Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelity” Quotes (39 Quotes)


    Barry, you're over thirty years old. You owe it to your mum and dad not to sing in a group called Sonic Death Monkey.


    What was in it for me? I wasn't asking for any sort of reciprocation, after all. Why didn't she want her erogenous zones stimulated? I have no idea. All I know is that you could, if you wanted to, find the answers to all sorts of difficult questions buried in that terrible war-torn interregnum between the first pubic hair and the first soiled Trojan.

    But I want to see Clara, Charlie's friend, who's right up my street. I want to see her because I don't know where my street is; I don't even know which part of town it's in, which city, which country, so maybe she'll enable me to get my bearings.

    Look at all the things that can go wrong for men. There's the nothing-happening-at-all problem, the too-much-happening-too-soon problem, the dismal-droop-after-a-promising-beginning problem; there's the size-doesn't-matter-except-in-my-case problem, the failing-to-deliver-the-goods problemàand what do women have to worry about? A handful of cellulite? Join the club. A spot of I-wonder-how-I-rank? Ditto.



    Do I want to be like him? Not really, I don't think. But I find myself worrying away at that stuff about pop music again, whether I like it because I'm unhappy, or whether I'm unhappy because I like.

    Most days, for the last dozen or so years, I attributed to Charlie, or at least to our breakup, most things that have gone wrong for me. Like: I wouldn't have packed in college; I wouldn't have gone to work in Record and Tape; I wouldn't have had an unsatisfactory personal life. This is the woman who broke my heart, who ruined my life, this woman is single-handedly responsible for my poverty and directionlessness and failure, the woman I dreamed about regularly for a good five years.

    Why is failure the first thing I think of when I find myself in this sort of situation? Why can't I just enjoy myself? But if you have to ask the question, then you know you're lost: self-consciousness is a man's worst enemy. Already I'm wondering whether she's as aware of my erection as I am...

    I don't even feel as if I'm the center of my own world, so how am I supposed to feel as though I'm the center of anyone else's?

    People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands - literally thousands - of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.

    Women who disapprove of men - and there's plenty to disapprove of - should remember how we started out, and how far we had to travel.

    I guess I should have forgotten about it ages ago, but forgetting isn't something I'm very good at.

    Sentimental music has this great way of taking you back somewhere at the same time that it takes you forward, so you feel nostagic and hopeful all at the same time.


    I had to nurture those doubts as if they were tiny, sickly kittens, until eventually they became sturdy, healthy grievances, with their own cat doors, which allowed them to wander in and out of our conversation at will.

    She thought I was...soulful, by which I think she means that I don't say much and I always look vaguely pissed off.

    You spend Christmas at somebody's house, you worry about their operations, you give them hugs and kisses and flowers, you see them in their dressing gown...and then bang, that's it. Gone forever. And sooner or later there will be another mum, another Christmas, more varicose veins. They're all the same. Only the addresses, and the colors of the dressing gown, change.

    I lost the plot for a while then. And I lost the subplot, the script, the soundtrack, the intermission, my popcorn, the credits, and the exit sign.

    That's why; he's worried about how his life is turning out, and he's lonely, and lonely people are the bitterest of them all

    I used to think--and given the way we ended up, maybe I still do--that all relationships need the kind of violent shove that a crush brings, just to get you started and to push you over the humps. And then, when the energy from that shove has gone and you come to something approaching a halt, you have to look around and see what you've got. It could be something completely different, it could be something roughly the same, but gentler and calmer, or it could be nothing at all.

    The difference between these people and me is that they finished college and I didn't; as a consequence, they have smart jobs and I have a scruffy job, they are rich and I am poor, they are self confident and I am incontinent... they have opinions and I have lists.

    I'm simply pointing out that what happens to us isn't the whole story. That I continue to exist even when we're not together.

    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.


    These things are going to eat away at me... I rewrite the script in my head until it's 100-proof poison, and none of it helps at all.

    It's a mystery of human chemistry and I don't understand it, some people, as far as their senses are concerned, just feel like home.

    This is the second Simply Red song on this tape. One's unforgivable. Two's a war crime. Can I fast-forward?


    Tuesday night I reorganized my record collection. I often do this at periods of emotional stress. There are some people who would find this a pretty dull way to spend an evening, but I'm not one of them. This is my life, and it's nice to be able to wade in it, immerse your arms in it, touch it.


    We have one of those conversations where every thing clicks, meshes, corresponds, locks, where even our pauses, even our punctuation marks, seem to be nodding in agreement.

    It's just that none of us had the wit or talent to make them into songs. We made them into life, which much messier, and more time consuming, and leaves nothing for anybody to whistle.

    We were little animals, which is not to imply that by the end of the week we were tearing our tank tops off; just that, metaphorically speaking, we had begun to sniff each other's bottoms, and we did not find the odor entirely repellent.

    It's no wonder we're all such a mess, is it? We're like Tom Hanks in Big. Little boys and girls trapped in adult bodies and forced to get on with it.

    What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"- Rob

    A while back, when Dick and Barry and I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like, Barry proposed the idea of a questionnaire for prospective partners.

    I've been thinking with my guts since I was fourteen years old, and frankly speaking, between you and me, I have come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.



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