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I know. It’s Friday. But I was just thinking about someone last night, someone from my not too distant past, someone who caused me a great deal of emotional anguish. I only recently pulled myself out of a severe depression that, while it had been steadily getting better as time went on, didn’t really go into remission until I stepped into the sunlight at SXSW last month, saw loads of friends, and realised I didn’t need him anymore in my life. The chapter’s closed now. But there was a time, not so long ago, when just seeing a picture of him or hearing his voice somewhere reminded me of how much I loved him and I hated myself so much, all I wanted to do was to crawl in a hole and die if I couldn’t be with him.

I fell in love with this song by Pete and the Pirates in early 2011 upon hearing it on Lammo’s radio show. But it wasn’t until November of that year when I finally nabbed the album ‘One Thousand Pictures’ physically, on sale in a London HMV. Totally last minute, I saw a gig listing that the band would be playing in Islington at the Buffalo Bar, at a special birthday night of the venue, and I decided I should go along and see them. I managed to get one of the last tickets in, and it was probably one of the best ways I’ve ever spent £10. While I’m not happy the poster I got from the show got wrecked in my checked suitcase (I’m an idiot, I should have put it safe in a folder in my hand luggage…it’s probably worth something now that they don’t exist anymore), I am so glad that I got to see them before they split.

Three of their members have now gone on to form Teleman, but it’s this song that will always live in my heart. I can’t even begin to count how many tears I shed listening to it. And why? Read the lyrics first, and I’ll explain…

Title: ‘Half Moon Street’
Where to find it: ‘One Thousand Pictures’ (2011)
Performed by: Pete and the Pirates (RIP)
Words by: presumably Tommy Sanders

First, the words:

Come and meet me tomorrow
Come with all your silver and your gold
Egyptian night lady
You don’t seem like you do what you’ve been told
And why won’t you speak now
Tying string between tin cans and pulling them tight
Well I’m only asking
Did the cat get your tongue when you slept last night
From here to my window
There are cracks in the walls that I can’t mend
I’ll meet you on Half Moon Street
With someone else’s money that we can spend

My thoughts are tearing each other apart
In the back of the car
Conversation’s probably gone too far
You keep me guessing
Tongue tied and messy
Don’t make me feel stupid
I’ll do that on my own

Put the key in and just start believing
That you’re going to hell if you have fun this evening
Come to me telling me all kinds of secrets
Promises promised I think I can keep it

I’ve seen photos of you
I know we’ve got nothing in common now
Just our shared love of drinking
But you won’t take a life and that’s not me
I’ll meet you on Half Moon Street
I’ll be watching your mouth move when you talk
And all of those noises
Well they really mean nothing to me at all

My thoughts are tearing each other apart
In the back of the car
Conversation’s probably gone too far
You keep me guessing
Tongue tied and messy
Don’t make me feel stupid
I’ll do that on my own

Put the key in and just start believing
That you’re going to hell if you have fun this evening
Come to me telling me all me kinds of secrets
Promises promised I think I can keep it

Come and meet me tomorrow
Come with all your silver and your gold
And all of your money
It really means nothing to me at all
I’ll meet you on Half Moon Street
I’ll be watching your mouth move when you talk
And oh it’s just noises
They really mean nothing to me at all.

My thoughts are tearing each other apart
In the back of the car
Conversation’s probably gone too far
You keep me guessing
Tongue tied and messy
Don’t make me feel stupid
I’ll do that on my own

Put the key in and just start believing
That you’re going to hell if you have fun this evening
Come to me telling me all kinds of secrets
Promises promised I think I can keep it

Now, the analysis:

Not exactly of course, but this song mirrored one of my own relationships. There was a man that I trusted to the ends of the earth, and I had gone for months thinking he felt the same way about me. Well, as you can probably predict, things didn’t end well. Even after I found out that what I wanted wasn’t what he wanted, he still would come to me and confide in me (“Come to me telling me all me kinds of secrets / Promises promised I think I can keep it”) and in a way, even though maybe he didn’t mean to, he kept stringing me along, making me think that I meant more to him in his life than he actually was really willing to commit to. I kept thinking, “one day he’ll realise that it’s me, not that other woman…I’m the one he’s meant to be with”. Let me tell you, that’s a hopeless romantic talking. You don’t get anywhere with hopeless romanticism…

We had a conversation one night in a confined space in a bar (“My thoughts are tearing each other apart / In the back of the car / Conversation’s probably gone too far / You keep me guessing / Tongue tied and messy”) where he sat so close to me, I thought I might die. I hated the fact that we were sitting like this and I wanted him so badly to kiss me, to do something to show me he loved me. He talked to me in the same way he talked to me the day we first met. I was crying inside; it reminded me of why I had fallen in love with him in the first place. When I went home that night, alone and so sad, I was more confused about what was going on between us than I had been when I had first stepped into that bar.

I finally broke things off with him earlier this year; I had waited over 2 years for his promise of “let’s still be friends” to really come true; I had still cared for him as a friend, even if he didn’t treat me as well in return, and I had just really hoped that one day he would come around. When I learned some things about him entirely accidentally from one of our mutual friends, I removed him from all my social networks, never to talk to him again. We never spoke of it, but I think it was assumed by both of us that what went on was to be kept private. At first I thought this way because I was too embarrassed by what had happened, and it was one of those “what would the neighbors say?” kind of cases. But then later, more recently, I came to the mature decision that I had nothing to be ashamed of (you like who you like, right?), and if he couldn’t care enough to be my friend, then it wasn’t worth my time or effort to try and keep this “friendship” (notice I put that in quotes?) alive.

In that way, this song ‘Half Moon Street’ has a similar premise. You can tell the protagonist is hanging on to a relationship that doesn’t exist the way he wants to anymore. He’s asking this woman to come down to this place so they can spend time together, but he acknowledges, “I’ll meet you on Half Moon Street / I’ll be watching your mouth move when you talk / and all of those noises / well they really mean nothing to me at all” – their lives are so different now, even if they were in the same space and she was talking to him, they don’t mean anything anymore to each other. “Come and meet me tomorrow / Come with all your silver and your gold”, she has all this money, and he has none; they’re in entirely different stations of life.

The lines that hurt me so badly and touched me so strongly are “don’t make me feel stupid / I’ll do that on my own”. Anyone who has been in a relationship, thinking everything’s wine and roses, only to find out your lover has cheated or deceived you, feels like a fool. I recall standing alone in the middle of a street in Manchester, on a very late night, feeling cold, and what was I doing? Crying, thinking about this song, thinking about how messed up I was inside, feeling how stupid I was that I’d not been able to protect my heart.

Not as cutting but equally painful are “I’ve seen photos of you / I know we’ve got nothing in common now”: someone once dear no longer is a part of your life. I used to be quite fatalistic, coming up the lyric “I don’t mean anything to him anymore” one night when I was back home, riding down an escalator to the Metro and feeling that same coldness. For professional reasons, I still see photos of this man. This man who for months haunted my dreams because I loved him so much and it killed me that even though I would have given anything to be with him – I had planned on giving up everything that I knew to make a new life with him – he just didn’t love me enough and in that way. “From here to my window / There are cracks in the walls that I can’t mend”: sometimes, relationships are irreparably broken. You can’t fix them. And when you come across a situation like that, like every single good-meaning friend told me, “you just need time to heal”. And leave it be. For me, the time I needed was nearly 2 and a half years. But I’m still alive.

Note: apparently there are two films with ‘Half Moon Street’ in the title and I haven’t bothered to see if the songs have anything to do with the lyrics. Of course, it’s a possibility for me, there is no other explanation as to why it struck a chord so deeply with me besides personal experience.

Lastly, the promo video for the song. I think it’s a waste visually of an almost perfect song; why couldn’t it have a better storyline?

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