I've always been a little apprehensive about meeting artists who I have a great deal of admiration for; the last thing you want is for them to knock themselves off the perch you've placed them on. This weekend I got to meet a handful of people who I was and very much still am fans of...
Gruff Rhys, as both a solo artist, writer and in particular as leader of the Super Furry Animals has had a huge impact on my adolescence. I had failed to see the band on three separate occasions in my young teens, but just shy of 18 I went to Glastonbury and while all my other friends were using the time to get high I went front and centre and SFA just blew my mind. I remember Northern Lights in particular (you can watch it here, not sure you can see me) and the irony of it all was some guy lent over and gave me a few blasts on his joint in any case. This weekend Gruff was promoting his brilliant new book (and album of the same name) American Interior. After talking about the project, Gruff kindly came to our shop and signed a whole bunch of things. The guy was such a pleasure to be around. A lot of people wanted to tell him about SFA and buying various records he had released over the years and it was very charming to see how genuinely moved he was. He really gave himself and, as you can see above, annotated, doodled and inscribed at great lengths all that was placed under him.
Another band that had a huge impact on a hand full of the Drift staff were Doves, in particular the seminal debut album Lost Souls. Jimi Goodwin this year released his solo album (Odludek on Heavenly) and was a banging choice as a Sunday night headliner. We grabbed him pretty much as soon as he had landed on site and he was again a total gentleman, gladly signing all sorts of things for us and delighting in all the wide and varied stock we had with us. He would have been in a car for the previous six or seven hours but was happy to come and listen to my boring stories. Always sign of a hell of a guy.
Possibly the biggest draw of the whole weekend was Viv Albertine (of The Slits) who was talking about her book Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. We didn't time her but she was gladly signing books (until we ran out) for well over ninety minutes. Viv didn't have a direct impact on my formative years, but she signed books for a lot of people for whom she did. It was a great experience to stand alongside her whilst people explained with such passion about how she had quite literally saved their lives as teenagers in shitty remote little towns. Loads of them had started bands, all of them had believed that through Viv they could do. She told me off a few times, but gave me a damn good hug, i'd call that a big victory.
I don't have any direct conclusions about how to pick and meet people who's creative works you are into, perhaps we just got dumb lucky this weekend as they were all such inspirational people. Both Gruff and Jimi signed extra copies of things for us and whilst they last are in the shop now.