First thing to say about The Cure: I’m not really a fan.
This is at the very least somewhat surprising, and in some quarters would be considered scandalous.
I’m OK with that.
I’m not saying I don’t like The Cure. Just that I don’t love The Cure. Not like some folks do, and not like some folks might assume I do.
I love Wish, though, and the two live albums - Show and Paris - they put out a year later in 1993. I like pretty much everything on Greatest Hits from 2001, which is, I know, another embarrassing Partridgean admission, but in my defence, I did at least buy the 2CD version with acoustic versions of all the songs on disc 2. Acoustic versions on a disc I have listened to, ahem, maybe once.
The problem is that The Cure are everywhere and all around me: unavoidable. There are many Facebook groups dedicated to just The Cure, where fans can post their favourite song by The Cure that everyone else in the group of fans of The Cure inevitably also likes, just so they can get a big pile of thumbs all pointing up in love and appreciation of a song by The Cure they listened to fifty times yesterday. There are even groups that are to all intents and purposes dedicated to The Cure even though they pretend to be for fans of, to pick but one example, all 80s new wave. There are fan clubs, and there ought to be enough to contain the love of The Cure, but no, apparently not. Fans of The Cure have so much to share, so much to tell that they spill over and into other groups and they can’t help themselves from posting about The Cure in those groups, too, until I just wish I was allowed to veto all posts about one group, so I could just get some peace from The Cure for one day, one hour; oh, sometimes it feels like any length of time would be sweet respite.
Like I said, though: no hate. Wish is a constant nostalgia-inducing treat, one that I bought first on cassette, then on CD, and played repeatedly and continually, never quite able to get enough of its dark spirit, the black light of its dream-grunge and the sheer pop joy of songs like Doing the Unstuck and ‘Friday I’m in Love’. Almost, but not quite, tipping into the parody of the happy goth, these songs mix gladly with long, slow-burners like Apart and To Wish Impossible Things, themselves the calm to counter the wild passions of Cut and From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea. They even get away with Elise.
It’s just that for whatever reason I have never felt compelled to check out Disintegration or Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, or countless others, and that’s even though I know it makes me very Alan Partridge (I have Greatest Hits, surely I have, literally, their greatest songs already?).
I remember for years when I had time enough to spend in record stores but not money enough to make the trip worthwhile I would cruise the same aisles time after time, flipping the same CD cases, or with a single finger rotate the same cassette carousels looking at the same albums that neither I nor any other customers had quite brought themselves to purchase. I would smile at seeing albums I already owned, congratulating myself on having acquired such a high quality collection. I would look, repeatedly, at albums I didn’t yet own, and wonder. Should I? Not this time, perhaps, but if I come back with enough money…
One of the albums I would always be drawn to - one of the lost albums of my life - was Standing On The Beach - The Singles (a.k.a Staring At The Sea - The Singles). It was always unfavourably priced, though, in the way that back catalogue albums so often were back then. Well, it’s taking up space, might as well get a good return for it on the off-chance we do actually sell it…
I’m sure my CD collection would be home to many more albums by The Cure if I’d only taken the plunge on Standing On The Beach. Perhaps, as with R.E.M., it would have marked the start of a great splurge, a keen desire to hear everything. Instead, I put it back each time, waited, and bought Greatest Hits instead. Then, assuming arrogantly that I knew what to expect from albums past, or through not having the time to explore, I left the back catalogue alone, and I’m not sure even after getting this out of my system whether that will ever change.