Vol. 1 Issue 7 February/March 2005
Partridge in ecstasy


It's a Small World
for Andy Partridge

Many musicians live in a world of their own, but Andy Partridge — singer/songwriter and guitarist for the Brit art-pop band XTC — has scaled his down to minuscule proportions. He collects toy soldiers. When not releasing Fuzzy Warbles albums and other musical miscellany on the Web (, the 51-year-old Partridge is at home in Swindon, England, messing around with thousands of toy soldiers, many of which he's hand-painted in uniforms of his own design. “It's a world that's not going to bite you,” he says.

His obsession began early. “Being an only child,” Partridge explains, “I needed to flex my brain as much as possible and disappear into the fantasy world that these little figures populated. Toys were immensely important for me. There weren't always people around to play with and the weather wasn't always great, being England, so you'd be stuck indoors. We weren't a very rich family, so a lot of my toys for birthdays or Christmas were secondhand. But the one thing that I seemed to get brand-new from grannies and aunties would be toy soldiers. I was besotted with the world in miniature.” Partridge also cites H. G. Wells, suggesting one way to avoid life-size conflict: “The leaders of the different countries are given as many toy soldiers as they want. Put them in a room with a set of rules and a few dice, and they can work it out that way.” — Rhonda Markowitz


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[Thanks to Jamie Lowe]