Not that it's relevant to anyone apart from myself (and one or two others), but I got married three months ago. In doing so I drew a line under the last decade - the noughties - put a lot of baggage in the dumpster, and so on and so forth.
As I was dressing on the morning of the wedding, my daughter plugged her iPod in and started playing tunes as we zipped around the house, collecting things, fixing hair and straightening ties. We'd taken a guest cottage not far from the wedding venue, a house overlooking a green Irish field that slopes down the ocean.
At one point I became dimly aware of a gentle melody and of an insistent lyric. I stopped what I was doing and sat down to listen to this song. It was perfect. In every way. The lyrical Mancunian accent, the rolling strings, the stop-start rhythm, the rousing fade-out.
"What made me behave that way?/Using words I never say/I can only think it must be love/
Oh, anyway, it's looking like a beautiful day."
It's a love song, a song about growing old together, but one without illusions; a song that starts, most likely, with a drunken one-night stand and ends with a slow sunburst of awareness. One that makes the quantum leap from here to eternity in one simple verse:
"When my face is chamois-creased/If you think I'll wink, I did/Laugh politely at repeats/Yeah, kiss me when my lips are thin."
As the wedding day unfurled I found myself humming this song from time to time; it summed up the best day of my life, it offered a glimpse into the future, and restored all the childish optimism that years of rough-edged experience scrapes away.
"Throw those curtains wide/One day like this a year'd see me right."
Not surprisingly it's become one of my very favourite SongsWithoutWhich, but for more or less the same reasons as every other one on the list.
The original video is superb - watch it here,
or enjoy these versions; they're both excellent: