I fell in love with an Aimee Mann fan once. Or, at least, I thought I did.
It was one of those doggedly persistent teenage crushes – one that lasted for the best part of two years and one that, on a number of occasions, I actually audibly tried to talk myself out of. Walking home from the pub (“Really? Are you really going to do this?”); in the bathroom of a party where she spent the night talking at length to another boy (“Why? Why are you putting yourself through this?”); restlessly rolling over in bed to check my phone for messages – even though I knew full well she’d be asleep and I would have seen it light up or felt it vibrate through my mattress if I had received one (“Look at the time! This is not good for you! Snap out of it!”)
I say she was an Aimee Mann fan though, actually, by any measurable standard she wasn’t. She called herself one, but what she meant by that was that she’d seen Magnolia and decided that she liked the soundtrack. It’s unlikely she’d have been able to tell you many of the track titles – she would more than likely have half-recited one of the leading lines from the chorus in place of the song’s actual name. She was that sort of fan.
Her name, incidentally, was Rebecca.
I couldn’t recall any Aimee Mann songs when Rebecca asked me if I knew any – I was having trouble shifting Tori Amos and Fiona Apple out of my head – so, on her recommendation, I went out to buy myself an album. Such was my desire to impress her that I came back not only with Magnolia, but Lost In Space and Bachelor No.2 (or The Last Remains Of The Dodo) too. What I didn’t realise at the time was that, in simply owning two other albums, I had become three times the fan that she was – and, I imagine, ever will be.
(I say this without prejudice, of course, as I have done the same thing myself countless times. I’ll have a hundred albums that I’ve bought on the strength of one single and yet I’ll still talk as though I’m a massive fan of the band’s entire output. In fact, that pretty much sums up my whole relationship with Pulp.)
I’m not quite sure what I was so desperate to prove to her – that I was artsy, that we had lots in common, that I was totally wrapped around her little finger and hers to do with as she pleased – but for weeks those albums were all I listened to; and did so like I was urgently cramming for an exam. I knew that Rebecca was never interested in my opinion on Aimee Mann – she wasn’t even interested in her own opinion of Aimee Mann – but, still, I wanted to be prepared in case she ever asked again.
She never did.
I still see Rebecca. Not enough that she continues to hold me under much of a spell, but enough that I keep one of the three Aimee Mann albums I own but now never listen to on my computer.
No prizes for guessing which one.
Also listened to:
Aerogramme & Hal Duncan/Aidan Moffat And The Best Ofs & Ian Rankin – Two tracks from an album of collaborations between Scottish bands and Scottish writers – Ballads of The Book – which I bought on the strength of one of the writers involved in it. His was the only track I’d listened to before today – although, again, I probably would have claimed to have been a fan of the whole project if I was ever asked. [site]
Air – Moon Safari (an album I’m always surprised to find that I know very well) and selections from The Virgin Suicides. [site]
Al Green – How Do You Mend A Broken A Heart? [site]
Al Wilson – A track from a Northern Soul compilation I found at work, which appears to be about the perils of taking stray snakes in as pets.
Alabama 3– Woke Up This Morning (better known as being the theme from The Sopranos). [site]
The Alan Parsons Project– I have no idea what this is doing here. I’d have put money on me not owning any Alan Parsons Project, but clearly I’m wrong. The song is called Pipeline. If anyone knows why I might have it, I’m all ears. [site]