50 ways to leave your lover. Really.

You might be reading this as a Paul Simon fan. In which case, feel free to step away now. Big fans of Rhyming’ Simon (or lil’ Pauly, which his diehard fans definitely don’t call him) tend to be a bit precious about his work – kicking back when phrases like ‘cultural appropriation’ or ‘oversized monitors for everyone in the band except Paul’ are used.

I’m fairly ambivalent, but I’ll confess to a bit of a black mood every time I hear the opening chords to ‘Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover’. This always leaves me disappointed, insofar that Paul tends to leave the listener a little short changed on the learning front. Having had a look at the lyrics, short changed to the tune of 45 ways, so if we’re looking to the song as a list of ideas, we’re a good 90% down on our expectations. To be clear, the ‘ways’ which are outlined in the song are:

  1. Slip out the back, Jack
  2. Make a new plan, Stan
  3. You don’t need to be coy, Roy
  4. Hop on the bus, Gus
  5. Drop off the key, Lee

Even these five recommendations seem a little flimsy on closer inspection. If your name was Roy, for example, you might feel a little underwhelmed if you’d gone to Paul for your relationship-ending advice.

However, the Emu is very much here to ease the pain in these troubled times, and would respectfully suggest a further set of strategies to leave your lover, which Paul may want to incorporate into future versions of the song.

6. Bogart the spliff, Cliff 

7. Play her all your records by The Fall, Saul

8. Snip through his brake cable, Mabel 

9. Wait till he’s asleep then violently sever his nose, Rose

10. Go swimming and tie her legs to an anvil, Granville 

11. Mention ‘big boned and jolly’, Wally

12. Tell her you’ve been charged with Gross Moral Turpitude, Dude

13. Tell her the sea’s your mistress, Idris

14. Dig a shallow grave, Dave

15. Slip your head in a noose, Bruce

16. Give her a swerve, Merve

17. Show her your truss, Russ

18. Walk around in her skirt, Kurt

19. Shoot some amateur porn, Shaun

20. Tell her you’re a slave to your work, Dirk

21. Say you fancy her Gran, Stan (a bit more effective than ‘A New Plan’)

22. Say you play for the other team, Gene

23. Cop an inappropriate feel, Neil

24. Reveal you’re a cleric, Derek

25. Leave an unpleasant stain, Wayne

26. Tell her your real name is Doris, Maurice

27. Reveal yourself as a big fan of Boris, Horace

28. Forget the safety word, Edward

29. Establish that behind your back she calls you Just In, Justin

30. Tell her you’re married already, Eddie

31. Reveal your prosthetic leg, Greg

32. Tell her you have the virus, Sirus

33. Mention your chlamydia, Lydia

34. Call him Mr Floppy, Poppy

35. Test his olfactory gland, Fran

36. Lower his sleeping hand into a blender, Glenda

37. Stab him in the hand if he tries to feel ya, Ophelia.

38. Play him some folk songs on your concertina, Katrina

39. Elaborately fake your own suicide, Clyde

40. Use the trusty ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ line, Clementine

41. Impale him on your fender, Brenda

42. Pretend it’s a vaccine, Maxine

43. Resign from (or, possibly, join) his quiz team, Christine

44. Tell him that’s not what you meant by a mouth organ, Morgan

45. Tell her you need to set the bar higher, Isiah 

46. ‘Forget’ to feed the cat, Pat

47. Give her a bath in something corrosive, Joseph

48. Hop on your cycle, Michael

49. Carelessly leave laying around the elaborate plans for her mausoleum, Ian

50. Tell her you’ve modelled your emotional development on the personality of Hannibal Lecter, Hector 

As I write, Bob Dylan has just released a seventeen minute version of a song documenting his thoughts on JFK and the American dream. So it’s probably not too much to ask for Mr Simon to go in the same direction. (I can guarantee that the rhymes above are no more contrived than the one’s you’ll find on the lyric sheet of ‘Murder Most Foul’).

Stay safe (Faith) x

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