What Came First…

…the hopeless romanticism or High Fidelity?

People worry about kids watching John Wick or gory horror movies. But nobody worries about them watching dozens and dozens of romantic comedies. Especially one as cool and perfect as High Fidelity. Love seems so easily attainable and the majority find out painfully that it is much harder and way more complicated.

Did I watch High Fidelity because I yearned for love so much or did I yearn for love so much because I watched High Fidelity… a lot?

The girl who told me I reminded her of Rob Gordon is, if anything, as much to blame as John Cusack. He’s so wonderfully charming with all his gestures, tics and looks… Yes, I took pride in the comparison, but it became a self-fulfilling prophecy to model myself on a man who believes he is doomed to be rejected for all eternity.

I don’t know exactly what I wanted and it could’ve been worse as I was also into American Psycho at the time.

It’s probably no coincidence that the two girlfriends I did have over this period did not attend the same school. It’s entirely possible that they suffered worse fates as I stumbled through first dates and had no clue how to proceed from there having never actually gotten this far before.

The first was a colleague from my supermarket job. I worked in the department responsible for casing up any purchased CDs, so like Barry I could look down on any purchases of “tacky, sentimental crap”. We built a great rapport over the weeks preceding our first date. The chemistry died when we became a couple. It truly wilted when she carried me home blackout drunk from a party and I duly vomited all over my room. (Sorry, Mum.)

The second was the dream girl. A fellow indie music fan, who I met after a Super Furry Animals concert when our group of love hungry boys accosted her and her friends in the fast food joint afterwards. Somehow numbers were exchanged and things progressed from there. She liked me. She liked me. At least, I think she did. I was the cock of the walk for a time, wearing her loaned, small on me, Mogwai hoodie wherever I went.

She came to my suburban abode once and her encounter with a Blink 182 CD led to our downfall. But dammit, Dammit is a great pop song. It did, however, run anathema to our Fugazi/At the Drive-In snogging sessions. I was not as cool as I appeared and not even concerned enough to hide it.
My biggest regret here came twenty years later. We stood side-by-side at a pedestrian crossing. Summoning the courage to say hello, it was a green man and we went our separate ways before I was ready. A real Dick move. How I had the courage at 17 and lacked it at 35, I’ll never know.
I take a fair portion of the blame in those instances, but I think a taste made me that much hungrier for love.

I was a lovelorn, maudlin asshole. In my defence, falling for the tortured romance of Rob and the hundreds of songwriters professing undying love and broken hearts as hobbies is bound to imbue something unhealthy in a seventeen year boy.

Spare a thought for the girls.

Imagine being asked out by a mulleted boy, who doesn’t just want to have some fun and possibly, maybe get lucky, but wants to fall in love and just be cuddled, possibly coddled, and told everything will be alright. That is a horrific psychic burden to place on a girl and for that I can only apologise.
They were well aware of it and it got to the point of being rejected for having asked so many girls out. My heart to hearts turned to I heart you in boozy red-tinted hazes and longing gazes until I declared it with ever decreasing chance of success. Repeat, repeat, repeat the cycle. (WHEN IS THIS GOING TO STOP??)

Using other’s poetry to sculpt myself and add to that I started writing lyrics of my own, which I cannot stomach to look at even now. Only people of a certain disposition think they will be alone for the rest of their life at age 17 and I was of that disposition.

It’s easy to see now that I was in love with the idea of love. I’m no longer afraid to admit High Fidelity is my favourite film. It’s clear it formed and shaped my young soul and I will never stop laughing at it. I can finally see that.



Scott Cumming enjoys reading too much to consider himself a proper writer. He resides in Aberdeen with his partner and two sons. Catch up with all his misdemeanours on Twitter @tummidge

Categories: Film

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Shawn Berman runs The Daily Drunk. You can follow him on Twitter @Sbb_writer.

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