Sometimes, someone says something to you, something so extraordinarily baffling that you can't help but mull it over for months after. I was out with the Wife meeting some new people. I never usually worry about these things, meeting new people.
In fact I actually like it. One time she said to me, after we'd been to a party, 'I used to think you were a good networker but it's not that is it? You actually do like meeting new people don't you?'.
I couldn't help but agree. You see, most people are alright. In fact, if we chuck in some maths (or math as the Yanks say) I'd say a good 98% of people are tidy enough. I'm not saying lifelong friends or anything like that, but just to meet on a night out and talk to, for say, 15 minutes. Which I'd say is the usual amount of time you speak to someone you've never met before when your say in a pub, or a house party. The other 2% accounts for murderers, tyrants and nutters generally and I think most psychologists would probably back me up on those figures. Anyway, back to the Wife.
What she said I do (as a man) is usually start with football (has about a 80% hit rate with other blokes). If that fails the bloke will usually be a motor racing fanatic (especially if he doesn't like football) so knowing sweet FA about that (I genuinely would rather nail my balls to a wooden chair and jump up really quick that watch it) I'll move onto music. With this you cant fail. Everybody in the Western world would have a liking for a certain genre of music.
Wrong....So I'm introduced to this lad who's the new boyfriend of someone we know and they do the usual...'we'll leave you lads to it!' wink thing. I reassuringly wink back. I am the master at this. Leave it with me, us lads will chat 'inflated football wages' or 'the greatest Stones single' before you'll even think of getting onto 'how great candles are' or 'Jimmy Choo shoes'. So I says to him (this is the classic..'busy tonight?' line getting into a taxi queue...every bloke will be nodding when I say this)...'So, you got a team mate?'....He stonewalls me with a flat 'No'. 'No, interest in football?' I think...'Okay, well I absolutely can't do the old Top Gear/car thing (is Nigel whats his name still racing?) so let's get onto music'. Bit of silence and I go..'Like this?'...Someone's got Screamadelica on in the back round. He looks at me and again I get a straight bat. 'No' And then...'Dont know it'.
Obviously I'm a bit shocked by this, we're around the same age and someone not knowing the Primal's seminal indie/dance crossover is a bit like not knowing there's a soap called Eastenders that is on the telly a few times a week. But I think...'Okay, he may have been into hip hop (it doesn't look like though) or grunge, maybe a penchant for Scandinavian death metal, so I ask him..'What you into then, mate?'...and it's then I get the most astonishing answer to a question I think I've ever had. He shrugs his shoulders and goes..'Nothing, I don't like music'. I do that laugh thing when you know someone is messing about, but then he stays straight-faced and I stop laughing, and can't help but going..'You taking the piss mate?' and again he just goes 'No, I really don't'. And this is the best thing...he means it!! I'm like...'Are you kidding?'..'Are you seriously telling me there's not a single bit of music you like...ever?' And he goes...'Well I'm not saying that, I do like some classical stuff and I'll have the radio on in the car, but I've never actually bought anything myself. Never really felt passionate enough I suppose'.
A vision of me came as a 12 year old scrimping my dinner money together, actually not eating for 9 hours straight just so I could buy The Jam's new single' and I realised that maybe I was the nutter here. But then I thought, no. Hang on, he's the nutter because surely it's a young persons' obligation to become obsessed with a rock star or band and cheer as they enter the charts. To scrimp and travel all night to see them. To become so enraptured in them that they become part of you. That you face the world because you've got an Ian Brown haircut and Shaun Ryder swagger. That they make your life so much better for being in it. That when you listen to them, everything goes from everyday black and white to day-glo technicolour and you know, just know, everything is gonna be alright. Nope...not this guy. When I said all this to him he looked at me like you'd look at someone who'd just asked you if you fancied a piggy-back to the moon for a fiver. Then I began to rant a bit...'I mean mate NOT to like music is like saying you don't like breathing for Christ's sake!' Fair play, he laughed at this point and we we're joined by the women. 'You boys getting on okay?'..'Uhh, yeah...your fella was just saying he didnt like music'. She laughed 'I know, isn't it strange, he owns not a single CD or an iPod'...'God, I wish he was like that', replied mine 'He's going through a bloody Northern Soul obsession, that's all we have morning noon and night'. I pointed out this was a slight exaggeration as I do go to sleep at night, but the rest was a little bit true. 'Anyway, Zoe has just arrived, so we'll be back in ten minutes'...and they left us alone again. Silence. I realised he was quiet too, but there was no way I was gonna be defeated. No way. I am a people person me.
I LIKE people and I was gonna find something, anything....'So, mate...(Deep breath) this Formula 1 thingy, you into cars?'....