A Tale of Elbow, Loss, Love, and Life

July 26, 2009 in Band, Members by Allyn Gibson

In less than two weeks, I’m going to see Elbow, live and in person, for the first time.

I can honestly say that I’m giddy out of my mind at this.

For years now, I’ve considered myself an Elbow evangelist. I bought CAST OF THOUSANDS years ago, made all of my friends listen to it, especially “Fugitive Motel” and “Not a Job,” because it was the greatest thing I had ever heard. “It’s what Coldplay would be, if Coldplay had the guts to be that,” I said, and even now I stand by that. I don’t know how I discovered Elbow. Was it a review in MOJO? I don’t know. I loyally bought the albums, ordered the Abbey Road CD/DVD direct from the band, tracked down rare tracks, talked up Elbow with friends and coworkers. An evangelist.

Six months ago, I’d never have thought I might see them in person.

Elbow is playing a headlining show in Washington at the 9:30 Club. Tickets went on sale in April. I called my then-romantic interest and asked her if she wanted to go to a concert four months in the future. She said yes. I bought the tickets. Then, not even two weeks later, things went south between us, and just when you thought they couldn’t go south any more, they found a whole new direction even further south. Hyper-south, let’s call it.

I’d decided to write the concert, all if it, off as a loss.

As much as I loved Elbow, as much as I wanted to see Elbow, I didn’t want to go to the concert without her.

There’s a reason for that. And it has to do with Elbow, but in a very different way.

I’m a writer. I’ve written a few short stories, I’ve sold a few articles to magazines here and there, I write about comic books and pop culture on a daily basis in my job. In the spring, I started writing a novel. My writing has generally been science-fiction, but this novel isn’t.

Rather, it’s about us, her and me. It’s a fictionalized version of how we met, which was one of those completely random and romantic things that you read about in fiction but that you never think actually happen in real life, until they actually do.

And the title for the novel? “Mirrorball.”

As in, Elbow’s song, “Mirrorball.”

Ironically, despite nicking the title and taking inspiration from an Elbow song, I’ve not been writing the novel to Elbow.

We saw each other two weekends ago, at a science-fiction convention. Somehow, it was like the last three months hadn’t happened. They had, and we talked about the mistakes we both made, and we parted on good terms.

Then last Sunday, she e-mailed me about the concert. She didn’t outright say she wanted to go, so I outright asked her.

To my surprise, she said yes. Enthusiastically.

In less than two weeks, then, I am going to see a band I consider my private little secret, and I am going to introduce one of the inspirations for my novel to the other inspiration.

I am truly excited about this.