She didn’t make me miserable, or anxious, or ill at ease. You know, it sounds boring, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t spectacular either. It was just good.
I have less time, less tolerance for bullshit, more interest in good taste, more confidence in my own judgement. The culture with which I surround myself is a reflection of my personality and the circumstances of my life, which is in part how it should be.
Nick Hornby (Songbook)
Charlie is awful.
It doesn’t help that Charlie talks bollocks all night; she doesn’t listen to anyone, she tries too hard to go off at obtuse angles, she puts on all sorts of unrecognizable and inappropriate accents. I would like to say that these are all new mannerisms, but they’re not; they were there before, years ago. The not listening I once mistook for strength of character, the obtuseness I misread as mystery, the accents I saw as glamour and drama. How had I managed to edit all this out in the intervening years?
How had I managed to turn her into the answer to all the world’s problems?
The trouble with going to see bands is that there wasn’t much else to do but think, if you weren’t being swept away on a wave of visceral or intellectual excitement; and Tucker could tell that The Chris Jones Band would never be able to make people forget who they were and how they’re ended up that way, despite their sweaty endeavors. Mediocre loud music penned you into yourself, made you pace up and down your own mind until you were pretty sure you could see how you might end up going out of it. In the seventy-five minutes that he spent with himself, he managed to revisit pretty much every single place he’d have been happy never to see again. He worked back from Cat and Jackson to all the other screwed-up marriages and kids; the professional wasteland of the last twenty years ran alongside them, like a rusted-over railroad running alongside a traffic jam. People underestimated the speed of thought. It was possible to cover just about every major incident of a lifetime during the average bar band’s set.
[Nick Hornby; Juliet, Naked]
It seems to me that if you place music (and books, probably, and films, and plays, and anything that makes you feel) at the center of your being, then you can’t afford to sort out your love life, start to think of it as the finished product. You’ve got to pick at it, keep it alive and in turmoil, you’ve got to pick at it and unravel it until it all comes apart and you’re compelled to start all over again. Maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as a consequence we can never feel merely content: we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heels happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship. Maybe Al Green is directly responsible for more than I ever realized.