When I think back to my teenage years, a soundtrack starts playing in my head.

It is the mournful accompaniment to the images of me sitting alone in my bedroom in a well of unrequited love, or sitting at the bottom of the stairs waiting for a phone which never rang, or racing to intercept a postman who never had a letter of undying love for me.

Christ, who’d be a teenager? Endlessly listening to 10CC or Foreigner or Witney. By the time I arrived at university, I’d taken the pain one step further by hooking up with Julie London, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

I loved a love song. They were a great insight into the sort of feelings I hoped to have just as soon as I could persuade a man who wasn’t gay but who did regularly launder his clothes and trim his nails to fall for me.

And so I continued to educate myself by listening to  Air Supply, Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion.

I’ll  admit, I wasn’t always entirely sure about some of the things I heard.

I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand Dan Hill’s ‘Sometimes When We Touch.’ It looked as though love was going to be dodgy in places and require a degree in criminal psychology.

I’ve been thinking about love songs this week following the demise of Opportunity, the robot rover sent to Mars in 2003.

I read in the news that when the scientists at NASA finally accepted that Oppy, was not going to be able to reboot following a catastrophic sandstorm, they gathered to issue the final recovery commands (presumably the last rites for robots).

Communications between the rover and its earth dwelling handlers ceased for all time with the last message from Oppy: “My batteries are low and it’s getting dark.”

The flight controllers played Billie Holiday’s ‘I’ll Be Seeing You,’ but the response from deep space was the silence of eternity.

I read that there were lots of tears from team members. Well, hell, of course there were! Letting go of relationships is painful, even if they are with hunks of metal run on solar batteries and motivated by data collection units.

I have had to give up on battery operated tech items  with which I’ve established intimate relationships myself, so I should know.

How I cried over Oppy. I broke my heart sobbing over an inanimate object. I played Billie’s song myself. I cried a bit more. I felt 17. Or 19. Or 21 again.

The power of a love song to bring you straight back to a moment of misery is second to none.

Once I’d stopped crying about Oppy and Billie I stumbled upon another love song based story.

This time it featured Amanda Holden and her two daughters singing a song from ‘The Greatest Showman’ as a gift to Mr Amanda Holden, aka Chris Hughes, for their tenth wedding anniversary.

It turned out that the song was not an intimate, private gift however.

It is apparently impossible for some women to communicate with partners in the actual living space they share. They can’t shout ‘happy anniversary’ across the sitting room. They have to communicate via social media.

Which is where Amanda posted the video of her looking positively fabulous (we all look fabulous filmed in black and white, right) and singing mostly the right notes.

Far be it for me to suggest this was a publicity seeking exercise aimed at reminding casting agents that she can sing (she absolutely can) or to further Brand Holden, but as such, it seems to have worked.

The video has been viewed nearly two million times and a bidding war has started between major labels to relaunch her singing career.

What an anniversary present to give yourself. (I’ve bought the sheet music and have booked singing lessons. Watch this space!)



Civil discourse has died. Leadership is absent. Insanity rules.

In the week which saw eleven MPs defect from their own parties in a bid to remind their colleagues that there is something called the ‘centre ground’ I declare politics to be under a very big, very dark cloud.

And it’s obscuring the light.


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  1. “Sad bangers” sung by women do it for me nowadays. Almost anything by Lana del Rey and, to my recent surprise, Nothing Breaks Like a Heart by Mark Ronson with Miley Cyrus.

    As the years roll on I’m constantly changing the music to be played at my funeral as I discover something new. On the other hand, I heard recently of someone who had the long-version of “Freebird” (13 or 14 minutes of guitar-shredding aural violence) played at his funeral. That must have given the mourners a fresh concept of eternity . . .

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