Yeah, that happened.
So this isn’t new to those who know me, but for those who’ve more or less started following me this past year on Twitter, I love Imogen Heap. I do. So much. I even admit to been such an obsessive on my bio page. Since that first time I was introduced to Hide & Seek on The O.C. that more or less developed into a love for a lot more of her stuff, I’ve been a massive fan (and eventually down the line, Frou Frou). Hell, I even managed to hide a lyric of Hide & Seek in a freelance piece on Hideo Kojima last year for VG247!
That developing love for her material more or less culminated in October 2010 when she performed a gig at the Empire Music Hall in Belfast, mostly consisting of her own stuff (but with Let Go thrown in), and how she told the story of the man who hated wheat and chocolate who eat digestives.
It’s actually three years ago tomorrow that happened. And it was, quite frankly, the best gig I think I’ve ever seen. It was incredible (three years on, still even more so than seeing Radiohead at The O2 in London last year).
Last night at St Columbs Hall in Derry, she was the vocal narrator for City Songs, a telling of a story that was backed up by six choirs from the mainland and Ireland. There’s a better explanation of it here. Needless to say, it was never going to be containing an actual Imogen Heap or even Frou Frou song but that didn’t take away from how incredible it was. I hope, somehow, this gets a release because it’s just a lovely production and, as you’d expect, Heap was on top form.
I’m typically not a fan of the whole getting an autograph/photo of a celebrity thing – it’s just something I’m not fussed about – but I could live with this exception (and at least two others down the line, hopefully). I tried to grab one just a few minutes after it wrapped up, but she was backstage at that point. So I tried the open bar that happened downstairs after it was over (thanks to Mark Patterson of BBC Radio Foyle for the tip). Considering I had no keys for my house (clumsy Clara thought he’d be out for 10:30pm when people would still be awake at that point), I had set myself a deadline: if she hadn’t appeared by quarter to midnight, I’d be out to be home for midnight.
Thankfully, quarter to midnight was when she made her appearance. After a few others got in to have their picture taken, I finally managed to meet her. I bared all to her and admitted how much I loved her and Frou Frou, how I seen her in Belfast three years ago at the Empire Music Hall and how I sang along to every verse, word and letter of Let Go that night (very shittingly too – if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you can actually see the full video of it too if you can find it (and no, I’m not sharing it publicly before anyone asks)).
After the picture you see above, I had to explain how I ended up with a cracked phone screen and how I dropped it just down the street from where the after-party was happening back in April, told her I was looking forward to Sparks (but couldn’t afford the boxset because I was skint :() and be on my way. And compliment her on an amazing performance earlier in the evening just as I was leaving. Cue jumping about like a maniac and smiling like a loon going over the Peace Bridge back into the Waterside.
She was absolutely lovely about it and wonderful to chat to, even if it was five minutes. A sincere pleasure. I said it before and I’ll say it again: following Belfast, I said I’d intend to see her an infinite amount of times. After last night, that rule stands, no matter what capacity – solo or other commitments, like City Songs.
Maybe perhaps even a one-off Frou Frou reunion (God, I’d love that)?