special disco mention #18:valentine’s day


Happy Valentines Day! The day when blushing lovers send covert cards, where married couples drag up their weary bones to pretend the spark’s still there, the day when lonely singletons go and hang around bridges and the ledges of tall buildings clutching on to the vein hope that the post has been delayed, that the deluge of cards will tumble through the door tomorrow. What a wonderful thing! 

Where does it come from, this tradition? Received wisdom suggests Valentine’s day’s current connotations derive from Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Parliament of Foules’, where Valentine’s Day was fictitiously depicted as being linked to romantic love. Anyone that’s read anything by Chaucer will be aware that every day could be linked to ‘romantic love’ , or more specifically – filthy minded lust. It was all over everything the man ever wrote – he was a sex fiend.

Others believe it was eighteenth century antiquarians Alban Butler and Francis Douce – who tried to drum up the myth of St Valentine to overwrite the ancient festival of Lupercalia which falls on the same date and, rather than focus on red roses and a bit of nookie, revolves around the sacrificing of goats and dogs and eating salty cakes prepared by vestal virgins – I’d like to see that as a decorative theme in the local Yates wine lodge.

The original St Valentinus was a third century Roman saint, but little exists to suggest he had anything to do with love – he was apparently beheaded after refusing to denounce his faith at the Flaminian Gate, which could be linked to the fate of the men who fail to make the requisite effort on Valentine’s Day in it’s current form, but it’s a stretch. 

Whatever the heritage of Valentine’s Day, it’s a firm fixture nowadays and failing to adhere to it’s perculiar traditions is tantamount to denouncing love – gentleman, today is not the day to rally against the capitalism of the card companies, just tow the fucking line if you’ve any sense whatsoever. So, buckle up, knuckle down: if you’re in a relationship hide the deluge of cards from those secret admirers; if you’re single go out and drink shots of strong liquor until you’ve derived enough courage to go and hump that strangers leg across the bar. It’s Valentine’s day and nobody’s safe. We’re raising a glass of very expensive bubbly (that we definitely can’t afford) to all lovers in the world. We’re playing the game. Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a lovers classic to get you in the mood….