If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll remember previous posts about the tremendous women I’ve met through following Alfie Boe, namely Margie in Australia and Roberta in NYC. This post is about two fantastic friends, The Two Linda’s, both of whom featured in my last post about the Classic Brit Awards – and yes, I’m still floating around after that evening!
If you’re a fan of Alfie Boe that has ever searched YouTube for videos, you’ll almost certainly have seen one of Linda’s lovely videos. We are extremely lucky that Alfie allows fans to film at his concerts and even luckier that such a talented camerawoman like Linda shares her videos with the wider world.
I first met Linda at the Bluewater book signing in September 2013 and was immediately welcomed with open arms as a fellow Alfie fan. We have since been to several events and met up and had a great time – the Two Linda’s even came to my 40th birthday bash in September. I interviewed Linda (sounds a bit grand for what was just a chat really!) at the Classic Brits and she told me that her introduction to Alfie came through her love for Il Divo – I know, I can’t understand the attraction either! Although Linda had been aware of Alfie for a while (Parkinson and the Matt Lucas kitchen videos where her chief thought was how much a clean shaven Alfie looked like Declan Donnelly!), she didn’t think he was that special until some of her Il Divo friends from America were coming over to London to see him in Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre. Linda went along and was absolutely hooked, eventually going to the show six times, including the legendary last performance. Since then, Linda has seen him at every available opportunity, including nearly all of the Storyteller shows. My son is a keen Jellytots Linda fan, and it was him who gave her that name in order to differentiate from the other Linda. Linda W is an avid consumer of jellytots!
Linda A is another very special friend who I first met over coffee when she and a friend came down to London to see the musical Rock of Ages. The meeting place gives you a inkling of how she came by her nickname of Costa Linda although we didn’t actually meet in Costa! My son, as well as being a fan of Linda W is also a fan of Linda A and as Linda W is called jellytots Linda, Linda A is now Costa Linda as we met her in over coffee. The actual conversation went something like this: “So are we meeting jellytots Linda or Costa Linda?”.
Although Linda and I had only tweeted and chatted online before, from that first meeting we just got on like the proverbial house on fire and have done ever since. We have since met up at non Alfie related events as well, although one such meet up resulted in our most unexpected Alfie moment. I met Linda at the stage door of the Queens Theatre where she had been to a matinee of Les Mis. We were chatting to a couple of other friends when Alfie suddenly appeared and just as quickly disappeared into the stage door – to say we were star struck is an understatement! We stood there yelling and waving but neither of us thought to ask him to sign anything or come out for a photo! This is Linda’s Alfie story:
How did I first get into Alfe?
The date…3 October 2010, I was so excited! It was the 25th anniversary performance of Les Miserables at The O2 Arena, London. I’d had my ticket for months and had been waiting with great anticipation…. My one disappointment, why hadn’t they chosen someone like John Owen Jones or Simon Bowman for the role of Jean Valjean? After all they had both played the part to some acclaim at The Queens Theatre. Instead a virtual unknown to me, a tenor called Alfie Boe had got the part in this prestigious performance so I would reserve my judgement! Well there I was in my seat at the O2 waiting for Les Mis to begin. The overture started up …I felt the excitement in the pit of my stomach… … The performance began, Jean Valjean stood before the microphone and began to sing …….WOW!!!! Alfie Boe, what a voice! As the show progressed I found myself totally mesmerised by this wonderful man…Valjean’s Soliloquy, Who Am I, and of course the superb Bring Him Home…it wasn’t just his voice that that held me spellbound, it was his whole persona.
From that moment on I was well and truly BOED! I left the O2 floating on cloud nine determined to find out everything I could about this wonderful man!!! I bought every CD I could get my hands on, looked up You Tube clips etc, I couldn’t get enough. Then it was announced he was to play JVJ at the Queens. I became a regular visitor and met Alfie here for the first time. He was so humble and sincere at the SD, always happy to chat have photographs taken and spend time with those waiting to see him. It was here he won the hearts of many of us! Then of course he announced his Bring Him Home Tour…………. I booked quite a few…….
Why do I go to so many concerts?
That’s easy to answer…. I’m a great believer that you can never have too much of a good thing! At my first Alfie concert at The Birmingham Symphony Hall in December I also did a meet and greet. Alfie was so kind and charming, he looked genuinely interested in what I had to say, his attention was mine….if only for a couple of minutes! It was also at this concert I got to ‘sing’ on stage with him, I did warn him that I had an awful voice, he found that out soon enough and said to me “You really can’t sing can you?” I just fell about laughing…ever since there are those that call me ‘Can’t Sing Linda’ …… Thanks for that Alfie!!!
I have an absolute ball at Alfie’s concerts, the set list may be similar or even the same but at every show there are those special moments and incidents that happen from venue to venue…you never know what to expect!! You may be in fits of laughter one minute because of what Alfie has said or done and the next minute you find tears streaming down your face listening to him singing some wonderful moving song. I know it sounds like a bit of a cliché but I become so alive at Alfie’s concerts, I find myself totally engrossed in the whole experience. I never want it to end. Another reason for going to so many shows is the time spent with so many of the wonderful friends I’ve met through Alfie……
Friends made through Alfie…..
To say my life has changed since discovering Alfie is no exaggeration. I have made so many wonderful friends through him. Most of them I first ‘spoke’ to through social media then got to meet so many at The Queens when Alfie was appearing in Les Mis and of course at concerts. Other fans from all around the world, Australia (the lovely Margie!) America, Japan…etc. There are so many, far too many to mention by name but they all mean a lot to me! I would never have got to meet these people if it hadn’t been for Alfie and like all of us there are a few special friendships, I hope they know who they are!!! I just have to mention Jane, we got on from the word go!!! Have done silly fangirling together, celebrated together, confided in each other…… Alfie thank you so much! You are one very special guy!!!
My Alfie Boe story, like the Two Linda’s and many others, starts with another performer entirely: for me, Michael Ball. I had been to see Michael in Sweeney Todd in London’s West End and was blown away by the show and Michael’s superb performance. I went three times in all and after the second occasion, went home and looked him up on YouTube which led me to the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert and then onto the Four ValJeans’s Bring Him Home. As soon as I heard Alfie come in to the song at “You can take” I was completely smitten and poor Michael was soon forgotten! Sorry Michael xx
I then googled Alfie Boe and came to his fansite (now gone). I joined twitter and since then, it’s safe to say, my life has been completely different. I have made some amazing friends and spend a large proportion of my life fangirling about an amazing singer who also happens to be a really nice person. I bore my friends and family silly about him although some of them have given in and come to concerts with me or bought his albums. Resistance is futile!