Forever ago my chum, Johnsy, and I were discussing what we would be prepared to give up at gunpoint: music or books. For me it was easy - much as I would miss music like a bitch, life wouldn't be worth living without books - and for him it was equally easy, albeit the opposite answer. Most of the time I'm a hundred per cent sure I made the right call but sometimes I wonder. Take these lovely lines, some of my favourites, from the wonderful Geoffrey Hill on desire.
"One cannot lose what one has not possessed.
So much for that abrasive gem.
I can lose what I want. I want you."
Beautiful, of course, and still heartbreaking to me, years and years after I first read them. But are they definitely MORE beautiful and MORE heartbreaking than Anna Calvi on the same subject? Tomorrow I'll be back in my corner, willing to back the written word against the one that's sung every time. But tonight I just... can't... decide who said it best.