10cc and a charming transgression

I remember when I first heard the song in the 70’s. Like many others I was mesmerised by the swirling, velvety instrumentation and backing vocals. Back then was impossibly new. But for me there was something else even. I once heard the song playing on the radio and as it started to fade the DJ came in with the words, “That’s 10cc with ‘I’m not in Love’ – A love song if ever I heard one”. The words seemed to crash the moment and break the secret. Yes, it was true, but it felt like it should not have been spoken. I had recognised that the genius of that song was that the listener saw, more clearly, the heart and desire of the singer than he did himself. So, as odd as it seems, it felt to me that this DJ was being insensitive. I don’t think I consciously recognised all this at the time but, as a writer of children’s stories, it’s an approach that I have instinctively taken up myself, where the reader understands what is going on before the central character does himself.

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