Dry your eyes, mate

Some of you may recall the above line from a song written and performed by Mike Skinner (aka ‘The Streets’) way back in 2004. It’s a 21st-century lover’s lament, in which the ‘singer’ (it’s a sulky monotone, really) pines for the woman who jilted him. A thousand such songs have been written about the same topic, all of them far superior in quality to this half-baked ditty. However, I was always intrigued by the lachrymose strings sample in the intro and outro. Where did Skinner get it? Is it a song in its own right? A little internet sleuthing in my lunch break today did not give me the answers I wanted. According to Songfacts, an obscure singer named Michael Gagliano claimed the sample as his own, from a song named ‘Yesterday & Today Part 1’. I know this to be complete nonsense. Why? Allow me to explain.

First, ‘Yesterday & Today Part 1’ is a song by The Beatles and it does not sound even remotely like a string quartet. It’s the usual sound one would expect from the Fab Four – you know, a few simple guitar riffs whose appeal is magnified to epic proportions by their over-zealous fans. No violins to be found. Second, this Gagliano fellow released his album in 2003, but the strings sample had been around for at least three years before then. It featured in a wedding scene in the Canadian TV show ‘The Immortal’, starring the comely April Telek. In this scene, a shrewish woman is transformed into a Stepford wife after putting on an enchanted ring. ‘I’m married!’ she gushes, after which the ‘Dry Your Eyes’ sample kicks in. Presumably, they then live happily ever after – I neither know nor care how the story ends. So there you have it, folks: the sample is older than most people realise.

My questions, however, remain unanswered. What is this song called? Is it in the public domain? Is it available for download? I’d like to get hold of it and play it whenever I hear some bad news. Then my life could be a bit like a film or TV show. I already have ‘Puffin’ Billy’ for cheerful strolls on sunny days and ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ for those moments when I want to blast my abs. And nothing beats a little Rammstein for mowing down Pakistanis with an MP5. Indeed, there’s a song out there for every occasion and every mood.

Right now, I’ve settled for a few tearjerkers by the legendary George Frideric Handel. I shouldn’t feel so low, since I’ve just had a date with an attractive and cheerful young woman. However, I don’t get to see this girl that often and when I do, I always feel inadequate. She’s travelled to so many places in the world and wherever she went, she was wined and dined by some hot-shot business type. Everywhere I take her must seem so provincial by comparison. And what do I have to offer? Sweet fuck all, is what! I’m a poor man with no future and not much of a past, either. I was never rich enough, popular enough or brave enough to go swanning about in far-off places. I was never blessed with the gift of courage, and the last time I checked, that wonderful Wizard of Oz had run out of diplomas to hand out. So no, I don’t get to see all these amazing sights, life-changing experiences, etc. I intend to travel, but it is no mean task to leave the familiar behind. I know I need to get out, live abroad, for the sake of my career prospects, if I have any left. I have to leave England, because England has left me. The old fellowship is broken and the people I hang around with now are not my people. I haven’t felt a connection with anyone in years. Is it too much to ask that I get to enjoy a romantic liaison without all that complication? Regular contact with a woman who doesn’t have a face like a fiddler’s elbow? What’s wrong with lazy Sunday mornings and afternoon delight? Handheld strolls by the river, or amorous embraces in the cinema? Has simple romance become anachronistic? Perhaps there’s no place in this mad world for the Spideron.

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