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I simultaneously fell for my now-spouse and the band’s frontman Guy Garvey.
The former was gentle and charming – and so was the latter, with his soulful Mancunian lilt and the way he managed to make real life sound so poetic., started my honeymoon watching the band at Glastonbury, and saw them at the On Blackheath Festival, with our three-year-old and three-month-old daughters wrapped in blankets on our laps.
And encouraging your boys to knock around with girls.’ Garvey still ‘knocks around’ with his sisters.
He tells me an amusing anecdote about mentioning his ‘sister’ in the Elbow song and how each of them had a roundabout way of asking whether it was her he was referring to (‘I told them all the same thing: “Don’t tell the others, but it was you! He also likes to host them all for Christmas, as his north Manchester home has ‘plenty of room, an enormous table and it’s just cosy’.
That stuff is a) difficult to find and b) I almost feel a small sense of responsibility to put those things out there, particularly if somebody else might be feeling them, too.’ Garvey and Unsworth were together for a decade (most of the romantic stuff on was written for her), yet despite their split two years ago, they have managed to achieve the relationship holy grail of staying friends post-break-up.
At 41 years old, he is as warm, attractive and bear-like as I had hoped.
Tall and thick-set, his beard is dashed with grey, his twinkly eyes and jacket a tiny bit creased.
Recorded in eight short weeks, with his ‘favourite musicians outside Elbow’, Courting The Squall was Garvey’s chance to take some risks.
‘That pushy, violent wind at the edge of the storm, that’s the squall,’ he explains, ‘so courting it is about flirting with the edges of danger.’ The album is definitely a bold departure from Elbow. But the lyrics are as perfectly conceived as any Garvey has penned before (my favourites are from Juggernaut: ‘You were cursing the folly of a three-dollar brolly, in your after-work make-up and still-at-work shoes’), and his voice is as velvety as ever.