Ed Sheeran: More than just a ginger

My love for Ed Sheeran was, I admit, originally inspired by the fact that he too was ginger. Whilst my infatuation with his music was based upon a form of […]

My love for Ed Sheeran was, I admit, originally inspired by the fact that he too was ginger. Whilst my infatuation with his music was based upon a form of warped solidarity and the belief that he had also endured years of being called ‘carrot top’ or ‘battery head’, seeing his first ever gig in Paris this week only proved that the attraction extends far beyond his fiery locks.



Sheeran’s The A Team is just starting to be played on French radio stations with his album ‘+’ coming out in the next week, and after earwigging on some of his management’s conversations, it was obvious that this performance would make or break his success in France. The hour and a half set was littered with shouts of ‘marry me’ (my voice felt suspiciously raspy the next day), hand written letters thrown at his feet and a crowd who turned on the bar staff for making too much noise. It was clear that Sheeran looks set to be a big success on both sides of the Channel.


With a Florence + the Machine wannabe Fallulah forcing the crowd to endure nearly an hour of excessive tambourine shimmying and Jack Daniels-provoked-chat beforehand, part of Sheeran’s success might have boiled down to the crowd’s sheer relief.  His inability to master the French language (an issue shared by many of us), his pre-show mingling with the audience, and his 15 year old surfer boy outfit ensured that the crowd adored the next-door-neighbour-cheeky-chappy before he’d even uttered a note.


In a set bursting with odes to troubled love, warblings of the dilemnas of British youth and rhymes with sass that did well to hide his Suffolk roots, Sheeran’s set provided real diversity for an equally diverse audience. The study abroad Brits rejoiced at ‘The City’, the French couple behind me were bopping along to ‘You Need Me’ and continentals and Anglophones alike harmonised to ‘The A Team’. Awkward jeers were heard when one girl requested ‘Wonderwall’ and received a rather blunt response from Sheeran that she’d come to see the wrong band, yet his banter and anecdotes about his youth (not too long ago) won back the slightly disjointed crowd.


His stage presence was astounding and his talent as a one-man band, choir and orchestra was sublime to watch. The rest of the audience felt the same and were willingly silent for Sheeran when he decided to sing completely a capella and sans mic for a few tracks including ‘Wayfaring Stranger’. A cover of ‘Feeling Good’ helped to lift the crowd after a string of sombre songs recounting unrequited love, during which the girl next to me fled the room, mascara smeared and mobile in hand about to make that well-known drunken call to her ex. At least I hope it was a call to her ex, the only other possibility being her reporting me to the police for my criminal moves on the dancefloor.


Sheeran’s only fault was perhaps his self-indulgency during certain tracks – egging them out into 5 minute epics that felt at odds with the nightclub setting and were especially frustrating when playing more of his album tracks would have been of greater interest. Late night essay inspirations, ‘One Night’ and ‘Cold Coffee’ would have been particularly good choices. His Caribbean accent during certain raps, as has been noted by other critics calling him ‘faux ghetto’, is also, when sober, frankly bizarre given his freckled babyface and middle-class, suburban upbringing.


Despite these petty frustrations, Sheeran made a cracking impression on the Franco-British crowd, and I left the Nouveau Casino grateful for the dissertation distraction and fiercely proud of the success of one of my own. British gingers rejoice, with Ed Sheeran as our trailblazer we may be on the cusp of coolness.



Written by Abigail Lovell, standing-room-only writer