Someone slap me. Since we last spoke, I’ve managed to get in touch with my inner emotions – and not only have we kept in touch, we’re practically Facebooking ALL THE TIME. I blame Toy Story 3 for this unwelcome turn of events. If I was a letter writing type I’d be firing off a stern missive to whoever’s in charge at the Enchanted Castle these days demanding an explanation as to why I wasn’t warned that viewing said film would turn me from a contented robot into a moist nostalgic within the space of 120 minutes. I’m not quite sure why – I don’t particularly remember owning any toys – I wasn’t that kind of child. I did have a security blanket called LaLa (named after Lalla Ward from Doctor Who, fact fans!) which started life as a quilt from my pram and ended it as a threadbare grey rag draped damply over my left thumb. I was a book boy really – I still have my childhood Winnie The Pooh paperback. I’m looking at it right now in fact, though thankfully not through watery eyes. I am, however, marvelling at the fact that the cover price is sixty pence. A snip!
What Toy Story 3 does so well though, is tap into that curious nostalgia for a time you wouldn’t particularly choose to go back to. A time before late nights, sex and Location Location Location. I quite enjoyed childhood, but I’d much rather dress myself, thanks. Nor was it a simpler time free from the constraints of adulthood. Yes, I have to go to work and pay bills these days, but I was far more stressed by long division and playground spats. Being a grown up is a blessed relief. And I’m SO much better looking now.
Yet still I weep. Towards the end of Brighton’s recent Pride event a friend happened to play the Dixie Chicks version of The Rainbow Connection, as previously sung by Kermit the Frog in the opening scene of The Muppet Movie. Coming at the climax of a 72 hour festival of brotherly bonhomie, I was susceptible enough, but combined with a sudden flashback to seven year old me, complete with dodgy home haircut and collection of Muppet badges, I didn’t stand a chance. And it’s been the same ever since. What follows is just a sample of the songs that have made be blub in the last week:
Let the River Run by Carly Simon: I am back on the Staten Island Ferry with this on my Walkman, pretending I’m in Working Girl and reminiscing about Melanie Griffith’s perm. Blub!
They Don’t Know by Tracey Ullman (yes, it’s a Kirsty MacColl song but even she would have admitted Tracey’s version is better): I only need to hear the opening bars of this and I get all leaky. Something to do with using hairbrushes for microphones, the excitement of watching Top of the Pops and the horror that was Three of a Kind. Blub!
Your Swaying Arms by Deacon Blue: bizarrely, this induces nostalgia for a moment that is yet to come, as I’m using the words to the second verse as a reading when me and Gary get hitched. Double blub!
Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel: I used to sing this to rabbits with myxomatosis on the farm when I was a lad. Shortly before I put them out of their misery, assuming I beat the dog to it. Euthanasia blub!
If You Leave by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: this reminds of the time I didn’t have a dress for my high school prom but my dad gave me a really horrible old one. But thanks to my friend Duckie I found the strength to turn it into something beautiful and land the boy of my dreams. I’m fairly certain that’s the plot from Pretty In Pink, but it seems real enough. False memory syndrome blub!
Needless to say, I’m a bit fed up now. It’s all very well having a moment now and again, but when you can’t take your sunglasses off for fear of someone seeing your bloodshot eyes, you know it’s time to take action. Therefore, in order to effect a return to my default, no-more-tears factory settings, I have prepared the following two-step plan:
1. Listen to Don’t Cry Out Loud by Melissa Manchester at least twice a day. Sample lyric: “Keep it inside. Learn how to hide your feelings”. Melissa had it spot on, though I believe she’s in an asylum now.
2. Man the fuck up.
I’ll let you know how I get on. In the meantime, feel free to share the songs that make you weep.