Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself

I bought a Chris de Burgh compilation in Tesco last week, for a fiver. I was like a dog with two mickeys at the checkout. I knew it was disgusting, but I was delighted with myself. "Promise not to play it at home" Andrew said. "Or in the car, if I'm with you". He was trying to sound all reasonable and commanding but it came out with a slight whiff of wheedle. Please don't ruin our marriage. So I made a solemn promise, remembering EnyaGate. I love Enya. He hates Enya like I hate Wilco, and we had something approximating a row one recent evening when I didn't take his dislike of her quite seriously enough and assaulted him with a YouTube playlist of 40 of her greatest hits. "I thought you were cool" he says to me "all name-dropping minimalist Japanese electronica on your blog". People let shit slide when they get married. They stop shaving their pits and waxing their bits and they fart at the dinnertable. I play bad music.

This Chris album though, it feels like fate. We were in Slatterys last weekend for a quiet pint when, through five glasses of wine and some distracting conversation, I heard a familiar lyric call its come hither to me through the speakers. Well a railwayman lay dying with his people by his side. His family were crying, knelt in prayer before he died... I waited til the chorus, til the Devil let out his mighty shout, to make sure it wasn't just the drink and the heat getting to me. Nobody else seemed to have noticed. "Listen" I pipsqueaked "they're playing..." but the others were engrossed in some adult conversation I'd lost the thread of, so excited was I to hear the song, so I took out my phone instead. THEY'RE PLAYING CHRIS IN THE PUB! I texted to Gimme, all in caps, my hands sweaty with excitement. "And not Lady in Red either" I added "it's the one about playing poker with the devil". And then I sat watching my phone expectantly, waiting for the small-moments magnificence of a Chris de Burgh song being played in Slatterys of a Saturday night to be celebrated or at least acknowledged with a reply. It wasn't.

We stopped for chips on the way home. We sat down at the kitchen table to eat them and I fired up the laptop, a gleam in my eye that had nothing to do with fried potatoes and salt. Andrew's suspicions were immediately aroused. Whatever ardour he may have brought home from the pub was immediately dampened, however, as the rock-opera stylings of Chris' Spanish Train warbled from the computer. I tried explaining to him about how they'd played it in the pub and nobody'd noticed and and and and "here" I said "listen! It's fucking brilliant!" and then I went on to sing the nah nah nah nah nah nah naaaaah nah chorus of A Spaceman Came Travelling even though we were still listening to Spanish Train because I always mix the two of them up, before lining up Ship to Shore and The Last Time I Cried on You Tube to see if I couldn't tempt him over to the dark side. At which point he reminded me of the Enya incident and I felt the first stirrings of Sunday's hangover, so I shut down the computer and we went to bed.

Gimme replied to my text a day later, when I was wading through the winey hangover. "I can't believe you didn't instantly know its name. It's a title track. What's the matter with you? Also, what pub?" Stung by the rebuke, I resolved to rekindle my relationship with Chris and illegally download an album (my collection was all on tape) next chance I got. Luckily for his estate, Tesco's offer that selfsame week proved too tempting. I got it home, excitedly tore the cellophane off to pore over the sleeve notes and was delighted to see that they included one of those tick-the-box join-the-fanclub inserts that you send off to a promotions company in Leamington Spa. I hadn't seen one of those in years. "Look!" I squealed, waving it at Andrew. "You promised..." he said.

And so I haven't listened to it yet. I'll keep my promise not to make Andrew enjoy it with me. I could have listened to it in the car, but I haven't gotten around to it. Mainly because I keep forgetting to take it with me in the mornings when I'm driving to work and anyway there's always the off chance that I might have to give a colleague a lift somewhere and I'd forget that it was in the player and then lose all the cred I've painstakingly collected by making them listen to obscure shows about Texan music and doo-wop on 2XM instead of endless hours of Mumford and Sons farting away on Phantom. And anyways, I'm saving it. I want to dance around to it in my knickers and sing my tuneless little face off, getting all the lyrics wrong and thinking that these must be new versions because the lyrics are just ridiculous and I remember them as resonant and meaningful.

Tonight was to be The Night; Andrew was to go out to poker and I was planning an evening of glorious self-abuse with Chris and Buffy. Alas, Andrew's laid up in bed with a cold and I'm sat here, telling Conan Drumm and the rest of the internets what my plans were for this evening, before real life and real love intervened. Instead I'll hoover the cat, cook us some dinner, write a crazy post about reliving my childhood lust for getting High on Emotion and then curl up on the bed beside Andrew's sleeping bulk and snotty tissues and sleep until it's Friday.

11 comments:

Kitty Cat said...

I was all set to make fun of your Chris fandom, but then I remembered I actually love Spanish Train. Dammit!

Tim Footman said...

Andrew's right, of course.

You see, I never really liked the conclusion to High Fidelity (the novel) because the superiority of Percy Sledge to Art Garfunkel is not just a matter of opinion, it's an empirical truth, like gravity. Ditto Wilco/Enya, even though I don't really like Wilco that much, but at least they don't make my leg go to sleep.

Ellie said...

I love that album. LOVE IT. Which Tesco did you get it??
Has Gimme told you about our trip across Europe as kids with Chris as our only soundtrack?
Ah, the memories.

Rosie said...

let she who is without sin, Kitty Cat...

Wilco are undoubtedly superior to Enya, Tim, in oh so many ways. but they're not nearly as enjoyable. the smell of superiority seeping from their fans made the gig of theirs i went to a singularly unenjoyable experience, whereas at an Enya concert i am almost sure i would be the coolest person in the room by a very long shot.

oh, i'd be a hipster if i could wedge my arse into those skinny fucking jeans.

MegaAwesomeTesco in Naas, Ellie. i went in for milk and bread and came out with a hoover, a shower curtain and a Chris de Burgh compilation. i'll burn you a copy. don't tell Chris. i hadn't heard about the road trip, but i would like to.

Radge said...

I hate attractive people. By extension, I think you've made me hate Wilco. I'm very impressionable.

Enya's 'Boadicea' is creepy and brilliant, I don't care what anyone says.

conortje said...

I once went to Chris de Burgh's house to get him to autograph a tape (Crusader). I was 11 at the time and will deny it if you ever bring it up again. I lost him after Lady in Red - even as a nipper I thought I was much cooler than I was... I still get a strange satisfaction from Spanish Train and Satin Green Shutter though. Again - I'll deny EVERYTHING if I need to.

Andrew said...

I've always assumed that Lady in Red is exactly what euthanasia sounds like.

alan said...

My very first concert that I ever went to was Chris De Burgh. I don't know which is more embarrassing: that, or the fact that the LAST gig I went to was Kylie Minogue

Rosie said...

yizzer all coming out of the woodwork now...

shall we all go see him next time he's in town? or maybe i should have everyone over for a Chris de Burgh party. it'd be like a eurovision party, only much, much worse.

Lady in Red is a truly terrible song, Andrew, but i think euthanasia sounds more like that Buddha Box you got me for my birthday.

Tessa said...

Yeah, I'm a closet Chris fan too (but what else would you expect at my age? Vera Lynn? Pat Boone?)

Like Conortje, I went right off him after Lady in Red, but I still have everything before that on vinyl and I even went to see him play live once. I seem to remember that it was in a garage somewhere in Gorey, but that can't be right, can it?

As for Buffy? I've worn those damn DVDs smooth.

Jo said...

Buffy and Chris de Burgh are not comparable or on the same plane of existence at all. I just want to make that clear.

They should read this post in marriage preparation courses.