So I’ve recently found myself in the early stages of a newly formed ‘relationship’. It’s definitely not just in my head as I pinned him up against a wall in a street at 5 o’clock in the morning and demanded that he say it out loud that we were in this relationship. There may have been a slight tone of Glenn Close in my voice and there may have been a small level of apprehension in his, but if it was I didn’t pick up on it as I was already on the Blackberry (the essential tool for the professional mentalist) and updating my current status on Facebook, whilst humming the tune to ‘our song’. From that moment on I assured him that now I have this reassurance, that calm of knowledge would result in everything being cool. I would be cool. The 20 texts - ok 40 texts - a day would ease and all would be fine. I explained he’s just found himself turning on to Easy Street, which is one-way traffic so he’ll be finding no oncoming mental in his direction. “Honestly, darling... With that I now have all I need,” said with a shrug of the shoulders.
Then something started nagging me. It was a conversation from the first night we met. It played over and over in my head and well, bothered me. On the night in question he was on speed and I was pissed from stealing other people’s drinks (I know, Disney shit, right?) and after I had drunkenly planted business cards in his coat, jean pockets and wallet we headed (he walked at pace and I stumbled) outside for a chat. And that’s when it happened. Noticing a tattoo and unable to make out the text I explained, “It says Thunder Road... As in the Springsteen track?” His face immediately screwed insinuating disgust. “What you don’t like Springsteen?” I slurred in disbelief, to the speedy response of “No”.
Now he could have said he didn’t like any other band or artist. He did in fact do just that when I made out that I was named after Pete Shelley (said obviously to just sound cool, I’m not and it would have just made my parents sound cool – pissed logic) to which he said that he couldn’t stand him, an opinion formed after meeting him, so fair enough. But Bruce? Come on, seriously!?
The thing I have learnt from being one and meeting other Springsteen fans is we’re a loyal bunch. It’s a personal insult when we hear you don’t like him. It cuts deep and we heal that wound by assuring ourselves that you just haven’t listened properly. With that sort immensely amazing and consistent back catalogue how could someone not find something in there to appreciate? Exactly, you can’t. Nope, they just haven’t bothered to look past ‘Born in the USA’. And I say that not as a diss to that song, again probably not understood in the way Bruce intended. Anyway, this didn’t sit well yet I liked this one so a plan of action was needed – I was going to change his mind.
Turns out I somehow cooked an alright chicken and by track 5 we were having sex in appreciation and if he was concentrating on the playlist then, well I’d have succeeded in one department whilst massively failing in another.
It started in the obvious place – the mix tape... or CD... or actually a playlist. Now this took days to compile. It was given real careful consideration. It needed to span the eras. Embrace the body of work yet still maintain a comfortable listening length and maybe even offer both live and studio recorded; it is Springsteen - it’s all fucking amazing. Days and days spent swapping and changing, at one point there were four alternative versions on the go. It had to be right. And when it finally was then it was all about the timing of playing. At first I thought this should be done when he was on his own, but then how could I be sure he’d actually listened? Really listened, you know properly. I couldn’t, so I set the ‘change your mind on Bruce’ scene, which was also the playlist title – there was no hiding my intentions. Sunday roast on the go and Springsteen playing. Turns out I somehow cooked an alright chicken and by track 5 we were having sex in appreciation and if he was concentrating on the playlist then, well I’d have succeeded in one department whilst massively failing in another. To be honest I’m not sure which I would have preferred, as I said we are loyal bunch. The playlist is still there for him to listen to and has been posted on his Facebook wall a few times with no ‘like’ or ‘comment’ so that didn’t work. Next.
A letter, hand-written with actual pen on paper and the topic; well that I think you can guess. Four pages detailing why and how it started – an essay basically or even a penned love letter about Springsteen to the guy I was hoping to get a bit more serious with. Yup, this does now sound a bit mental as I write about it and therefore I’m taking it as a good indication that on the day of receiving he still replied to all (well, nearly all) of my constant texts. Actually just that he replied. He said it was filled with a passion that he liked. Thank God. However, did it change his mind on Bruce? No. It probably just hinted to him that I’m a bit of a fucking idiot really. Ah well, a guy has to see behind the velvet curtain at some point. Next.
He was cooking dinner round at his place. What should I wear? Another opportunity struck, my original 1978 Springsteen tour t-shirt obviously. His face plastered both front and back. It will at least show him I’m serious about this shit. It wasn’t noticed upon arrival, or if it was it wasn’t commented on. Further action was needed and I’ll hasten to point out that this was after a few glasses of wine. So wobbling off to the bedroom I went to create a more seductive pose with the body protruding in a way giving Bruce’s face a full outward exposure. He can’t miss him I assured myself. Then it dawned on me - I’m not trying to get him to want to shag him, this has the possibility of just looking weird/mental, like I’m trying to entice some sort of imaginary threesome. Plus what if it got damaged in the, errrrr, excitement. No couldn’t be risked. So before the pose was captured, T-shirt was (neatly) abandoned and I gave up on the idea that a t-shirt was going to change his mind on Bruce. Time to move on.
Two weeks ago I realised that I’d not sat him down and showed him the film ‘The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story’. For those who don’t know what this is - well it’s Tom Zimny’s documentary on the making of the masterpiece of an album that is 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'. I highly recommend, but then of course I would. Anyway I digress, there it was - the answer. If he didn’t enjoy this then in honestly some serious questions needed to be asked here. So in preparation for viewing the candles were lit, Jaffa Cakes (class is something you cannot accuse me of not possessing) on offer and booze poured. My gaze went from screen to face repeatedly through the whole duration. Obviously you know, just glances, nothing that would make him realise I was watching him like a demented hawk. Each time the corner of my spying eye caught glimpse he was genuinely watching with what looked like enjoyment or at least interest. And then as the credits rolled as did the words which I’d waited to hear and that finally made all efforts worthwhile came “I’d like to give that album a listen”. That was it. I had changed his mind on Bruce.
If you are reading, please don’t ever say you don’t like Elvis.
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