Guilty pleasures, then. We've all got them, and we shouldn't really be ashamed of the things that we love, but aren't supposed to love because they are in some way seen as second-rate, naff or overly populist. Some guilty pleasures - I'm thinking of Coldplay here - are quite rightly shameful, and those of us who have them know, deep down, that we deserve the opprobrium we would get from our peers if we were outed. Others - I'm thinking of episodes of 'On The Buses', or Hold Me Close by David Essex, or 'North Sea Hijack' starring Roger Moore - certainly aren't, and are something we should be proud of, nay flaunt, declaring: "Yes, so I like this, and what of it? You should love it too, my friend. And I'm not ashamed! I'm not scared! I will take all the ridicule you have to offer me, because the love I have is stronger than all the hate you could ever offer me! So there!!"
I've always tried to be as honest with you as I can about mine, so that we both know where we stand. I don't want you turning around in tears with that fraught-confused look on your face, asking me why I didn't let you know about these things sooner. So here it is.
Yes. Charles and Eddie's Would I Lie to You? is, in my opinion, genius. If you watched MTV in the early 90s, you knew every single word of this. You knew the video. You watched these two sugarlumps earnestly mugging to camera about the pain they were going through, having presumably both had to report to a disgruntled partner. You knew it all. And you knew it all because it was fucking brilliant.
Don't argue with me. Oh, don't you try now. I will hurt you. This song is spectacular. It has a soaring, rising, joyful almost gospel quality to it, even though the content is about some kind of banal relationship breakdown - but therein lies the fun, for me. It's so magnificently over the top, and the two geezers singing it (one of them, Charles or Eddie, is dead now, by the way; but seeing as I never knew who was who in the first place, I can't really help you any more than that) are so sincere in their performance that you can't help but be moved by the whole thing. Would I lie to you? Well would I?
And here's where the revisionist me steps in, because when you look at the lyrics and the song, there's something else going on as well - something I never really noticed all those years ago, when I was but a long-haired hormonal teenager who was trying to get into 'proper bands' and felt rather conflicted by his love of Charles & Eddie. This song is about a bluff. He is lying, the blighter! And it's made quite obvious.
Look into my eyes
Can't you see they're open wide?
Would I lie to you baby?
Would I lie to you...? Ooh yeah!
It was there all along! Crystal clear really. Charles (or it might be Eddie) is saying he wouldn't lie - not even that though; he's cleverly manipulating his suspicious partner's feelings by pointing out how much he cares and asking them to decide whether he could possibly have done such a thing - and his mate chips in with "Oooh yeah!" because you can be pretty sure they've shared a beer and he's told him all about all the scrapes he's been getting into.
Looking back, it seems quite clear, though it didn't at the time. The seriousness of that performance is suddenly put into focus. No wonder he was going so over the top; it was his only way of getting out of it!
Everybody wants to know the truth
In my arms is the only proof
"Forget what all those people are saying about what I was getting up to down the Feathers the other night - just trust me!" It's quite manipulative really, but you have to have a sneaky admiration for the old rascal. What we never know - what we may never know - is whether he got away with it in the end. Did the bluff pay off?
Funny thing is, I never really noticed that subtext when I was younger - I just took it at face value. Here was some bloke asking to be trusted. Just goes to show how you get more cynical as you get older, doesn't it?