1995 - High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

1995 - High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Author:Nick Hornby
Format: epub


FIFTEEN

I’m introduced to Anna. Dick brings her to the pub on a night when Barry isn’t around. She’s small, quiet, polite, anxiously friendly, and Dick obviously adores her. He wants my approval and I can give it easily, loads of it. Why would I want Dick to be unhappy? I wouldn’t. I want him to be as happy as anybody has ever been. I want him to show the rest of us that it is possible to maintain a relationship and a large record collection simultaneously.

“Has she got a friend for me?” I ask Dick.

Normally, of course, I wouldn’t refer to Anna in the third person while she’s sitting with us, but I have an excuse: my question is both endorsement and allusion, and Dick smiles happily in recognition.

“Richard Thompson,” he explains to Anna. “It’s a song off a Richard Thompson album. “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight,” isn’t it, Rob?”

“Richard Thompson,” Anna repeats, in a voice which suggests that over the last few days she has had to absorb a lot of information very quickly. “Now, which one was he? Dick’s been trying to educate me.”

“I don’t think we’ve got up to him yet,” says Dick. “Anyway, he’s a folk/rock singer and England’s finest electric guitarist. Would you say that’s right, Rob?” He asks the question nervously; if Barry were here, he’d take great pleasure in shooting Dick down at this point.

“That’s right, Dick,” I reassure him. Dick nods with relief and satisfaction.

“Anna’s a Simple Minds fan,” Dick confides, emboldened by his Richard Thompson success.

“Oh, right.” I don’t know what to say. This, in our universe, is a staggering piece of information. We hate Simple Minds. They were number one in our Top Five Bands or Musicians Who Will Have to Be Shot Come the Musical Revolution. (Michael Bolton, U2, Bryan Adams, and, surprise surprise, Genesis were tucked in behind them. Barry wanted to shoot the Beatles, but I pointed out that someone had already done it.) It is as hard for me to understand how he has ended up with a Simple Minds fan as it would be to fathom how he had paired off with one of the royal family, or a member of the shadow cabinet: it’s not the attraction that baffles so much as how on earth they got together in the first place.

“But I think she’s beginning to understand why she shouldn’t be. Aren’t you?”

“Maybe. A bit.” They smile at each other. It’s kind of creepy, if you think about it.



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