Mixtape: Soundtrack of a Love Life

OK...Lola didn't actually draw it herself, though she could have done. She's very advanced for her age.

Valentine’s Day – another day that splits society into several groups – the indifferent, the needy, the defiant, the lonely, the opportunists, the all-embracing, the first-timers, the new couple, the unimaginative, the idealists, the realists….

I’m of the opinion that a day to celebrate all the good stuff about your nearest and dearest is a pretty cool thing. My hubby’s of the opinion that we should do it more often and without prompt. That’s a pretty cool thing too.

My idea of romance has definitely changed since becoming a mum. I’ve done the “Valentine’s Day – am I bovvered?” thing, been through the young couple I-demand-your-finest-booze-and-a-burger phase and am now at the point where romance is in the everyday acts of kindness. Last weekend we took it in turns to give each other a lie-in. That was worth 1000 idly written rhyming poems and heart-shaped boxes.

However, in the spirit of the day and my fondness for mixtapes, I’ve made my own to celebrate love in all its forms. Press play after the intros.

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I was around 16 when I first heard Green Day’s 39 Smooth (I was a late developer…having just been rescued from an uninspired Oasis teenlife). It was the perfect poppy intro to punk. Every song was the musical equivalent of one of my awkward adolescent moments and this one in particular never fails to make me sing along and remember that feeling. Here we go again….

Along the same vein, Alison’s Starting to Happen by The Lemonheads is another old favourite and contains one of my favourite lines in a song:

She’s the puzzle piece behind the couch that makes the sky complete.

This song reminds me of that bit just after the anxiety of wondering if they feel the same and just before you even think of taking it all for granted. It also made me want to be Polly, but wearing a bra.

There is nothing as ego-destroying and character-building as unrequited love.

Anyone who hasn’t felt like that about someone hasn’t lived. I’ve not travelled as much as I wanted and I have a huge bucket list to complete, but I’ve felt like this.

I love down-to-earth lyrics and a tangible story and Badly Drawn Boy knows how to put these two together over some jiggly-janglyness.

I first heard this next song a few months before I got married to Ewoud. One of our favourite Friday night pastimes was to go through YouTube and choose wedding songs. And on one of those Fridays, I was sitting on his knee, drinking wine, and we found this video, of other people doing the same thing and a lot of them looked how we felt.

This is the first day of my life, I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you. But now I don’t care, I could go anywhere with you and I’ll probably be happy…  

It also includes less traditionally romantic lyrics, including the metaphor “I’d rather be working for a paycheck than waiting to win the lottery”, but I like the realist approach.

Another song we listened to at the very start of our relationship was The Cure’s Just Like Heaven. It was on my ipod, which I’d hooked up to Ewoud’s computer. We were just about to kiss when this song came on as if we were in a very predictable indie flick romance. (If we had of been, I’d be Drew Barrymore circa ’95).

Show me how you do that trick, the one that makes me scream she said, the one that makes me laugh she said and threw her arms around my head…show me how you do it, and I promise you, I promise that I’ll run away with you…

But we decided not to run away, for once. We stayed right there. And now, here we are.

This is the Dinosaur Jnr version, because it’s my favourite cover and it’s louder and it’s more “us”.

Over the years, I’ve put the younger Billy Joel on the same pedestal I have also reserved for Robert De Niro – mainstream legends that I’ve forgiven many a trespass (Little Fockers was reeeally pushing it though).

This is a nostalgic story about young love and its afterlife and after too many years of going to shows where the band and the audience were too cool to move, it’s nice to see a singer get into it and entertain (without being all Robbie Williams about it).

The last song is well-placed because it is has a lullaby effect on me. It also conjures up an image of an old couple dancing together on their anniversary, whispering memories to each other, while their family watches from the sidelines and I like that. Good night people and goodbye Valentine’s Day.

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