I've been listening to a lot of Neil Diamond lately, and marvelling over how a guy so uncool can be so cool. He's written some absolute shockers, and the black shirts: there's a Man In Black, and his name is John. But songs like Solitary Man and Cracklin' Rosie... it doesn't get much better than those.
The first time Vincent and I kissed (or more accurately, the first time I kissed Vincent), we were listening to Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon (the Urge Overkill version, which isn't as good as Neil's but it was the version he had on his iPod, and anyway we are obviously both fans of Tarantino). Before that, the first time we danced together was to a covers band at an Irish pub on St Patrick's Day playing Sweet Caroline. I remember very clearly yelling "Neil Diamond!" and grabbing Vincent's hand to drag him to the front of the stage. We have a lot of fun going over how we found each other. I accuse him of nearly ruining my life by not making his feelings clear enough (I've never been good at picking when boys like me; my sister is the same, with occasionally disastrous consequences), and he points out how he tried and how he was constrained, and we come to the agreed conclusion that although I took action, he put in preparatory work; in short, he flicked his hair, and I made my move.
I really like that Neil is part of our story. He's not someone who's ever mentioned as any kind of influence, and he'll never have the kind of revival among young people that other artists have. And that makes his music even more genuine to me; it belongs to us and his other (mostly old) fans, who don't love his music because it's cool or because he's an icon but because it's great, and he's a legend.