Monday, 11 March 2013

Dear Josh Groban

To write this letter, I have resurrected an abandoned blog and twitter account as my real ones are used for professional purposes. This should indicate to some degree the lengths I have been driven to.

This is a heartfelt and passionate plea: Dear Josh Groban, please, develop a flaw. A serious one. If you could announce that your preferred hobby is mass puppy slaughter, that would do the trick.1

While this request may seem a little extreme, permit me to put it into perspective.

Many years ago (wow, 2008 according to your IMDB page) I was sat with my fiance watching Never Mind the Buzzcocks. I knew Grant and Heston, did not know the members of the other team. They were introduced as Josh and Martin and it was clear that the American, Josh, was there to be the butt of the show's humour. I confess, I enjoy that bit. Unfortunately, it seemed that this Josh chap wasn't informed of his intended doom, because instead of being all American he absolutely killed it. My partner and I were in an agony of laughter at moments and it was - still is - my favourite episode of Buzzcocks of all time.

Once it ended, we chatted about how amusing that American guy had been and I forgot all about it.

Fast forward to October 2011 and I'm now married and my husband and I are experiencing some troubles. I turned to Youtube. Sometimes for music and sometimes for clips from TV shows. My favourites were Whose Line is it Anyway (The Emir of Groovefunkistan, anyone?), QI (not sure if that's available in America) and, of course, Buzzcocks.

I remembered the hilarious episode with the American guy, but it turns out it's hard to find it by that description. Fortunately, I recalled that Simon rode out on Phil's shoulders and *that* can be found very easily. Rewatching, it turns out that other guy I didn't know was actually Martin Freeman - the Dr Watson of BBC's Sherlock. I was thrilled and settled down to watch the episode with more enjoyment than I had first time round. Unfortunately for Martin - and all other participants - once more the American guy stole the show.

This time, I had a few spare moments so afterwards I started listening to your music. Beautiful voice you've got there - it makes makes feel I'm being embraced by a lover on a cold winter's day (sort of like this, but with more emotional depth). I listened to a few songs, added your name to the list of people whose music I like and moved on, more or less unchanged.

However, about November/ December 2012, things started to get annoying. Due to the forthcoming release of your new album, I was flicking through your Youtube catalogue to see if I liked your new stuff. I came across an episode of Buzzcocks that you'd hosted and watched that. Then a Graham Norton interview (in my defence that also had David Tennant and Jon Richardson, so I did not feel stalkery at all). However, at this point - although I'd been immune to your singing and undeniable good looks - I started to like you. This is not common for me. I'd only ever liked one celebrity before (Johnny Depp - it was about 8 years ago) and at the height of my fanaticism I purchased his biography. Of the thousand+ books I have owned, that was one of two that I stopped reading2. I realised about 6 pages in just how creepy it is to know all this stuff about someone you're interested in but are never going to meet. So I put the book down and walked away.

With you, I stayed comfortably aloof until Youtube recommended your HSN concert thingy to me at the start of February. I listened, expecting a preview of the new album and nothing more. Instead of which, once more, I was surprised and intrigued by the personality that came through - not just in the singing, but in the brief discussion interludes. So, I added the new songs to my Youtube playlist (and bought the album, don't stress3) and that was fine. Then you came to England for something or other - promotional stuff? venue scoping? - and had several interviews/ tv appearances. I made a conscious effort to track down each and every one of these and watch them.4 Now I know there are many people in the world who would consider that "creepy", and others who would consider it "Tuesday". I don't want to say what I think, but as previously discussed, it's behaviour I'm not used to.

Worse, I found myself glancing over your Twitter account on a sufficiently regular basis that I discovered your UK tour dates before either of my Grobanite sisters.5 At this point I was worried. Seriously worried. I am damn near thirty, I should know better. So, in a brave and noble sacrifice, I decided the only solution was to make myself sick of you. Not your music, because that, although beautiful, was not enough to inspire fanaticism in me and frankly I'm not the kind of person who can stop liking music. Fortunately, there is a lovely person who has made great efforts to collect what I can only assume is every TV appearance you've had in America (and some in Canada) joshgrobancornerpub. I sat at work with a pile of database queries to complete, and put my headphones on, fully intending to be listening to anything other than you by the end of the day. How wrong I was. By the end of the second day I realised I had begun to pause the interviews when I had to leave my laptop, to ensure I didn't miss anything.

It's official. I have to admit it. I really don't want to, but apparently I have a crush on you.

Why is this a problem? Because I am single. The moment I start dating again, every guy is going to have to outperform everything I know about you. In reality everyone is flawed - my future boyfriend/ partner is going to be flawed and I am going to be exposed to those flaws. You, on the other hand, get an airbrushed public facade and it's just not realistic. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel fake either, so I can't use that as a mark against you.

So the onus is upon you to develop a flaw. A minor one is just not good enough - I've a lot of experience in adapting to minor flaws. It has to be a *serious* flaw. You can have some time to think about it as I am intending to be single throughout 2013 - my only permissible date will be New Year's Eve. So you have several months to come up with something, anything, that I can use as a talisman against everything I like about you.6

I anticipate the introduction of a less appealing Josh Groban with bated breath and in the meantime style myself as sincerely, albeit reluctantly, yours
Alicia

1I have no wish to incite puppy murder; I'm just saying if you already do it feel free to open up.
2The other was either the 6th or 7th book in Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon series. Well written, but harrowing. I don't count the Algebraist by Ian M Banks, as technically that book was solely my husband's
3I just want to be serious for long enough to say - I separated from my husband in June, so I had a few month's distance before hearing Happy in My Heartache. If you'd released it any sooner I'm not sure I could have listened to it without falling to pieces. It's beautiful and so incredibly real - you have a lot of courage to perform that. Which is sadly not a flaw.
4No Buzzcocks episodes made the cut, as far as I can tell. I appreciate you have time constraints, but I admit I was a little disappointed.
5They live in Merseyside, I'm in Gloucestershire, so they've arranged for my birthday present to be a visit up north including attending the Manchester concert together. You might want some extra security.
6That is your intelligence, sense of humour, geekiness, good nature, generosity of spirit, love of your family, decent vocabulary and apparent adherence to sensible grammar on Twitter.