This week’s choice is the song “In Pursuit of Happiness” by The Divine Comedy and it marks a significant positive change in my personal happiness.
Cause when you’re with me I can’t help but beNeil Hannon (1970—)
Poem 295. In Pursuit of Happiness
Hey, I’m not the type
To say one thing and do another
And if it’s all right I’d kind
Of like to be your lover
Cause when you’re with me I can’t help but be
And hey, I’m not the kind
To fall in love without good reason
And if that’s a crime
Then baby I’m committing high treason
Cause when you’re with me
Quite uncontrollably happy!
And hey, I’m not so blind
That I can’t see where we’re all going
And it’s no fault of mine
If humankind reaps what it’s sowing
Just as long as we are together
I’ll never be anything other than happy!
Hey, don’t be surprised, if millions die in plague and murder
True happiness lies beyond your fries and happy burger
This song was written by Neil Hannon for the 1997 Divine Comedy album “A Short Album About Love” and it simply describes the sensation of happiness that comes from loving someone.
The first verse introduces our lover, a straightforward person who’s “not the type/To say one thing and do another”—for all their directness, they seem diffident: “And if it’s alright I’d kind/Of like to be your lover” suggests a lack of self-confidence or disbelief that the other might find them attractive, but the last lines admit the ecstatic feeling of happiness that being with them brings our lover.
The second verse builds on this: we see that the lover is normally a rational person “I’m not the kind/To fall in love without good reason” but now that they have been smitten, they are totally committed to the relationship: “And if that’s a crime/Then baby I’m committing high treason”—as the saying goes, you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. The last lines echo those of the first verse as a justification for anything the lover does.
In the third verse our lover recognises worldly troubles “I’m not so blind/That I can’t see where we’re all going” but dismisses them so long as they do not impinge on the lovers: “it’s no fault of mine/If humankind reaps what it’s sowing/Just as long as we are together”.
The coda intensifies the sentiment of the third verse: “don’t be surprised, if millions die in plague and murder” and underlines the message that “True happiness lies beyond your fries and happy burger”—mere consumption of food (and by extension other resources) is not the path to happiness.
The song was chosen for the soundtrack of the film “Shooting Fish” and its lyrics seem to me to reflect the love story between Jez and Georgie.
I like it because it reminds me of the film where I first came across it and discovered The Divine Comedy’s music for myself, and because it makes me think of the happiness that love brings, and because I myself am very happy at present.