How did a day dedicated to the celebration of love become so hated? Granted – after running the annual marathon of rubbish rom-com movie releases and love-saturated radio repeats, it can be pretty tiring to arrive at the 14th of February only to discover that you’re expected to think about love again. Even Cupid couldn’t cure that lack of love-sickness.
But don’t worry! This Saint Valentine’s, I’ve shied away from the unrealistic onscreen lovers and their soppy soundtracks to instead present you with a list of lovely treasures to liven up your Love Day. With this also being the very first post in the new A Compilation series, dedicated to sharing a list of books/films/music/whatnots surrounding a certain theme, what’s not to love?
*Tips fedora and tucks rose behind ear* Read on, mon amour, read on…
The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir. Wes Anderson, 2014)
The love between Agatha and Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel has got to be the most comical, lopsided romance presented in an Anderson movie. Furthermore, when they’re played by Saisoire Ronan and Tony Revolori in the 2014 movie about an art-heist, what’s not to fall for?
When Harry Met Sally (dir. Rob Reiner, 1989)
Ugh, a rom-com. I get you. I’m with you. But, and this is my honest opinion, no film has so successfully raised the bar for its genre more than When Harry Met Sally. This film follows two characters (whose names I 100% bet you can’t guess) as their friendship develops into love. As we watch them, we discover that love is not necessarily at first sight, and can even take years to grow – but when it does, it flourishes.
‘Sorcery’ by Jessica Hagedorn
“[they’re] trying to look / ordinary / but they so fine”
Ever fallen for a face so enchanting that you’re convinced you’re the victim of next-level witchcraft? You, I and Jessica Hagedorn are definitely sinking in the same boat then, my loves.
‘Husky Boys’ Dickies’ by Jill McDonough
“I ask them to think of voices / they love, the voice of someone they love. It’s hard to describe a voice, but / I ask them each to try”
Embracing modern, technological love is still uncommon, but McDonough explores the way it infuses with you, infecting how you think, their voice echoing in between your ears. It also references the works of Greek poetess Sappho:
“Love shook my heart / Like the wind on the mountain / rushing over the oak trees.”
Sappho’s Poems by Sappho
Sappho’s Fragments are a series of poems by the bisexual ancient Greek poetry goddess Sappho. Her poetry was so sophisticated and passionate the Church tried to get rid of it – which, if you think of it, is like when books go on the school banned books list: it’s obviously a masterpiece and must be read immediately.
Valentine’s Day – David Bowie
Influenced by the Valentine’s Day shooting of 2008 and with strong anti-gun sentiments, our late-lover David Bowie sings about a loveless boy named Valentine performing a school massacre on his namesake day. This was almost a prophecy to Elliot Rodgers’ shooting, although it was released over a year prior his violent; misogynist attack.
Happy Valentine’s Day – Outkast
Written from Cupid Valentino’s perspective (ie André 3000 alter-ego) and joined by musical muses, Cupid singing “happy Valentines, fuck that Valentine’s day” near the end couldn’t relate to us any better. (Tryna find a way to relate “keep on runnin’ player, cos I got my good shoes on” to my marathon metaphor at the start is too much effort).
Why Do We Love?
“Why do we love?” – it’s a good question, isn’t it? Our favourite educators, ie the folks at Ted-Ed, enlist the help of famous philosophers to answer a question that has fascinated dozens of generations before us, and will continue to do so after we’re gone.
How the Heart Became ♥
Gotta ♥ the ♥ symbol, right? Being the most versatile symbol in the world takes time, but how and why did the heart become universally represented as ♥? Vox explores the historical and cultural roots giving this symbol life – even though it looks nothing like the organ keeping us alive.
What is Love?
What is love? Those of you inclined to say “baby, don’t hurt me” may not be far off the mark, as Ted-Ed dives into the emotional – as well as neurological, cultural, evolutionary, possibly theoretical and definitely haywire thing that we call love.
The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship
Desire and long-term relationships are two things far from the average teen mind, but this insightful Ted Talk by Esther Perel made me question and understand the effect of self-esteem, time apart and confidence on love, sex and desire. Perel yet again perfectly debunks the myth that the need for spontaneity makes long-term love and desire mutually exclusive events, whilst keeping her talk humorous and light-hearted. Quote: “if a person is dead inside, you can do a lot of things for Valentine’s [and] it won’t make a dent – there is nobody at the reception desk!”
A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson’s debut novel is a spiritual self-love book designed to connect women to the true loves of their lives: themselves. Quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
John Green’s well-written novel turned coming-of-age film depicts the love between two teens with cancer. Aside from breaking me into tears at the “lit up like a Christmas tree” bit (I abandoned the book for nearly a week just so the pain could subside), it’s quote-worthy text caused it to become the inspiration for a DIY plaque hung on my wall.
Young love has always been considered frivolous and phony in a world where teenage love is extremely, horribly, pathetically fetishised. Green, however, entangles us so perfectly into the web of their romantic tale that you can’t help but share their love – and the pain that comes with it. ℘