“In the End, It Took Me a Dictionary to Find Out the Meaning of Unrequited” #4

Let’s be honest, if I’m going to post songs about unrequited love, then there’s a fairly healthy stash of tunes to choose from in The Smiths’ back catalogue.

This one has always been a favourite of mine, a tale of a boy and a girl, one consumed by the fear of rejection, frozen in the teenage terror of revealing to the other that they, y’know…erm…kinda…erm…y’know…think they’re pretty sweet, and the other confused about why he doesn’t just come right out and say it.

When I was a teenager, this was definitely a situation I experienced. Confession time.

I was set up on a date by a mutual friend once. Thing is, I didn’t know it was a date. What had been arranged was a few drinks with a friend, and then I’d crash on her sofa, but it turned into what I now know is one of those “OK, we’re all here, great! Oh no! I just remembered I have to be somewhere else, you two will be okay won’t you? Bye!!” kind of things.

But stupid teenage me, despite raging levels of testosterone, was too dumb to read the signs.

I was supposed to be crashing over at the mutual friend’s place that night, and so when my “date” said it was fine and I could stay at theirs instead, that’s all I assumed it was: me sleeping on a sofa or in the spare room.

See, at this young age, I didn’t know that women colluded like this. As far as I was concerned, it was all just terribly bad luck that our mutual friend couldn’t stay, and jolly good of her friend to step in to keep me company and let me crash over. 

And whilst I really did like the young lady in question (quite a lot), I had no idea that the feeling was reciprocated.

As we left the pub at chucking out time, to a chorus of “*****’s going to have sex tonight!” (her name removed, just in case) from a loitering group of lads, I remember thinking “Ha! Idiots! Course she’s not, this is nothing more than a convenient arrangement to save me getting a taxi home! I’m just sleeping on her sofa! Fools!!!”

And so it was that as we cosied up on the sofa, watching television as her parents slept soundly upstairs, that I utterly failed to recognise or act upon every advance she made, of which, she subsequently told me, there were many.

Whenever I hear this song, I think of that night, and shiver:

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The Smiths – Girl Afraid

More embarrassing revelations soon enough.

Acoustic Afternoons

And now to a band who I never think get enough credit. I’ve seen them compared to R.E.M. before, which I don’t think is either fair or accurate. Any band is going to wilt in comparison to the boys from Athens, Georgia (up to a point, obviously).

Anyway, here’s Idlewild, and something which I think has never seen a commercial release.

I was lucky enough to see them play an acoustic set at Bristol’s Colston Hall ten years or so ago, a wonderful venue which is just perfect for an acoustic set such as they did that night, and I’m surprised that, having done a tour playing acoustic versions of their own songs, nothing became of it: no live album followed in the tour’s wake, as far as I know. I’d be delighted if someone told me I was wrong about that.

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Idlewild – When I Argue, I See Shapes

What’s especially wonderful about that is, if you know the original, you could not possibly conceive that it might work as an acoustic track.

Does, though, doesn’t it?

More soon.