Stephin Merritt stands about five feet tall, is besotted with Irving, his chihuahua (named for Irving Berlin), and is possessed of an impossibly evocative smoky bass voice that he somehow manages to hate. He only started singing after Susan Anway, his first vocalist, ran off to become a dental sculptor.

He wrote most of 69 Love Songs in the tiny gay bar less than two blocks from my former place of residence. "Blue You" could make a stone weep.

Also, his name is never, ever spelled Steven.