Don't be alarmed.
I know we've talked about This American Life here before. Not to harp but it really is incredible storytelling. Each weekly podcast is, without fail, an engaging listen but every now and then an episode shines through and touches your heart, makes you laugh uncontrollably or leaves you pondering for the rest of the week.
The latest podcast* not only did all of that but combined all of Blogley's favourite themes:
Music; Love; Ira Glass; and The Magnetic Fields. Had I been drinking a chocolate milkshake at the same time, my heart may well have exploded.
The theme for the episode was "Break Up". All four stories were wonderful but the main story by Starlee Kline was about how, when her boyfriend broke up with her, she found so much comfort in sad love songs that she decided to go write one. She had no musical skills or experience so she got in contact with the maestro of Heartbreak Pop - Mr Phil Collins, himself.
This story is pure delight. Collins is disarmingly honest about his heartbreak and failure in love (he had just finalised a divorce at the time she contacted him) and supportive of Starlee's efforts. One of the highlights was discovering that Michael Bolton is to Phil Collins what Phil Collins is to most of humanity: cheesy and overblown. Michael Bolton is Phil Collins' Phil Collins!
Collins had been the drummer in Genesis and had never gone out on his own. When his first wife left him he was so devastated, it drove him to write the breakthrough album that made him one of the most wealthy and famous pop stars in the world. He jokes that he only wrote it because he thought when she heard it she would take him back. And even now, when asked if he had to choose, he would still take the relationship over anything else.
Aw Phil. You charmer.
But maybe he's right: we all do have that one person you never quite shake. Maybe you have a few. Either way... there is no song you can write, no book you can publish, no film you can make, no artwork you can craft, that can ever make them want you back. Not even if you're Phil Collins.
The most we can hope for is that in the act of creating we get so caught up in the process that we eventually forget why we were making it in the first place.
I have nothing against Phil Collins. I don't care that he destroyed Genesis as I never listened to them. That said, I would never buy an album. The most I can offer in support of Phil is that when "In the Air" comes on the Nanna FM station I tune into in the car, I don't switch stations. However, I can't bring myself to upload a Phil Collins music clip. It would be condoning him and therefore a recent Phil Collins tribute album disguised as a Bruce Hornsby tribute album that the indie music press is shamelessly fawning over. I know you know what I am talking about.
But I can offer this:
I can't watch this without crying with laughter. I have no idea how an ad creative even conceived of this let alone got it past the Hadrian's Wall that is agency and client politics. It is a feat of advertising.
* I did some follow-up research and it seems this story originally aired in 2007. Starlee Kline, if a random google search ever leads you here, your story was poignant and charming. I hope your song achieved everything you wanted from it and your broken heart has healed.
In unrelated news, my research led me to discover that Ira Glass is twenty years older than me! In my mind everyone, no matter how accomplished, is probably 32 years old (in fact, especially if they are accomplished. I blame John Ottman for my warped perspective on achievement/age. He edited The Usual Suspects at 26. When I found that out - at 27- I realised it was all over for me.) Digression. The point is, Ira, I love your work. And your spectacles.