When I was younger, I had a ‘rejection song’ – for those times when the bottom of a pint pot wasn’t quite dark enough, or there was still an ounce of joy (see previous post) hiding meekly in my boot, or under an armpit or something (not so much ‘ode to joy’ as ‘eau de boi’, but I digress). For most of my ‘lost’ years when I should have been in lectures or practising some coruscating wit on my tutors (students were, and are, sheep, for the most part) it was ‘Is she really going out with him?’ by Joe Jackson (no, not Michael Jackson’s father, the other Joe Jackson – the talented one).The genius of this song is that the chorus is a genuine ‘pint aloft’ celebration, while the verses are ‘smack the pint pot on the counter’ miserable (and you can do it on or off the beat, depending on how much tequila you’ve drunk). You can even, if the need arises, scrum down and spray the words at your fellow neanderthals in a shuffling ruck near the quiz machine.
C’est la vie, c’est la guerre.
I guess, looking back, I didn’t really have many problems in life, so I decided I should simply concentrate them all on the girl with purple hair not liking me enough to make kissyface, or at least not liking me so much as she liked other boys (and more memorably, girls – although tuppencelicking merely added to the ‘ecstacy of the agonies’ or whatever teenage male hormones become. Sweat and zits, mostly.). As the initial jaunty chords of Joe’s magnum opus blared over the jukebox, I would narrow my eyes and scowl meaningfully over at the corner where the cool kids sat, and perform some kind of astral projection, willing the lyrics to reveal some kind of epiphany to the girls that my personality (if there was one at the time) simply could not. Meanwhile, the girl with the purple hair would make a discreet exit and go somewhere infinitely cooler with her boyfriend. Who, you know, probably had a car or something. Or didn’t spend every night getting smashed into oblivion while listening to adolescent anthems in the SU bar.
Sigh. Music to bring you down. The forgotten album of forgetting. I had an entire ‘festive top seven’, as I termed it. Seven slices of miserable pie to share with the rest of the bar, all for the princely sum of £1 and a little pride. What’s that Arthur? Oh yes, same again please….
Anyway, the point – today at least. My mail today was self-addressed – my first grown-up ‘rejections’. Jobs come and go, house near-purchases can sting a little, even relationships-gone-wrong lose some of their bite after a while. But today I received my first Rejections (capital R) in a long time – from literary agents.
I have been expecting them – statistically I think I should eventually rack up around 22 (although I only have one more query out in the wild at present). And I can snatch a crumb of comfort from the fact that the agent I really want hasn’t rejected it – yet. But it’s coming, I suspect. And opening these letters reminded me of coping mechanisms of the past. And how I should really prepare a ritual song for situations like this. It’s a little more forgiving than chocolate.
But what should this song be? What, dear reader, should I greet my ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ form letters from literary agents with?
I need something angry, yet veined with self-doubt, and perhaps some form of subtle rebuke hinting at their inevitable recognition of my genius. (Yes, a different form of genius from Joe Jackson’s. Although perhaps I should simply put all I have learnt while sitting on bar stools watching purple-haired girls make kissyface with other purple and non-purple-haired folk into song-based form, and make millions. Millions I tell you. Although now that I think about it, I am the most likely target market. So I would have to sell the song for a million pounds. Which entails having a million pounds to spend on a song. Which might require selling some books first. It’s complicated, financially, I guess. Which is why I never had a car to attract purple-haired girls in the first place. Though, I could always afford £1 for the jukebox).
So anyway, if you can think of any suitable songs, do suggest them in the comments below – I’m genuinely curious (and it might cheer me up a little)….