Thursday, 28 October 2010

I met Paul Smith from Maximo Park

Yep, that's right...
'We shared a conversation' &
We shared a Polaroid picture!
The only reason I didn't faint, weep or undergo a cardiac arrest was because, prior to the event I spent roughly 4 years preparing myself and organizing what I would say: I can now see the 'Ikea mishap' as a practise run through, or in Maximo Park terms, a 'Trial and Error'


...Right, RPM record store in Newcastle: Intimate solo album gig. After a delightfully heart wrenching set I finally got to say thank you, 'thank you for the beautiful music' and it seemed to genuinely go in somewhere, this was moving enough but I think the largest miracle of the night was the fact I didn't go red or make a fool of myself- Me! the girl who perfectly reflects The Smiths lyrics "16, clumsy and shy: that's the story of my life" by, oh I don't know: accidentally falling out of a wheel barrow, accidentally tucking my skirt into my tights then parading round school and accidentally folding myself into a deck chair (yesterday)... If someones eyes linger upon me in a classroom, if I try on a dress in H&M, basically if I go about my daily life, at at least some point of the day my cheeks will- without my permission- feel the need to go red. But if I indulge in a pleasant chat with one of my musical idols and inspirations, I am absolutely dandy! It must have been a medical marvel from the heavens or something...

After the glorious wonder [combined with that of Maximo Park the month before!] all I could think and feel was an emotion I never knew I had. It wasn't like love because I don't know what that is yet but it was something deeply powerful and special that I can occasionally feel burning brightly and closely beneath the skin of my cheek [somehow without blushing] This emotion is rooted not in my heart or soul or mind or Ipod but in me. It's not obsession or anything I just love Paul's music, it's so real. Maximo Park, well largely Maximo Park, kept me going through out my entire adolescence and school life.

After eventually meeting, practically my lyrical counsellor, apparently judging by my diary I experienced "butterflies to the point of cramp, a weak heaviness in my chest and a shortness of breath and words for one day and 7 hours" seems quite outrageous to me but if I remember back, I think that's right. God reading through my diary notes, I seem like an utter physcopath (but it's ridiculously funny and quite poetic so I'll quote it anyway) after writing the words; 'I met Paul Smith' apparently "my hand went stiff, my eyes ached, my throat stung and my breath danced in symmetry with the movement of my wrist and the shadow of the pen. My body and my world slowed down to focus and emphasise on the one wish that never faded, becoming true. The only aspect that didn't slow down was the playing of Paul Smith's album symbolizing the one continuous motif of my life" Jesus Christ Iona! That was intense- I'm genuinely really sorry if I scare any of you.

^I had to slightly crop my head out of that picture because it looks to have somehow inflated into a pasty balloon with a gappy orange fringe, for obvious reasons however, that is one of my most cherished Polaroids. What I'm about to say may seem delusional but it was almost like Paul noticed the importance of our lovely chat about his hectic schedule, sleeping patterns and our shared love of Polaroids (all topics of which he introduced into the conversation slightly more eagerly than I) because according to Hannah Marshall he looked up when she said my name as if he recognized it! And, according to me and Laura Black he seemed reluctant to end our discussions by [I'm surprisingly not exaggerating this] watching us leave the shop and smiling goodbye to me.

All the lyrics seem to relate more to me now that I ever thought they could: "I'm wasting my precious time with you on my mind/ I said you were special, you know that I meant it. Now I'm all over the shop." And even that remarkably moving Thursday night seemed to somehow fit into My So Called Life when Brian was pondering about fishermen- it could have pretty much related to me: "They sit there waiting for ages then when they finally feel a tug they don't even panic" Perhaps the nicest quote (although it doesn't relate to me or anything) might be: "This next song is called 'I Drew You Sleeping' Don't worry though, the person didn't mind. It was just a 10 minute kip"

Basically, to sum everything up: I'm very happy and I'm very lucky (and pretty patient) but also, I wouldn't say 'If you like Maximo Park then listen to Margins' because it's not the same, it's quieter and deeper and more personal. Maybe, listen if you like truthful love songs or if you feel moved by the lyrics of Maximo Park's slower songs (Books from Boxes/ Parisian Skies/ Calm and the like) It is a slight grower but after listening to nothing but Margins for two weeks, I love it more and more every time I hear it. I personally think the album is divine and beautiful and honest and romantic and can paint an everlasting picture.

"When you were alone, in your empty half sold flat,
I would battle the drunks out on their Christmas do,
dressed in cheap costume- just to make it to you."


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Josh Smith, well I never!
    That's really kind of you, thanks :')

  3. Well,that was an amazing account.Bang on
    with your words,Iona.I can see you were completely swept away by Mr Smith and his
    songs,and you have completely identified with his music there.I've been a fan for 5 years of MP,and unfortunately due to a house move,won't be able to attend Paul's solo gig at the Bush Hall in London,but I am eagerly hoping that he will do some more solo dates next year,before the Park tour again.
    When I first met Paul before the Park's Brixton show in 2006(my second Park show),I was rooted to the spot and could only gaze at him,transfixed.He realised I was overcome and was very kind,signing my autograph book for me and a friend who couldn't be present.I think he was also quite amused."This is weird!" he said to me,but through a haze of sweet shock I couldn't answer!!!so I can totally identify with how you reacted at RPM Records.
    He is a unique person,with one foot in another world,if that makes sense.I think he has had a rough time,may even have been bullied at school,but now he is on top of his game.
    Thank you again for an absorbing blog.