HERE WE GO AGAIN.
Hallmark and Interflora’s favourite time of the year casts its ever-looming shadow to make all singletons and players feel lonely, or slightly empty, or both, especially if they find they are devoid of disposable presents/surprise city break tickets/spa passes. And especially if they openly despise the commodification of romance by way of cynical, non-academic references to materialism.
If you’ve been blessed with fairly normal parental units who treasure cheesy sentiment, then you are guaranteed a card. Parents fondly remember those adolescent days when you would moan about how no-one loved you as you listened to Eurythmics’ Here Comes The Rain Again and really felt every lyric.* All emotional ails would be cured with a hug and a cuppa and an “Are you feeling better? Good. Now get on with your homework.”
In a similar rushed endeavour, most presents between couples are bought on a whim. From recounted experiences of loved-up friends apparently they are not bought with the good kind of spontaneity. What they receive is a fair share of cards, chocs, flowers, wine, decent undies and ‘quirky’ yet mass-produced presents that affirm a beautiful and unique bond.
And for the very best of the WAGOHUBs – Wives and Girlfriends or Husbands and Boyfriends… of Great Ordinary Blokes Who Can’t Afford To Routinely Kill Child Diamond Miners – a little extra something might be popped into the gift bag.
A Valentine’s Compilation album.
Oh, dear. You shouldn’t have. You shouldn’t have bothered.
Due out this year is a cleverly titled “The Valentines Album: 25 beautiful easy classics for the one you love”. In 2006 uncreative couples were treated to a whopping three discs called ‘Be My Valentine‘, courtesy of those gems at EMI who understood that halfway through the first decade of the 21st century, UK couples wanted to listen to Blue and Meat Loaf. (Roxy Music and Nina Simone more than make up for this major mixtape blunder although Marc Almond and Atomic Kitten restart that loss of the will to live.)
Back to this year’s offering. The first adjective, ‘beautiful’ is wholly justified after seeing the tracklisting. The second adjective, ‘easy’? Not so justified. Since when was swing and classic jazz easy? Louis Armstrong is worth more than being shoved on a blimmin’ compilation album as he proved Adorno was a self-righteous music snob. And do not give me that easy-listening crap. Easy Listening is not a genre, because Hard Listening is not a genre. It’s a marketing gimmick and so finds its perfect match in the whole concept of a Valentine’s compilation.
Ah. Wonderful; there’s another couple, right there on the CD shelf.
*No-one loved you unless you were one of those popular kids at school with mopey adorers lapping at the soles of your shoes. And although a parental gesture is done out of unconditional love, it doesn’t always mean parents don’t agree that “no-one loves you”. Parents like a joke too.
*I like Eurythmics.