Monday, 27 February 2012

VIVA 1988, Hate and Morrissey

Monday, 27 February 2012

SCENE:  The Voluptuous Woman and the Bearded Man are in the car.  They are heading southbound on the A19 and are about 5 minutes away from their house.  Despite a recent haircut, the Voluptuous Woman is in fine form.  Also despite a recent haircut, the man is sporting a beard that will, in a day or two’s time, be at that notable stage just after “Blithe Untidy Student” but before “Stinking Dirty Hobo”.  This song is on the car stereo, and as it begins, our heroine turns the volume up a little.
VW:  God, I remember when this record came out like it was yesterday.  I was 13.  I’d come to England to go to my Auntie Lisa’s wedding and it was big news at the time – Morrissey’s first solo album – it was everywhere.  I remember coming home from that holiday and going to the library to borrow the LP.
BM:  You borrowed records from the library?

VW:  I totally did!  I borrowed Morrissey’s ‘Viva Hate’ and T’pau ‘Bridge of Spies’. 
BM:  Admitting liking T’pau won’t do anything at all for your street cred.

VW:  We’ve all got skeletons in our cupboards, Mr B’Witched ‘C’est la Vie’.

(the man scowls)

VW:  Anyway – I think the timing of this song was pretty parallel to my sexual awakening.  These lyrics drove me mad at the time.

BM:  How do you mean?

 VW:  Well... listen to this bit – where in like, a snarly, surly, sexy way, he says: 

“Were you and he lovers?  If you were then say that you were...”  

and then in the next verse he goes:

“ Put a note upon his desk:  ‘P.S. Bring me home and have me. ‘ 
Leather elbows on a tweed coat?  Oh, is that the best you can do? 
So came his reply: ‘But on the desk is where I want you.’   
So I ask (even though I know): were you and he lovers?”

BM:  And?

VW:  And HOLY SHIT -- that was a pretty alarming discovery for girl whose leisure time was previously filled with riding bikes and jumping rope. 

BM:  Aaaaaah...I see what you mean.

VW:  I was like... ‘People leave rude notes for other people about doing it on desks AND THEN THEY DO IT ON DESKS?!’  Screw riding bikes – get me some leather elbows on tweed coats!  Get me ‘on a canvas with the tent flaps open wide!’  I want in on this!

BM:   (pensively, then mocking)  I’ve got a song that was 'parallel to my sexual awakening', as it happens..

VW:  Oh yeah?

BM:  Mmm-hmm.  Arguably less poetic than Morrissey with his tweed coats or what have you, but I know what you’re talking about.

VW:  You do?  What was the song?

BM:  I’m not telling you the song.

VW:  Tell me the song!

BM:  I won't.

VW:  Why not?

BM:  Because you will laugh and then you will take the piss, and then you will write a blog about it.

VW:  (laughs)  As if...

A few minutes pass while the song ends and the couple arrives at their destination.  The woman pulls into the drive, applies the handbrake and unbuckles her seatbelt.  The man follows suit, and goes into the house, shutting the front door behind him.  The woman is retrieving a shopping bag from the back of the car when the front door opens, and the man’s head peers out from behind it.

BM:  If you must know, it was W.A.S.P.’s ‘Animal (Fuck Like a Beast.)’

The front door shuts.  The woman shakes her head.


Monday, 13 February 2012

Valentine’s Day, Schmalentine’s Schmay

Monday, 13 February 2012

Me & him, circa loads of years ago.
So I was over here on Momversation today watching the always lovely Rebecca Woolf from Girls Gone Child and her main squeeze, Hal, talking about Valentine’s Day.  I started making a comment but thought I’d respond here instead.

Have I ever told you the story about Himself’s and mine first Valentine’s Day?  I haven’t?  WELL THEN!  *cracks knuckles*  Pull up a chair, romance lovers – this one’s a corker.

We are in the year 2000, and Himself and I have been (coughcoughsleepingtogether) going out for about 4 months or so.  I lived in Leeds; he lived up here in Newcastle, and we only saw each other on weekends when I wasn’t working and/or in school.  It was fun, but the unpredictable nature of our time together left me wondering if we were actually Going Out-going-out or if we were actually just coughcoughsleepingtogether.

As girls – and particularly, I – am almost ALWAYS wont to do, I talked about “The Situation” with all my female compadres to work out what was to be done.  I whirled between being absolutely certain that he seriously dug me and yet constantly wondered what the hell I was doing to make him want to hang out with me so much.  So I and my team of home-girl-romance-counsellors-extraordinaire decided that Valentine’s Day would be the big tell.  If he got me a card, it would DEFINITELY mean something.  If he didn’t get me a card, it might mean something else.  And if he DID get me a card, the kind of card would definitely tell me something.  Would it be a funny card?  A romantic one?  What would the verse say?  Would it say ‘To My Girlfriend’ on it?  How does a guy like Himself choose a card based on price?  Aesthetic appeal?  Poignancy of poetry?  A quick smash ‘n grab at the card store?

Oh, how I agonized, analyzed and all kinds of other ized’s over this.  My little 22 year old heart was all a-flutter, and I didn’t know where to put my damn self. 

And then!  What kind of card should I buy him?  Serious icks-nay’s on the “to-my-oyfriend-bay’s”.  All the mushy ‘To The One I Love’ shit was RIGHT out of the question.  But if I got him a funny one, would he think I was kidding?  And then, how to sign it?   

People:  I’m talking ulcer-inducing levels of Girl Stress, over here.  Looking back, it was rather comical.  If I could have a word with my 22 year old self, I would wallop her with the nearest heart-shaped red satin embroidered pillow and tell her to chill the fuck out.  I'd grab her by the shoulders and give them a shake -- who is this weird chick, fretting herself into an aneurysm, rocking back and forth in the corner of a bedroom under a pile of half eaten Mars bars and a notepad full of signatures with someone else’s last name?  Where is that cheeky, sexy, wildly hilarious and exotic* girl we'd come to know and love? 

I digress.  

Anyway.  The big day rolled around.  I’d carefully chosen a card that was just the right balance of affectionate and funny, and painstakingly constructed something equally affectionate and funny to write in it, and I mailed it to him in enough time so that it would arrive on the 14th of February.

My letterbox was empty that day.  And the next day.  AND THE NEXT DAY.  When I asked him about it he shrugged it off and said that he’d forgot. 

He forgot.  Waaah!

I felt sorry for myself for ages about it.  My Mum even called him (oh, cringey cringing cringe-o-rama) and told him off for it.  (Thanks, Mum.)  But I rallied - drowning my sorrows in cheese and onion crisps, midget gems and Strongbow and lo, eventually I got over it – and myself – until a few weeks went by and I realized the date of my birthday was approaching.  Cue the whole sorry cycle again, but this time with a birthday card. 

Surely here, surely now, I would get the concrete evidence of his undying love for me that I’d been mooning about for, all this time. 

My birthday arrives, and I rocked up the country on the fastest train I could jump onto, and came up to Newcastle to see what he, this potential life partner I was carefully brainwashing to my exact specifications, would produce.

I’m here to tell you now that he actually did get me a card that year.  I was pretty happy that he remembered.  I’m also here to tell you now what he wrote in that card:  and by the power vested in me by the state of my own obnoxiousness I give you the verbatim bone fide quote:

“Nichola – we are all gonna party for you BIG TIME, from Jason.”

(I’ll give you a minute to roll your eyes.  You can ‘tsk’ if you like, as well.)

Seriously?  SERIOUSLY.  How lame!  And did he just spell my name wrong?  MY NAME?  Oh, yes he did.

I had a bit of therapy (aka cheese and onion crisps and similar) and wouldn’t you know it, he was right all along?  That very weekend there did occur quite a bit of big time partying!  Such that I really didn’t give a rat’s arse about what he wrote or didn’t write or spelled or didn’t spell in my card because wheeeeeee look at all the funky lazers in this club and let’s dance until NEXT TUESDAY and aren’t we all so pretty and I totally love all of you in this room!

I guess I did something right, and I guess he did, too.  Because here we are.  I’m still alive and so is he, despite the fact that we live in the same house together.  We even made two people.  And also?  He now finds it easy to spell at least the last part of my name because, after all, it is also his.

* A Canadian in the North East of England is exotic.  It is.  It is!