Don’t judge a man by his covers. His CD covers, that is.
When first you slide seductively into his car, the primary task is to check which CDs are in the glove compartment. Pretend you’re hunting for a hankie or a mint if you must, but you’ve got to have a good look in there.
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It’s the next best thing to going through his medicine cabinet. If you see The Smiths or The Cure then you know you’re in good company, but if it’s Girls Aloud or Liza Minnelli then that’s the medicine cabinet equivalent of haemorrhoid cream.
So, what do you do when you find 100 Greatest Worship Songs? Yelp? Cringe? Raise an eyebrow and say nothing? Being a creature of neither tact nor subtlety, I asked Shug ‘You some kind of bible basher?’
He just laughed and started the car.
Yes, Shug’s taste in music is odd. Arguably, though, so is mine. I was a member of the Pet Shop Boys’ fan club back in the early 90s when there was a red-hot conspiracy theory about the club’s postcode. The monthly fanzine was packed with letters debating whether the PSBs had chosen the club’s location so that their postcode – HA7 2PY – would resemble the word happy. So, who was I to mock Shug for his happy-clappy evangelical songs?
Luckily, an occasion arose to educate Shug about good music. Morrissey was on tour. However, he was only playing in deliberately obscure or distant venues , shunning all the big cities. Someone must have eaten a chop in Edinburgh, and annoyed him.
So, my hero was playing in Dunoon, Hawick, Inverness…places I would need a car to get to. I don’t have a car, but Shug does. Interesting. Can a man who sings along in the car to Now That’s What I Call Jesus be compelled to go to a Morrissey gig? I’ll need to put my feminine wiles to the test here. This required planning. I’ll need to be canny and clever, seductive and savvy, alluring and adorable.
‘Look, are you taking me or what?’
‘Pardon?’ said Shug.
‘Morrissey. I need you to drive me.’
He shrugged. ‘OK.’
That’s how it’s done. I have no time for feminine scheming. I just grab my men by the scruff of the neck and tell them what the deal is. Never have I stopped to wonder if this is why I’m still single.
So we were off to Inverness to see Morrissey. I bought the tickets, and Shug would do the driving and pay for the posh hotel. ‘And the next day,’ said Shug, ‘we’ll drive to the Black Isle, see the dolphins, have some lunch by the water…’
My victory was far too easy. Morrissey. Lunch. Dolphins. There had to be a fly in the ointment.
‘And you know,’ he said. ‘My sister lives in Nairn. We could stop off and see her.’
Oh what a fly! I hate meeting the family. I’m quite an odd person but that’s fine as I only date freaks, but when I need to meet the family it’s awful. I don’t know how to behave. I can’t be my weirdo self, so I put on an act and can hear myself becoming overly keen and bright and fake. It’s horrible for all concerned. If the mum or the sister want to meet me, I wish my men would just have them follow me on Twitter or something.
But I wouldn’t let social awkwardness ruin my quest north to see Morrissey. I pushed it out of my head and concentrated only on the gig. Never mind Shug’s Worship Songs. My worship songs are The Smiths’s back catalogue.
He was playing at the Inverness Ironworks which is a tiny venue. Great atmosphere. I was packed in amongst hundreds of starry-eyed people who shared my absolute obsession with him.
Shug found us a spot to the left of the stage where a pleasing number of wee stumpy people were crammed in. This meant I had a chance of being able to peep over their heads, and actually see Morrissey. And see him I did. There he was, a few feet away from me, striding about the stage, jangling a tambourine. I want the one I can’t have and it’s driving me mad! It’s written all over my fa-a-a-a-a-a-a-ce. Oh I adore him!
He mopped his brow and went on a rant about how appalling foie gras is. Then he launched into Meat Is Murder, Panic, Every Day Is Like Sunday. When the opening to There Is A Light That Never Goes Out played, I started to cry. Beautiful.
Suddenly, a burly Inverness yokel elbowed his way in front of me, blocking Morrissey. What! Not fair for the yokel to barge into the wee people’s enclosure. I can’t see Morrissey! Shug was behind me with his arms round my neck and he reached across and gently but firmly pushed the yokel away from me. How brave of Shug! I was impressed with his macho antics. He leaned down and shouted in my ear ‘I wouldn’t have done that in Glasgow!’
What a great night. Morrissey, and then Shug proving he’s a tough guy despite being a Judy Garland-lover from Grangemouth. Yes, I was seeing Shug in a new and flattering light. As we left the Ironworks and headed back to the hotel I smiled at Shug. He’s great! Brought me all the way to Inverness just so I could see Morrissey. And he likes Morrissey too, I bet. Hang on, what’s Shug doing…? He was twisted away from me, fiddling with something at his neck.
‘Nothing,’ he said and hunched away from me, pulling at his ear.
‘Hey!’ I grabbed his elbow. ‘What are you doing?’
I couldn’t believe it! Shug was trying to pull out his earplugs. He’d sneakily worn them throughout the whole gig. What an insult to Morrissey! What an insult to great music! I suppose he’s welcome to his worship songs. There’s no hope for him.