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Mad Love

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Published by Wakefiled Press 1997

Mad Love was written after one outstanding night in the pub in 1996 when Kirsty discovered that girls talk about boys in the loos and boys talk about beer. Being inspired by beverages to seek the conveniences, she hopped nervously from foot to foot as girls waited for a free cubicle and gossiped about who wants to pash Colin, the boy with the 'accent'. No one actually mentioned what kind of accent it was but apparently it was very "hot".

As she desperately dashed to the boy's loos and startled the patrons with her apologies and premature unbuttoning of pants in her haste, she noticed the distinct lack of conversation and decided to write a book called "Loos: if the tiles could talk".

Buoyed immeasurably by this idea she coincidently ran into Michael Bollen, her publisher, at the bar and made the fatal error of telling him the plan with diverting hand gestures and several flashy cocktails. Over the evening the book went through many guises but 'Mad Love' was the result (and several more 'research' trips to the toilet). Thus the modern book on love was born. No garrets or starvation ensued. The book was written and researched where it was conceived, and beer developed into a whole new food group.

"The mad passion that drove you to answer the door to your boyfriend in the nude can also make you put egg yolk in his shoes. Your childhood fantasies about Daisy from The Dukes of Hazard can morph into a dogged pursuit of the girl in cut-offs at the staff BBQ. Try to chat up a stranger and it's as though you've never spoken unaided by vast amounts of ecstasy. I may be flirting recklessly with understatement but love is a drug that induces social skills so bumbling you'll feel like your life is just one blow up bouncy castle of a ride.

Television shows like Perfect Match made ratings history in the 80's because no one could figure out what dating was really about. It's an alarming instinct that makes you think you'll be better off with Shirley the hair 'Designer' than going to the party on your own. You can be bored, aching for a shag, or need someone who can get along with your dog and before you've checked your hair, you're declaring undying love to some vain and flatulent hairball.

I initially tripped off with a light heart to research love for a short story character who pursued romance relentlessly despite eternal woe and heartbreak. I searched for mystical revelations that might help her on her way to euphoria but found only disarmingly deluded poetry, self help manuals, racy canoodling picture books and some glossy Pre-Raphaelite diaries.

I looked up LOVE in my handy Thesaurus and it got full caps in bold, although so did GIGO (apparently a big clanger) and UNCONDITIONALITY, which I thought quite ironic. Unconditional love is apparently a major plus in the love stakes. Having once had the grave misfortune to have to listen to commercial FM radio in one particularly dismal job, I have learnt that unconditional love is indeed a syrupy and much admired trait.

I soon found myself blissfully humming along to some alarming little love songs that went something like this;"I'll always love you, no matter what, even though you hate me and have called in the cops," and "You can make eyes at my brother, you can kill my bird, you can break my arms and smear me in turd, but I'll always be your BABEEEEEEE." Unconditional love seems to inspire a pastiche of crooners in a state of lobotomised bewitchment. It's very disconcerting."

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