His new house overlooked almost an acre of land, right in the middle of the city. And he bought it for peanuts, compared to some of the SUV Yuppie folks who were paying twice as much for the same square footage. They paid that price because it was in a "better neighborhood" and provided them with social contacts. Contacts which he had quit concerning himself with so long ago. They all drove their perfect little kids to the perfect little private school while talking on the smallest cell phones available on the market. He was always amazed that, as they sat in that long line of traffic to pick up their perfect kids each day, they left their engines running on those monster Cadillac and Lincoln beasts while they chatted away on those damned phones. It could be a perfect fall day, around 64 degrees with a breeze of wonderment and a smell of cleanliness in the air; and they would be sitting in that line for over half an hour with the windows rolled up and the A/C running and talking on that fucking phone. Just another reason why they hate us.

He'd told his wife, the last time they moved, that she might as well dig a hole in the back yard, because he would never move again. But here he was; again. Boxing all the accrued crap up. Getting excited about the new location. Even though it was only one solid mile from where he was living now. He'd moved so many times that he now knew that it did not matter if you moved one mile or one thousand miles. As they say, no matter how far the plane travels, when it lands, it's still going to be you getting off.

So he had gone through the meetings with the Real Estate lady. He actually liked her a lot. Maybe too much. She was nearing 50 but she was beautiful. He had predicted, over ten years ago, that women would replace all the salespeople in his business just as they had taken over the Real Estate business. But it hadn't happened. At least, not yet. Who could explain why? Was it because women were the known experts over the home while men were the known experts over the money? He supposed that was it. And he didn't care if it hair lipped the Pope to say it out loud. If they were good at it, let the ladies make the money. He wanted everyone to make more money if they wanted it and made it honestly.

He broke all the rules when he bought this new house. He called the folks selling the house, after doing some film noir investigative work to find their names. They, too, had moved just down the road. The husband was a structural engineer and the wife was a mother of many children. They needed a bigger home for the grandkids. When he called, the engineer’s wife answered the phone and he could hear a piano in the background. Someone was playing a Cole Porter song, and playing it quite well. It was the sixtyish engineer. When the engineer got to the phone, he said, "I hope you don't mind me calling you, but I had some questions." The sixtyish engineer was happy to have the call and they became friends. The engineer said, "Hell, I can tell you more about that house than any Real Estate agent will ever be able to tell you." He liked this guy. A lot.

The engineer said he'd be glad to meet him at the house and tell him whatever he wanted to know. So a time was set, after the contract was agreed upon. He had offered the engineer a few grand less than the selling price, and was concerned that it would piss him off. Have you ever noticed how money changes everything? It can happen to the best of relationships. But the engineer was happy to have the deal settled and was happy to bring his wife with him when the buyer brought his wife to the empty house.

Tales were told of the wildlife in the back yard. There was the story of the red fox who lives back there, and the skunks and the coons and the deer who would wander around in that wide-eyed way that deer are known to do. He was looking forward to days in the future, sitting up on that high, high deck and watching this alleged wildlife. When it was really his house. When he and his wife would move in and it would be complete. It was her idea, after all, and he was doing this to please her more than anything else.

He had gotten a /msg from a user recently asking, "How do you really make a marriage work?" He thought of this as a good example. Not moving would have been easier. But it would make his wife happy to move, and she'd been as nice as the day they met ever since it came up and they had found this house. It’s funny how old married couples can go for weeks hardly touching each other, and then fall in love all over again. (You should remember that when you start thinking about divorce.)

At first, they were looking at much more expensive, newer homes, in those richer neighborhoods. But close inspection showed that they were built like crap. It was hard to say where the cutoff was; but it seemed as if houses built before 1990 were built much better than those afterwards. You want to know a quick way to tell if a house is built like crap? Look up in the attic and see what sort of wood is used underneath the roof. If it's treated lumber, you're good to go. If it's plywood, you're not in too much danger. If it's particle board, walk away. Contractors have become too removed from the homeowner. You should have one guy who is in charge of building your house and you should be able to trust him. Dealing with strangers will get you reamed more often than not.

So he was glad that the previous owner was not a stranger now and that he was an engineer who actually understood structure and workmanship. He asked the engineer if he thought a hot tub would be possible on the deck outside the master bedroom on the top level. The engineer was honest and said, "Not without some extra support. You'd be better off to build a deck on the lower level and put it there." He was growing to really love this old guy and to also love the thought of living in the home he and his wife has cared for all those years.


Sometimes life is funny.
You think you're in your darkest hour
When the lights are coming on in the House of Love.


Now it’s a few weeks later and he’s all moved in. Last night he opened the door to his downstairs office (where he spends more time on this web site than he does working; just like in the old house) and there they were. Two huge deer. Standing there in his new back yard. Looking at him as if he were the intruder.

Someone told him the best way to keep the deer away, if they are ruining your landscaping or your garden, is to piss in the spot where you last saw them.

He does not see a problem complying with this directive.

Lyrics by Amy Grant from her duet with Vince Gill.
This is a wonderful love song if you’ve not heard it.

Formed in 1986, The House of Love were pre-britpop britpop, shiny guitars and big choruses, and aching acoustic ballads. Critically acclaimed, but for the most part ignored by a record buying public that had taken The Smiths into the Top 10, but at the same time had taken Chris de Burgh to number 1.

The band were signed to Creation Records in 1987, after the label's owner, Alan McGee, was finally persuaded to watch a few gigs. The debut release was the single Shine On, and, in what was to become the story of the band, the reviews were good but the sales weren't. Follow-up single Real Animal shifted almost no units at all, despite receiving some good airplay.

The eponymous debut album arrived shortly after, and for a while The House of Love were pitched firmly as the next big thing, with success across Europe, and big-money offers from major labels. The band signed to Fontana, and were quickly ushered back into the recording studio to record a new single (presumably so the label could start making back some of the 400,000 pounds reputedly shelled out to sign the band). 'Never' duly appeared, and duly missed the singles charts.

The unhappy departure of guitarist Terry Bickers - the tour bus dropped him off at a train station, and he was gone for good - seemed a minor blip, when a new version of Shine On made the Top 40, and was followed by the well-received second album, usually referred to as "Fontana" (after the record label), or "The butterfly album(after the cover artwork). It sold well, as did the next single, the tenderly fragile acoustic "The Beatles and the Stones", charting lead singer Guy Chadwick's relationship with the bands, and his formative years ("The Beatles and the Stones / made it good to be alone").

The music press were keen. But somewhere along the line, articles about the music changed into articles about the band's hedonistic lifestyle. Drugs and money were both reputedly being burnt backstage, and the band started to slip from the limelight. A compilation of previously unreleased material appeared, but by 1992, when fourth album, "Babe Rainbow" was released, madchester had hit full swing, everyone wanted a piece of The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Blur et al. The album hit the usual glowing reviews but gained almost universal apathy, and barely dented the Top 40 before shuffling off to become one of pop's great lost albums. Despite the melancholic splendour of "The girl with the loneliest eyes", the anthemic "Feel", and the collapsing beauty of "Yer eyes", no-one cared any more.

A final studio album, "Audience with the mind" (recorded in a lightning-fast 12 days), followed, and sold about 4 copies. It was to be an anticlimactic end for a band that had once been touted as the new U2.

Guy Chadwick went on to form The Madonnas, a band that released precisely no albums or singles (although they did play live at least once, supporting The Cranberries in Manchester), before embarking on a solo career, with the release of "Lazy, soft and slow", a down-tempo collection of love-adorned ballads variously described as "sleep-inducingly samey" (Uncut, March 1998), or "Masterfully understated stuff from a much missed and quietly inspirational maverick" (MOJO, March 1998).

Band members:


There's a scarcity of House of Love sources out there. However, facts (other than those I already knew) taken in the main from http://hem.passagen.se/nyholm/holindex.html. Subjectivity is of my own making. Chart details refer to UK charts.

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