Quotes from High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby: The Omnibus

209 – … unhappiness really meant something back then. Now it’s just a drag, like a cold or having no money.

211 – … sex, the filthiest and most terrifying invention of the early seventies.

213 – Then, however, I wasn’t interested in qualities, just breasts, and she was therefore no good to me.

215 – Between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four, foreplay changes from being something that boys want to do and girls don’t, to something that women want and men can’t be bothered with… The perfect match, if you ask me, is between the Cosmo woman and the fourteen-year-old boy.

222 – I was depressed by the lack of flamboyance in my wardrobe.

223 – What came first, the music or the misery? Did I listen to music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person?

223 – The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don’t know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they’ve been listening to the sad songs longer than they’ve been living the unhappy lives.

226 – … if I do OK with women it’s not because of the virtues I have, but because of the shadows I don’t have.

231 – … my return to the Kingdom of the Single…

246 – There are a lot of single men here – not single as in unmarried, but single as in no friends.

247 – … sentimental music has this great way of taking you back to somewhere at the same time that it takes you forward, so you feel nostalgic and hopeful all at the same time.

254 – … my friends don’t seem to be friends at all but people whose phone numbers I haven’t lost.

255 – ‘Have you got any soul?’ a woman asks the next afternoon. That depends, I feel like saying; some days yes, some days no… I simply point to where I keep the soul I have, right by the exit, just next to the blues.

263 – A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You’ve got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention… and then you’ve got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can’t have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can’t have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you’ve done the whole thing in pairs, and… oh, there are loads of rules.

274 – They always say that. They always, always say that it’s nothing to do with anyone else… It’s the first law of romantic trauma.

276 – You know the worst thing about being rejected? The lack of control. If I could only control the when and how of being dumped by somebody, then it wouldn’t seem as bad.

278 – … the night with Marie is my major sexual triumph, my bonkus mirabilis. And do you know how it comes about? Because I ask questions. That’s it. That’s my secret.

283 – …my dad… never had to worry about how he ranked in my mother’s all-time hot one hundred, because he was first and last on the list.

295 – This, really, is the bottom line, the chief attraction of the opposite sex for all of us, old and young, men and women: we need someone to save us from the sympathetic smiles in the Sunday night cinema queue, someone who can stop us from falling down into the pit where the permanently single live with their mums and dads.

301 – … he’s worried about how his life is turning out, and he’s lonely, and lonely people are the bitterest of them all.

344 – It feels as though I’ve come to the end of the line. I don’t mean that in the American rock’n’roll suicide sense; I mean it in the English Thomas the Tank Engine sense. I’ve run out of puff, and come to a gentle halt in the middle of nowhere.

349 – It’s like you can never do the right thing by someone if you’ve stopped sleeping with them.

369 – This is the second Simply Red song on this tape. One’s unforgivable. Two’s a war crime.

381 – (Two Women. One Man. Any fool could see there was going to be trouble. Etc.)

387 – It’s easier to have parents if you’ve got a girlfriend. I don’t know why this is true, but it is. My mum and dad like me more when I have someone, and they seem more comfortable…

392 – There’s going to be people from Laura’s work there, people who own dogs and babies and Tina Turner albums. How are you going to cope with them?

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