Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Tag

Men and Sex – A Price Worth Paying

Two Businessmen Drinking“You still going out with that Tiffany?”


“No?!  I thought you’d set her up in her own flat in the West End?!”

“I did…”

“Also that little country cottage near Falmouth?”


“And didn’t you provide her with an American Express Platinum card with no upper limit?”

“That’s right…”

“Then there was that boutique nail bar she always wanted – oh, and those night club premises so she could, what was it… ‘follow her dream’?”


Also that exclusive gym membership, the personal trainer, the charge account at Harrods, the new sports car, and of course – wasn’t there that little run around for her mother as well?”

“Sure was…”

“Oh, and didn’t you take her to Rome and Sydney… er, and New York and Las Vegas too?”

“Yeh, and Cape Town… all club class flights, all at top first class hotels, all in the last year…”

“Woooh… So what happened?!”

“She left me…”

“After all that?!”

“Yeh, and the rest…”

“There’s more?!”

“Tip of the iceberg..”

“All gone?!”

“Yeh, all cashed in – or cashed out…”

“Wow… Did she say why?!”

“She went off with someone richer…”

“No warning?”

“Just a post it note when I came back from a conference one evening…”

“Scheming little bitch!


Bloody hell!”

“I know…”

“Out of the blue you say?”

“Yeh… I’d just given her a few thousand spending money the night before…”

“Jee-zus… All that… What on earth did you get out of it, fer chrissakes?!”

“A permanent hard-on for a year…”

“Oh, right…”


“She was hot though, wasn’t she?”

“A total hottie…”

“Lovely girl deep down…”

“Yeh, lovely…”






Did You Sleep With Her?

Euphemistically Speaking…

Under the duvet

Did you sleep with her?


Sleep with her?…


That pair have been slapping against each other like an open wicket gate banging an oak post on a stormy night.  They’ve fused for so long you couldn’t peel them apart even if you could call upon the sexual aid of the most anal of temperance police wielding hardwood truncheons to beat them into submission.  You’d have more luck with pulling off two sticky buns bonding in a rubber sack in a heatwave or separating an insole from a marathon runner’s trainer after the longest of sweaty sessions.  A Premiership footballer, however injury prone, has never received such matchless close attention to his groin area.  In the soft velvet, deep liquid black of night they hit grey shade number fifty and started all over again; their prolonged exchange of bodily fluids putting eager virgin donors at the local blood bank to shame as their copulating countdown to daylight commenced. Then, as the orange glow of the rising sun stretched its probing fingers into the gentle rise and fall of their weary trembling buttocks, mother nature’s warming aphrodisiac that was pregnant with the delights of the day explored their bodies fleetingly, unsure as to whether it had simply come prematurely.  A bawdy milkman on his round of housewives – if he hadn’t already been shafted from behind by predominant supermarket forces – would have spilled his cartons of full fat cream in shock, each popping provocatively at the lust-filled whoops, moans, howls and groans that ejaculated carelessly up into the morning air.  In response, blackbird, thrush and tit alike had fought their feelings of inadequacy since grey shade twenty-five marked halfway ticket on their coital return journey from orgasm junction; coy mating calls proving a poor passion play in penetrating the eternal suburban rhythm of twisted bedspring and headboard.  No match for a dawn chorus of congress that spat hormones, DNA, determined emissions and the odour of uncontrolled urges from loose-limbs stretched in a duck down duvet of strangled inhibitions.  And as for the neighbours?  Oh, they slumped exhausted hours ago, drifting on an uneasy compromise of shattered consciousness and exposure, their minds contorted by vivid images of unclothed, everyday acquaintances rampantly auditioning for Porn Hub and fraught with the gestation pains of RSI from incessantly banging on the bedroom party wall – frustratingly all to no avail…


Candice & Tegan


Candice:  “And I’m like – I says to her… I like him: I mean, I really like him… I like him a lot – but I’m like… I just don’t like him in that way – I just like him… and do you know what?”

Tegan:  “Wot?”

Candice:  “That bitch looked straight through me like I was stupid – or summat.  I’m like Duuh!  And also I’m like as well – how dare you!  What are you inferrin’ – lookin’ at me like that?”

Tegan:  “Silly cow obviously doesn’t understand plain English!”

Candice:  “I know!  I mean I’m not bein’ funny or anythin’ but I’m like… I am so going to slap you if you don’t go in a minute bitch!”

Tegan:   “You didn’t?  Did you?!”

Candice:  “Well… she’s just stood standin’ in front of me with that gormless look on ‘er face and I’ve like flipped… I’m just so ballistic… I’m like so red in the face – I swear I must have looked like I’ve put blusher on like I’ve had a fit or summat?”

Tegan:  “I so wish I’d been there to see it…”


Tegan:   “I’d have so loved to see you put your handprint on that face…”

Candice:  “Yeh…”

Tegan:  “She’s just like Carla says – all feral…”

Candice:  “Yeh, I…”

Tegan:  “She didn’t bite you did she?!”


Tegan:  “Coz if she did you’d like so have to get a jab…”

Candice“Well, she…”

Tegan:  “Coz Carla said that when she kissed Rob Cartwright upstairs in The Tiger Lounge on the High Street she was foamin’ at the mouth!”

Candice:  “No, she…”

Tegan:  “Though afterwards Carla said it could have been like her love spit – or a cocktail shot – or a trick of the new lights…”

Candice:  “No… she left!”

Tegan:  “That’s what Carla said…  Rob Cartwright was like so embarrassed bein’ seen kissin’ her that he…”

Candice“No… when I said I’d slap her…”

Tegan:  “What you didn’t!”

Candice:  “No… she left!”

Tegan:  “Oh… right…”

Candice:  “Yeh…”

Tegan:  “Oh…”

Candice:  “Yeh…”

Tegan:  “ Oh… I bet though when she left the bitch was like so brickin’ it!  I bet she looked like – all feral then!  If she’d turned round she was probably foamin’ at the mouth too!!”

Candice:  “Yeh!!!  Bitch!”

Tegan:  “Bitch!”


The Greatest Love Song Ever?

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face…


It’s too easy to get blasé about great songs.  Some after all are just there… every few years they punctuate the day-to-day once again in advert, soundtrack or radio playlist proving that familiarity has bred – if not contempt – then dulled appreciation from ears that have taken them for granted. 

The stunning trailers for David Attenborough’s Africa TV series – raised to sublime emotional heights by the use of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face –  has opened ears anew to the stunning impact and beauty of this undeniably great song…

Originally written by Scottish folky Ewan MacColl in the late-50s for his then girlfriend – soon to be wife – Peggy Seeger; The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was lifted to new artistic peaks by Roberta Flack’s definitive 1969 album interpretation and shortened hit mix that charted subsequently in 1972.  Stretched in musical scope and empowered it’s difficult to imagine MacColls’s reaction upon first hearing her version after his – to put it politely – reported indifference to interpretations of the song in the contemporary folk world. 

“To listen closely and to be softly lifted by the rush is to be touched by something otherworldly and spiritual …”


Expanded to twice the length of the original… Flack’s stunningly enunciated tour-de-force lifts the blueprint from sweetly personal folk secret to epic universal profundity by virtue of her soulful performance and the room the arrangement is given.  It is as if from being delivered in a private moment between two lovers on a back garden seat the song is allowed to drift and connect across the whole of the rolling landscape.  From the first opening notes of delicate, almost slumbering guitar and the simple rhythm that punctuates throughout – the emotions and devotions are given a chance to breathe.  This is helped by less emphasis on the dominant strings that are to be found in the production of the single version.    

There is a quality to the use of silence and pause, prayer-like invocations, dynamics and space here that retain tremendous clarity even from this distance.  Less is more they say… and here is a masterclass in a gently-building poetic lyric and the most tasteful reinforcement that has none of the blandness that has come to be associated with the term.  The quiet/loud template has been deeply influential among other singer songwriters and although it stretches a point to trace this beyond the ballad to the musical equivalent of the other side of town it is common practice among the heavy rock fraternity.

The stately progress of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face does more than momentarily suspend time; it halts it in the most unobtrusive, natural way while creating a dimension for peace and reflection.  Perhaps no other popular song expresses the body and soul intoxication of first love/love at first sight in so erudite and profound a manner as this.  It’s stark understated piano and time signatures give it a church feel.  To listen closely and to be softly lifted by the rush is to be touched by something otherworldly and spiritual – yet fundamentally of all our everyday experience.  

There is melancholy, though not specifically due to the lyrics, but from the evocation of eternity and the realisations that this level of heightened infatuation rarely lasts.  Forget the cynics and embrace the idea that such a love simply changes appearance with time. The first few expressions of Flack’s voice are akin to raindrops running down a window pane before a sensual waterRaindrops on windowfall – that becomes a flood subtly reinforced by the propulsive accompaniment.  

Beguiling as love itself as it swells on the lines – “Like the trembling heart of a captive bird.”  It is like falling over a breathless precipice of palpitations and trysts.  This lyrical punctuation is repeated again on the line  – “And the first time ever I lay with you.”  This is no paean to lust: the love here is pure and life’s available gift for rich(er) or poor(er).  This is truth without schmaltz.  The chemistry of attraction is not painted by numbers as in so much mainstream fodder but in richly poetic terms – terms that can be understood by all.  

“It’s a love song of the ages – for all the ages and stages of life.”


Thankfully the song has survived favourite status among X-Factor auditionees and finalists.  No amount of excruciating treatment before inanely-delivered comment and TalkTalk bookended commercial break has destroyed the spell it weaves in the right hands.

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – almost a genre in itself – has offered a statement; an Olympus to aim at – and an artistic plan for writers of love songs to scale for the last forty years.  Much as individuals have striven for the feelings it enunciates like the worst of addicts: lovesick in the best sense of the word. 

Sit down, switch off the mobile and all the other distractions and turn up loud… it will be the best five minutes you’ll spend today.  No matter how many times you have heard it the song still summons something from deep inside and – depending on your state of reflection or relationship – uncontrollably shallow breaths; or sometimes even tears.  It’s a love song of the ages – for all the ages and stages of life. The power never diminishes: it’s safe on a popular and critically constructed rostrum.  On a plateau with the most affecting of what is only a handful of truly great love songs.


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