“You brush it off and you come back. Defeat is the secret ingredient to success.”

I love this. It’s pretty gory but very inspiring. I’ve never been a huge Conor McGregor fan because all the hype and bluster just felt a bit…manufactured. For example, I always thought he comparisons to Muhammad Ali were ridiculous. But his reaction to the defeat against Diaz has exhibited a class that I’d not noticed before. It reminded me of the infamous story of Floyd Patterson getting knocked out in the first round against Sonny Liston in their first fight, in 1962. He was so embarrassed about it that he slipped out of the venue through a back door wearing dark glasses and a fake beard. Asked about this later, he said, “It’s easy to do anything in victory. It’s in defeat that a man reveals himself.” In this case, Conor McGregor has taken it on the chin and vowed to come back stronger. And ironically, I now get why some people see him in the same light as Ali.

“If I was Leonard Cohen or some other songwriting master/I’d know to first get the oral sex and write the song about it after.”

I’ve always loved this Jeffrey Lewis song.

I think it contains the meaning of life in seven minutes.

It’s a melancholy epic of esprit d’escalier – that brilliant French term for ‘staircase wit’ – the clever things you only think of saying once you’re leave the room and you’re in the corridor, on your way out. On the surface, it’s the story of a bloke missing out on a blowjob; but listen a bit closer and there are so many intricate layers of pathos. The longing, disappointment and regret that build up throughout the song seem to be hurtling head-on towards a messy existential pile-up.

The fact that the encounter is such a huge deal in narrator’s mind becomes heart-breaking when he reminds us to “just keep the sad truth in mind as I tell this to you/That we really only talked for a minute or two/And I never got her name and she never got mine/But in this couple short minutes we had a pretty good time”. Then, at the point where he sings, “When the three of them stopped to look through a pub window/I said ‘Goodnight’ though I had not quite meant to”, it feels as though he’s condemned to a lifetime of self-sabotaging cowardice. But…he somehow manages to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with the unexpectedly uplifting moral to the story.

The idea of a song telling a story is clearly nothing new but in a world of offensively inoffensive hits, inane bangerz and passionately performed blandness, a simple story told in a modest manner feels rare and precious. It’s a reminder about the power of straightforward, direct, honest communication. Something I’m aways striving for – sometimes less successfully than others – in my own work.

And meanwhile, I always wonder if the girl in the song ever got in touch with Jeffrey Lewis…