On Tuesday 18th February 2014 I flew to Poland to visit Exhibit A. Six years ago today! I only realised this as I was drafting these posts last night (I’d originally intended this photo to close album cover week on Friday). That was only the second time he and I had ever met and in hindsight maybe it was a bit of a bonkers thing to do, but I was only six months into a new chapter and I was making up for a lot of lost time so when he suggested it I thought ‘fuck it’!
That first evening in Warsaw we discovered we had a shared love of the Manic Street Preachers. Anyone who pays even the slightest bit of attention to my Twitter or blog will know that the Manics occupy a special place in my affections and finding another fan always makes my heart sing. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen them since I paid £6.50 to see them at Warrington Parr Hall in October 1992 – closer to 40 than 30, I’d say – but the last few times have been with Exhibit A. They’ve definitely become one of our red threads.
This blog was started exactly one year later (five years ago this coming weekend!) and pretty much since day one I’ve wanted us to do a copy of this album cover. With those twisted limbs and roses near eyes it’s not really one you can quickly shoot on self-timer when there’s just two of you! Finally, during our group gathering a few weeks back there were enough extra hands for me to be able to tick it off my list.
A lot has changed in those intervening years – a fact that’s probably most neatly summed up by saying his wife took this photo while his one-year-old daughter was napping in my office! Back then I was in a ‘fuck it, I’ll try anything’ phase but not really having any structure to that part of my life or thinking too much about what really made me happy; now I’m in a much more settled place of knowing what combination of ‘partner light’ relationships and casual but valued play date arrangements work for me.
I think I can probably speak for both of us when I say that if someone had told us six years ago that we’d be taking this photo and in what circumstances, neither of us would have believed them. But I’m very happy that as both of our lives have evolved we’ve managed to maintain and grow our own connection. Here’s to many more Manics gigs, late night singalongs to Design for Life and, of course, photos!