl is living in Day 3 of this bizarre bender, so the sirens can lure some other yachtie. I jokingly said if he should ever stray and finds himself lost at sea, closing his eyes and thinking of yours truly will set him straight.
I’m reasonably sure I was joking.
Cheesy? Alarmingly fast? Maybe. But he’s returning to the boat after tonight’s gig, so make of that what you will.
By the time I actually post this letter, I’ll (hopefully) have decided whether I want you to encourage me or sharply block this train from leaving the station any more than it already has…
Close-up A (upper front page):
Close-up B (mid front page):
Close-up C (bottom of front page):
Close-up D (back page, left):
Close-up E (back page right):
Want to see everything I’ve created in the same place? Because you can do that!