Who's Unafraid Of Patrick Wolf?

I was standing in the fifth row for Patrick’s performance at Latitude and he was utterly astonishing. First things first though, who designed his arresting black and white Union Jack unitard? I’m guessing Vivienne Westwood since Patrick is a mega fan, or Susie Lloyd – the “clothes gatherer” for Patrick’s album artwork on The Magic Position and The Bachelor. (Spelt Suzie Lloyd in the credits on the latter).

Everyone has written about Patrick Wolf. Whether he’s being arrested in San Francisco, or making young gay teens faint in Austria, the website last.fm is effectively an adolescent shrine to him.

Still, I love him too, and so wanted to mention him on Jack of Hearts.

For me the Union Jack outfit represents patriotism, but its lacklustre colours offer a metaphor for the difficult place that the UK is in right now. Hard times, shall we say. Patrick's new ice platinum hair signifies a step in confidence and stardom since his previous work. As for the fluctuation between stamping in power boots and then kicking off glossy high heels, this sartorial marriage surely matches his own personality contrast of the loud, percussive militant force versus the poetic and queer violinist. I wonder if he asked Tilda Swinton for some Narnia wardrobe tips when he recruited her to narrate on his upcoming record?

I wasn’t as impressed by "Rowdy Superstar" who Patrick brought onstage as a guest appearance. I wonder if their record label insisted on the manoeuvre to pump up Rowdy's press? (Shit, it's worked!) Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Rowdy Superstar is a great guy, but I seem to remember him just yelling ‘oi oi’ and his Blue Peter outfit falling off. Who would want to appear onstage alongside Patrick though? Shit, it’s compare-the-market-dot-com stage suicide. Also, having the word Superstar in your name is a formula for disaster, unless Andy Warhol gives you it, which I doubt he'll be doing from the grave.

Despite Patrick’s inane abilities with instruments and his staggering presentation, it is Patrick’s onstage personality that makes him a megastar for me. His voice is both tender and mocking, he is affectionate for his audience but at the same time questioning of them, his voice, when not singing, is even more beautiful, English and playfully authoritative.

Patrick Wolf is definitely going somewhere. It’s early days, and his video to Hard Times could have been bigger, but his future could be colossal. He has some of Madonna’s reinvention, David Bowie’s strength of voice, Grace Jones’ approach to fashion, and something more than any of these stars – a beautifully twisted and jewel-encrusted sexuality. Miranda Sawyer in The Observer compared him to the Count on Sesame Street, which is quite amusing, but I think he's more like the embodiment of Draco Malfoy's suppressed sexuality.

Talking of fictional identities... I love the photo inside The Bachelor where Patrick has long hair like Draco's father Lucien Malfoy, or Orlando Bloom's Legolas even. Wow, check me all full of camp comparisons and veneration. I guess it's just so refreshing to have a new star to be passionate about. Superstar even? Will ask Andy for permission via seance.

2 comments:

  1. The Bloody Chamber Music label is Patrick's own label. But yes, he's shamelessly promoting one of his own signed acts I guess.

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  2. Ah! Thanks.

    I wonder if the Bloody Chamber name is an Angela Carter reference, or just lifted.

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