You Feel No Pain

by Belle Waring on March 5, 2015

That’s one good thing about music–when it hits, you feel no pain. I recently had an out-of-the-blue need to hear this Cure song, partly thinking that Zoë would like it, which she does, a lot. It’s a very happy feeling to introduce someone to music that they love. I remember the first time I listened to this song vividly, because I had two friends sleeping over, one of whom had brought the tape. My step-father had an (admittedly solid) “free cheap red wine for sleepovers” policy. I was thinking it started in middle school, but on reflection I realize it must have been ninth grade. In middle school it was sort of unofficial. This encouraged a make-out during sleepovers policy also unofficially endorsed by my stepfather but WHATever, awesome parenting skillz. My step-dad had his bad side but he really knew how to throw a fun party. Let it never be said he was not fun at a party. I mean, stuff went wrong eventually, sometimes, with either drywall, glass tables, or his hand getting broken (or all three!), or firearms being discharged indoors, or my mom magnificently sweeping down the stairs in a silk 1930s gown and putting a stop to all further shenanigans by hacking a big piece out of the entryway to the living room with a machete. That last was really memorable and for whatever reason put a stop to what had been a many-year run of weekly two and three-day parties.

I have mentioned in comments before that I love this song, “Madam George” by Van Morrison, so much that I always loved it, even though it was my step-dad’s single favorite song of all time, an emotional event horizon from which few songs escaped. (In similar FTL music history, he used to sing the Bowie song “Rebel, Rebel” to me all the time which was, as you can imagine if you will give it a listen, a straightforward incitement to murder a motherfucker mortifying, but it is perfect, adamantium, gem-like, and will not admit anything other than abject submission to The Riff, one of the most sublime in all of rock and roll). I recorded “Madam George” three times in a row on a mix tape once because I didn’t want to waste time rewinding it on my commute, first above ground through N.E. Washington where the back of the city is scribbled low on the horizon, then in the black tunnels of the Metro, in which I knew the distances between the stations to within a few seconds, up the long escalator of the Tenleytown Metro where stalactites are precipitating out of the concrete at the top right, and down Wisconsin Ave on the bus. We forget, with the magic of the flipped triangle, the squealing and waiting that would accompany rewinding a 9’44” song.

I didn’t actually intend to be bitching about anything, but rather encourage you to listen to songs. I’m not particularly bummed out about them; this is like metadata.

I don’t have enough feels about this awesome St. Vincent song to have that .exif. But it’s a beautiful song reminiscent of Brian Eno circa “Here Come The Warm Jets.” And frankly I don’t want anything that hectic to happen. Insh’allah I will just like “Severed Crossed Fingers” in a normal way, like a normal person would like a song.



Layman 03.05.15 at 12:40 pm

Just Like Heaven is a singularly obsessive song for me, one you listen to over and over. I wrecked my first LP copy that way, then the digital age of music saved me from scratchins.

I’m also quite fond of Katie Melua’s straight-forward cover:


Belle Waring 03.05.15 at 1:03 pm

Agreed, I’ve listened to it like 100x in the last few weeks. The instrumental opening is soooooo sweet.


dn 03.05.15 at 1:24 pm

It took me years to get into Astral Weeks, but one day I had this sudden desire to listen to it and suddenly it was like “wow, this really is the greatest album ever, isn’t it?” When he starts doing the “love to love that loves to love that loves to love….” thing – bliss.

John Cale’s “Carlemagne” is another song I still listen to on repeat years after having first heard it. As I have been doing the last couple days.


Ronan(rf) 03.05.15 at 3:08 pm

I also agree re Madame George. I’ve been listening to it a lot over the last number of months if for no other reason than I had the CD in the car and have been doing a good bit of driving . I keep forgetting to get another CD , as I’m a little sick of it at this stage (not a lot, but a little)
I don’t understand the argument against Astral Weeks. I mean I get that people don’t like the genre, or whathaveyou, but specifically disliking the album while liking similar stuff? It make no sense to me. Not to be derogatory, but most people I know who claim to HATE it I think are generally music Nazis. My impression is they’re just being obstinate for the sake of it.


Mdc 03.05.15 at 4:27 pm

I’m not really a Van Morrison person, but I do agree Madame George is a very good song. However, I think this version, from the TB Sheets compliation, is far superior.


Mdc 03.05.15 at 4:28 pm

Whoops, that link didn’t work. Just click through to the fourth track.


mattski 03.05.15 at 4:38 pm

…and you’re younger than you realize


mattski 03.05.15 at 4:43 pm

Partial to dream pop myself.


Kiwanda 03.05.15 at 5:01 pm

Speaking of Bowie and sublime riffs, I love how Janelle Monae removes what I thought was The Riff from “Heroes”, puts in something snappy, and the results are great. (Although, do I like it because of its prior associations, or does it stand on its own?)


Tom Slee 03.05.15 at 5:02 pm

Yes: Madam George is, objectively speaking, the best song of all time.


js. 03.05.15 at 5:41 pm

“Just Like Heaven” is easily my favorite Cure song. At a point where I thought I didn’t like the Cure at all anymore, it convinced me entirely otherwise. Also too tho, J. Mascis. (Apologies to any and all whose sensibilities have been irreparably damaged.)


Anderson 03.05.15 at 5:58 pm

I wish St. Vincent clicked for me. Hasn’t, yet.


Main Street Muse 03.05.15 at 6:45 pm

Astral Weeks is one of my all time favorite albums (I am old enough to remember albums but didn’t get this one until it was on a CD.)

HOWEVER, I must disagree with Belle about the impact of music as having no pain – there are some songs that absolutely hit me like a ton of bricks and then I cry. Oh those associations we have with our soundtracks!


The Temporary Name 03.05.15 at 7:01 pm


js. 03.05.15 at 7:51 pm

TTN—see above @11. Agreed on the awesomeness.


The Temporary Name 03.05.15 at 8:00 pm

D’oh, searched for “dino”!


The Temporary Name 03.05.15 at 8:06 pm

I guess I owe a song then.


MPAVictoria 03.05.15 at 8:27 pm

I love these threads. I always find that music tends to make me hurt more but in a good way(Maybe? Sometimes?).

This song makes me tear up EVERY SINGLE TIME I listen to it. So obviously I listen to it often.

Please do give it a listen.


MPAVictoria 03.05.15 at 8:41 pm

Jesus Temp, That is a pretty depressing song. Well done.


mrearl 03.05.15 at 8:51 pm

Though relegated to the more “commercial” Moondance album, this one would fit Astral Weeks, despite lyrics that make slightly more sense:

Too late to stop now . . .


Teachable Mo' 03.05.15 at 10:58 pm

From Van Morrison, I’d go with “Did Ye Get Healed”. For all the interwoven melody lines.

My current Repeat Plays are “My Little Brown Book” by Ellington and Coltrane and Bunny Berrigan’s “I Can’t Get Started.” Choose the version from Chinatown since Berrigan recorded it several times.


dn 03.05.15 at 11:26 pm

There are so many great Van Morrison songs…


Tom Hurka 03.05.15 at 11:36 pm

Van Morrison did a tour a few years back playing Astral Weeks — with the original bass player, who is the dynamo on the record — and I went to see him at Massey Hall in Toronto. Apparently Van was so obscure when the LP came out that he didn’t get to tour in support of it.

I remember loving Madame George when the somewhat jazzy afternoon DJ on the local FM rock station would play it in 1968-69. It was the early days of FM, not yet many ads on the air, and the DJs were pretty free to play what they liked. This guy played great stuff — Bobby “Blue” Bland, later on Dan Hicks, but also lots of Astral Weeks and then Moondance.

Back then I heard the song as Madame Joy, and apparently the lyric was initially written that way, with that pronunciation appearing at several points during the song. But whatever the name is, a moving memorable song. I think I have to go listen to it again.


js. 03.05.15 at 11:53 pm

So I’ll just go ahead and say this: I don’t really get Van Morrison. I like the early Them stuff—their version of Baby, Please Don’t Go is great, e.g. But the classic solo Van Morrison stuff, kinda not getting it. I’ll give Astral Weeks another listen, tho, and see if anything changes.


TheSophist 03.05.15 at 11:55 pm

Hymns to the Silence.

The debate is over. All other contenders are worthy, but…


dn 03.06.15 at 12:19 am

Tom Hurka – The bassist, Richard Davis, is indeed the real deal – he can also be heard on some classic jazz dates including Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch. He’s been professor of bass at the UW-Madison music school for decades. Great musician, and I’ve never heard a bad word about the man either.


dn 03.06.15 at 12:26 am

Oh, Davis plays on Springsteen’s “Meeting Across The River” from Born to Run also.


Bloix 03.06.15 at 12:45 am

i’ve been listening to a lot of Lisa Hannigan lately. I’d never heard of her until a couple of months ago.


Ben 03.06.15 at 12:58 am

A roommate and I got along fairly well until he mentioned he didn’t like Astral Weeks and then we didn’t

Oh Van Morrison how many living situations must you make slightly more tense than they need to be


mattski 03.06.15 at 1:02 am


Tom Hurka 03.06.15 at 1:05 am

Thanks, dn. After posting I did some internet searching about Astral Weeks and was reminded that Richard Davis was sort of the band leader and that the musicians just made it up as they went — Van told them to play whatever they felt like, and they did, pretty much on the spot. And look what came out! I have to say, though, I don’t take the intentionally-obscure words too seriously — it’s more the music and Van’s singing that gets me.)


mattski 03.06.15 at 1:11 am


Squirrel Nutkin (only a fool) 03.06.15 at 1:14 am

Some very fine pieces of music suggested above, but thanks to mattski (#7) my head can only hear the unnaturally catchy cynicism of the bards of Bard.

And I have to agree with Main Street – some little tunes (be)come so loaded with emotion that they hurt like the real thing.


Ronan(rf) 03.06.15 at 1:52 am

“I have to say, though, I don’t take the intentionally-obscure words too seriously”

I always liked it lyrically, although I always just thought it a series of semi random descriptions of the small part of the world he grew up in. (That sort of stuff goes a long way with me.)
I do associate it though, I think, with coming back from a close friends funeral, it playing in the car, and the lines:

“And as you leave, the room is filled with music, laughing, music, dancing, music all around the room
And all the little boys come around, walking away from it all
So cold”

which, without being cheesy, I think is a nice line. A little poignant.


bob mcmanus 03.06.15 at 2:07 am

Two Days One Night has a top of the lungs singalong in a car of “Gloria”

The early sixties badboys are higher in my rotation right now:Them, Beatles, Stones, Pretty Things, Animals. But Morrison will never leave. I may prefer St Dominic’s to Astral Weeks just a little, “Listen to the Lion” “Almost Independence Day”. AW is from a bad time, and feels sad nostalgic and trapped. SDP feels like freedom and peace.

I am starting to cry just thinking about Morrison. I can’t.

(The background Bach Violincello No 2 in D Moll may be contributing.)


bob mcmanus 03.06.15 at 2:24 am

I don’t know how to embed Almost Independence Day.

Motherfucking ecstasy, soul goes where words and music can’t follow


William Berry 03.06.15 at 2:38 am

For me, the saddest songs ever (in a sweet, melancholy kind of way) are Morrison’s “Brown-eyed Girl”, and the Doris Day version of “Que sera, sera.”

Springsteen’s “Point Blank” and “Brilliant Disguise” are pretty good, too.

I am old-fashioned and agree with Burton and the Romantics that the spirit of melancholy (transience of beauty, life, love, and all that rot) is the right mode for beauty.

Zipoli’s Adagio, the cello and oboe, heart-breakingly lovely. Etc., etc.


Matt 03.06.15 at 2:57 am


Probably my favorite Pet Shop Boys song, though hard to say when one likes the Pet Shop Boys as much as I do.


And perhaps my favorite Pulp song


Matt 03.06.15 at 2:58 am

Ah fuck. Anyway that’s Being Boring and Disco 2000 respectively.


dn 03.06.15 at 3:11 am

The saddest.

Although Wm. Berry is right to mention “Point Blank”. The River is really a fascinating album; a uniquely jarring mixture of goofy humor and soul-crushing despair. (“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?”)


js. 03.06.15 at 3:33 am

I don’t remember the first time I heard “Just Like Heaven”—tho one time when I was about 17, driving at night in a friend’s car, smoking cigarettes (relatively new in my life then, as was the friend), that one time stands out. I also don’t remember the first time I heard the Dinosaur Jr. cover. What I do remember is the first time I played the Dinosaur Jr. cover for an ex-girlfriend who was a giant Cure fan but hadn’t heard the cover. The first half: she was curious, cautious, mildly skeptical; and then the chorus hit and she jumped three feet off the couch and I skipped the rest of the track. She eventually became a big Dinosaur Jr. fan, but it definitely did not happen that day.

Also, Spinning Away, because why not.


js. 03.06.15 at 4:37 am


That Mac DeMarco song is great. I had never heard of the guy, so thanks!


Belle Waring 03.06.15 at 4:39 am

I was only quoting Bob Marley about it being the case that “one good thing about music” being that “when it hits you feel no pain” (Trenchtown Rock.) Obviously that’s a total lie. I’m not even sure that Bob Marley thought that. He seems pretty serious about it being a replacement for food and actual shelter, and thinks that seeing your child “doing the outside dance” is totally sufficient to make things be fine (legit! dancing toddlers are the best!), so maybe. There are some sad-ass Marley songs, but.

Music can make you feel so stabbed through the heart that sometimes I listen to music when I have an episode of major depression and then after I recover just can’t listen to it anymore without feeling scared and vertiginous. Wooops, tottering right there on the edge, would be a shame! I have to wait until I’m in just an amazingly great mood to listen to it, or something. Even then I am permanently banned from putting it on repeat, probably. Let me think. No, I can put it on repeat. Separately I can, with effort, totally overwrite the song’s metadata to “not suicidal.” I have to do something like: wait until I am in Martha’s Vineyard and it is late June. Stop being made unhappy by the inevitable march of death (I got this one, actually. Some people no.) Play the fuck out of that some. Boom, it’s fine now! Not like mcmanus-sensei, who had to not listen to any music, for like 30 years. That was hard-core, and a drag. True story. Glad to see you back in the land of the living, bob.

OMG js I LOVE Dinosaur Jr SO MUCH.

The lyrics to “Madam George” aren’t super-obscure, really. She’s a heroin addict, but awesome, and amazing people are at her house, and at first he doesn’t even feel cool enough to go, and at the end he doesn’t maybe even want to anymore? “Outside the frosty window raps/She jumps up and says, ‘Lord have Mercy, I think that it’s the cops!’/And immediately drops everything she gots/down into the street below.” Premature I should say. He thinks she’s ODed that one time (could happen!) “and you think you’ve found the bag/You can’t wake her and your knees begin to sag/You caught her playing dominoes in drag/The one and only: Madam George.” I never thought of her as an actual Madam though. I agree whoever is playing the upright bass is holding the song together, so, that would have been cool to see. As a young person my favorite part was when, after the strings started up at the very end, the high-hat cymbals also joined, tsss ts ts tsss ts ts tsss tsss ts ts tsss ts ts tsss ts ts ts ts ts ts tsss ts ts etc.


mattski 03.06.15 at 5:08 am

js. _ _ _ :^)

Future Islands

Bon Iver


js. 03.06.15 at 5:25 am

mattski, you might like the xx, in case you don’t know them.

(I do like Future Islands, by the way; Bon Iver is a little too acoutic/actual folk music-like for my taste, at least from what I’ve heard.)


Belle Waring 03.06.15 at 5:41 am

The first Bon Iver album is THE JAM. Then he decided he was going to do a Huey Louis and the News thing (yeah really though.) It’s…it’s still OK. He’s a talented musician. If you don’t like the song “Stacks” off “For Emma, Forever Ago” then you ain’t going to like nothing, probably. Luckile, IT’S A GREAT SONG. Wait, but you don’t like folk music? Like, you don’t like Phil Ochs? Cuz I can get behind that, I have an earnest-o-metre inside me and then the mercury comes busting out the top and it’s bye Phil Ochs. But you don’t like acoustic Bob Dylan? Oh god I’m listening to Stacks now it’s so great. You don’t like Sufjan Stevens? That’s wrong, sun. I can deal with you not liking The Incredible String Band, I understand you may have had to passively smoke 4-5 kilos of weed before age 7 for that shit to really go down easy. I have to go now, but I will probe you further on your uncertain politico-aesthetic tendencies, comrade.


Sebastian H 03.06.15 at 5:54 am

I’ve always loved the Cure.

I had no idea that Janelle Monae had done “Heroes”, but since I love literally everything I’ve heard of her, I’m not surprised that it is so amazing.

“Being Boring” makes me tear up every single time, even though the last friend to have died of AIDS was more than a decade ago.

Two songs that really connect to me emotionally in a cryptic dream-like way are Tori Amos’s “Caught a Lite Sneeze” and Heather Nova’s “Truth and Bone”. Both have a way of drifting off and then snapping back which seems powerful and mysterious to me.



Sebastian H 03.06.15 at 5:55 am

Hmmmm, that didn’t work well. Maybe this?



Sebastian H 03.06.15 at 5:58 am

Here is the album version of Truth and Bone. It is far superior to the video version.


Sebastian H 03.06.15 at 6:02 am

So that is how you do it. Here is “Caught A Lite Sneeze”


Matt 03.06.15 at 6:03 am

How did you do it? My earlier youtube links are screwy like yours were.


js. 03.06.15 at 6:11 am

Belle, I just listened to “Stacks”. And it is very beautiful. And I can imagine that once every eight months, I would want to listen to something that’s utterly unlike what I generally listen to, and this would be just perfect. And it really would happen three times in every two years. (Also, can I just say this? I flat out don’t like Sufjan Stevens. I think? I haven’t listened to him in a few years, tho.)

But, yeah, Dylan. I love Dylan. I will absolutely swear by Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 and Bringing It All Back Home. But it’s so special, right? And not just because I grew up around people who said things like, “If I ever believed in god, it would be because of Bob Dylan”, and that it was the soundtrack of my childhood (along with the Beatles, etc.) But apart from that, and apart from the fact that I think it’s objectively amazing, it’s also that when you’re talking about later generation stuff it’s not quite like the first gen, no? To take an example much closer to my musical proclivities: I really, really like the first Interpol album. Do I like it in anything like the kind of way I like love Television? Of course not. And then if you apply that to a genre that I’m not instinctively drawn towards, mutatis mutandis etc.

PS. I’ve now listened to “Stacks” a couple of times. Might be upgrading that to every couple of months. It is very good.


ZM 03.06.15 at 9:09 am

Autumn has just started here so melancholy and nostalgic music suits the weather and the skies.

The third song on this seems actually to be some sort of ritual thing to say as someone dies and decomposes into the earth (I can only find the whole 7 inch not individual songs)


ZM 03.06.15 at 9:11 am

I’ll try the first one again


JPL 03.06.15 at 9:56 am

Teachable Mo’ @21

Oh, yes! Did ye get healed! But now I have nothing to contribute. I was going to suggest that song, which is my favourite VM song and one I used to play over and over, and I don’t like to play songs over and over. If you’re feeling down, listen to that song and you’ll be up in the clouds. I didn’t know anybody else knew of that song. I guess I can still put it up; the people should listen to it, and try to play it really loud and feel better.

Kiwanda @9

I love that Janelle Monae song, although I’d never heard the David Bowie original, which I’ve now listened to. Janelle does some intriguing reharmonizations (e.g., starting at 1:02, 1:22, 2:18). Well, I like it better than the original, although I have no prior associations.


JPL 03.06.15 at 10:04 am

This is for bob mcmanus. Great song.


Salem 03.06.15 at 12:02 pm

#43: For people of my generation, you were quoting dead prez.


mattski 03.06.15 at 12:18 pm

js., yes they’re right up my alley.


Ghostface Killah


oldster 03.06.15 at 2:15 pm

Janelle Monae can do no wrong.

But in reworking Heroes, she did lose out on one thing that Eno got right:

listen to the basic groove behind the original Heroes, and you can here a re-working of the basic groove from Suffragette City.

I don’t think it was Bowie repeating himself. I think it was Eno being intertextual.


TheSophist 03.06.15 at 3:09 pm

Van’s duets album drops at the end of this month. Part of me is really excited (there are some really cool song choices – Irish Heartbeat w/ Mark Knopfler, If I ever Needed Someone w/Mavis Staples), but there’s a little bit of fear, too. :)


dn 03.06.15 at 3:34 pm

What do you Sufjan Stevens fans think of The Age of Adz? Because I think it’s pretty great, better than a lot of his more popular folky stuff IMO.


Tom Hurka 03.06.15 at 5:55 pm

Just to clarify: the lyrics of Madame George aren’t that obscure, it’s more the “If I ventured in the slipstream/Between the viaducts of your dream” stuff I was thinking of.


Main Street Muse 03.06.15 at 9:34 pm

“I was only quoting Bob Marley about it being the case that “one good thing about music” being that “when it hits you feel no pain” (Trenchtown Rock.) Obviously that’s a total lie.”

I was kind of wondering!!! Love Marley but don’t know that quote. I THOUGHT you would be someone who might be cut to the core by some songs. Like me!


mdc 03.06.15 at 10:04 pm

I would have said that Bon Iver’s falling off was a result of trying to do a Van Morrison thing- in a cheesy 80’s sense, not so much in an Astral Weeks sense…

He/they could do a good ‘Sweet thing.’ ‘Beach Baby’ is a good song.


Belle Waring 03.07.15 at 2:26 am

Yes, MSM, obviously I am the kind of person who sometimes cries for no reason because I accidentally listened too a song that was too sad, or that merely reminded me of too-sad things. I mean, way obviously. “Madam George” makes me cry sometimes. Thanks for all the great song reccommends, dear readers. Y’all always come through with good ones, but these have been particularly awesome.


ZM 03.07.15 at 3:42 am

I have just been at a wake in our botanical gardens for a much admired local man whose passing away is a great loss. While our Mayor was singing I’ll Fly Away on the rotunda for him a flock of white cockatoos circled the crowd before flying back to settle in a tall tree on our periphery, and then circled again at the end of the song.


Alan White 03.07.15 at 4:10 am


My granddad lived “Detroit City” which I can hardly bear to hear for all that horrible history.

“He Stopped Loving Her Today.” My Dad died that year.

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” from my divorce.

Songs and saline go together.


One of Many 03.07.15 at 5:12 am

This one (The Clarke Sisters) also has older ladies, recollected in nostalgia, who opened your eyes to a different vision of life.

Some other Go-Betweens stuff, posted once before.


Greg 03.07.15 at 6:37 am

Marley was absolutely right. No pain. Just suffering.


Bill Murray 03.07.15 at 10:33 pm

I think a trip to 90s New Zealand is appropriate here.

The Muttonbirds

She’s Been Talking

Come Around


Stephenson-quoter kun 03.07.15 at 11:32 pm

Oh Belle, you had to make me listen to The Cure, today of all days. (There’s a story; use your imagination and you’ll probably get most of it right).


Belle Waring 03.08.15 at 5:25 am

I’m sorry Stephenson-quoter-kun. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? That’s cold comfort, I know.

I don’t know, I’ve been re-thinking my not non-dickish response to Aaronson and realizing I lack empathy along a certain axis. My life experience was people always trying to involve me in sex-biz in some way and me being like “Jesus fuck leave me alone, people that ARE MY FUCKING 7TH GRADE TEACHERS WHO ‘FALL IN LOVE WITH ME AT FIRST SIGHT’ WHEN I HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN MY STUPID PERIOD.” What does that even mean? Why would you do that if you’ve only ever had normal relationships before, suddenly lose your shit over a 7th-grader who’s young for her grade? AND WRITE A NOVEL ABOUT HER WHY IS THERE NO GOD? Or, “stop trying to talk to me, every single dude in the world. Just leave me alone. Seriously. Wait, except you in the back at the left, you’re totally hott.” This is the reverse of the problem described by Aaronson and by many male nerds. I really was apparently a very sexually attractive very young teenager. This shouldn’t be a thing, at all, but it is a thing. Science confirmed it in the unfortunate poorly-controlled experiment of my young life. So when I read the “I was scared to just walk up to some girl and start talking to me” lines there’s part of me that says “good! Fewer people will hassle that girl now.” And I’ve never been the one who got broken up with. Like, literally I’ve never been dumped even in a casual ‘I won’t go on another date with you’ way. I’ve had stalkers, and had to ban people from the comments of my life. I’ve only ever loved someone very much, decided I loved someone else a lot also, got a declaration of undying love signed in blood from party b and then broke up with a. This clearly totally undermines my ability to empathize with the normal human experiences of loving someone you can’t have, or who goes away and won’t come back, or is too crazy to be around. I’m that other person (PS THE CRAZY ONE). So I need to meaningfully reflect on the feelings of others.

I don’t mean by this at all to say you were in Aaronson’s position ever, merely that I realized recently after reflection that I have never loved and lost, or hopelessly pined, so your comment reminded me of why I reflected on this. I have sort of loved and lost, like, regretted that I made decision x between 2 people, but that’s not really the same.


Stephenson-quoter kun 03.08.15 at 9:32 am

Oh, I haven’t been quite in that position, but, you know, closer to that end of the spectrum. Though really, if the worst I can say is that listening to The Cure makes me sad, I don’t have much to complain about (and also isn’t that the point of listening to The Cure in the first place?)

On the empathy thing, one of the reasons I don’t feel like I’m a total asshole for describing myself as an “individualist” is the fact that it takes real effort to understand the totality of another person’s experiences, and sometimes the most important things about a person don’t have a label that society knows how to apply reliably. You’ve shared a hell of a lot on here, and I think that enables me to understand some things about you that I wouldn’t have been able to understand from merely observing your behaviours and affiliations.

The thing is, everyone is like that. The depths are unfathomable! So I get a bit nervous about people who have some cod-sociological explanation for why some people are the way they are, because it’s almost always more complicated than that. But then you end up with the same tension you get in other complex-system areas like economic policy, between recognising the complexity and obeying the need to do something about situations that seem to be wrong even when you can’t have the information you’d need for your actions to be perfectly calibrated. Any social theory is going to get some details wrong in respect of specific people, because its simplifying abstractions just weren’t designed with those people in mind, and maybe that’s the crux of Aaronson’s (minor, compared to his areas of agreement) problem with feminism.

On a personal level, I think there’s something to be said for a mild bit of repression, the sort that keeps you from writing love letters to children, irrespective of whatever’s going on in your head. I mean, I’m only suggesting the level of restraint necessary to deal with the fact that other people have a perfect right to their own choices and the strength of your feelings about those choices is your problem. I can see how people get confused, because society has plenty of narratives about how one’s strength of feeling for another person makes one precisely the right person for them to be in a relationship with – the “why won’t you ever know” bit in Just Like Heaven, for example! So there’s clearly another tension here, between the very enjoyable loss of boundaries that comes from being in love with someone, and the need to maintain those boundaries in cases where being in love with a particular person is a really bad idea, but none of this excuses violating someone else’s legitimate boundaries, and it’s not like the rules are really that complicated.

For my part, my immediate problem is being slightly in love with someone who I shouldn’t be, but not for any reasons of inappropriateness; just the more straightforward reason of them not feeling the same way. Which is fine, and I see it as a friendship gained rather than anything else lost. Just need to steer clear of The Cure for a while, is all.


lemmycaution 03.09.15 at 6:08 pm

“Deborah Bone Dead: Nurse Who Inspired Pulp’s ‘Disco 2000′ Dies, Aged 51”:

I agree that “disco 2000” is a great song.


Matt 03.09.15 at 7:16 pm

I didn’t know that Disco 2000 was based on a particular person.

I love stirring music with melancholy-to-sad lyrics. Which is to say, good job, everyone ITT.


Matt 03.09.15 at 7:39 pm

This one is just sad: What Sarah Said

Love is watching someone die

It reminds me of my father’s death in the hospital following bypass surgery for a heart attack. He never smoked, ate well, and exercised regularly his whole adult life, for gawd’s sake. He had only been retired for 14 months. We miss you, Dad. It was over too soon.


Kiwanda 03.10.15 at 2:11 am

I have never loved and lost, or hopelessly pined,

Unimaginable. I was in one of those states for most of my life up to age 22.

This seems like a particularly clear example of “privilege”: an experience of the world in which certain aspects are so constantly in your favor that it is difficult for you to imagine that those aspects are different for someone else, or even noticeable.

“stirring music with melancholy-to-sad lyrics”?

Roxy Music – Out Of The Blue
Secret Machines – Alone, Jealous and Stoned
Paper Route – Dance On Our Graves
Cream – Deserted Cities Of The Heart
The Knife – Heartbeats
Anna Calvi – Love Won’t Be Leaving
Robyn – Dancing on My Own
Fairport Convention – Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
David Bowie – Always Crashing In The Same Car
Poliça – Dark Star
The Bravery – Believe


MPAVictoria 03.10.15 at 2:22 am

“I have never loved and lost, or hopelessly pined,”

Wow. What’s that like?


Lee A. Arnold 03.10.15 at 3:11 pm

This whole new album is tremendous. This woman has the hit quotient of Stevie Nicks:


StataTheLeft 03.10.15 at 8:12 pm

Well if we’re using the Marley quote, we gotta link to the Rancid video, too no?

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