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Love, Actually, Is Just One Fucking Thing After Another

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“I feel it in my fingers,


I feel it in my toes,


Love is all around – “


“For fuck’s sake, Stu.” Irwin’s voice cuts Dakin off mid-chorus.


I’m getting too bloody old for this shit, Dakin thinks to himself as he looks around the studio and realises he’s surrounded by backing singers who can’t be more than half his age. He pushes the depressing thought away and turns his attention back to his long-suffering manager, who’s sitting on the other side of the glass looking like he’d rather be anywhere else.


“Did it again, didn’t I?” Dakin sighs. “Shit. Tom, you know this wouldn’t keep happening if you’d just let me sing the proper lyrics. Then maybe we could all knock off early and get pissed instead.”


“Tempting as that sounds, Stuart, I’ve got the label riding my arse to deliver them a Christmas number one, and somehow I don’t think a straightforward cover’s going to cut it.”


“So there’s nothing I can do to change your mind about the Christmas gimmick? We both know it’s shit.”


“Of course it is, but it’s shit that sells .”


“I don’t want to make a sodding Christmas record. You know I hate Christmas, Tom.”


“Well, you’d better start pretending you don’t, because right now this song’s the only thing standing between you and bankruptcy. Let’s go for another take, shall we?”


“Fine,” Dakin groans as the track starts up again and the backing singers chime in with their saccharine oohs and aahs. He begrudgingly joins in for the godawful chorus (rewritten by the label at Irwin’s behest):


“I feel it in my fingers,


I feel it in my toes,


Christmas is all around me,


And so the feeling grows…”


The only feeling growing inside Dakin is the hope that the rest of the session is mercifully quick so that he can drag Irwin away from work for once and the two of them can go for a drink. He’s been asking for weeks but Irwin always insists he’s far too busy managing his other clients – though truthfully Dakin suspects it’s because if he agreed then Irwin would have to admit that they’re actually friends. Which of course they are – Irwin may be bitchy and impossible to please, but he wouldn’t have stuck around all these years if he didn’t have a soft spot for Dakin. On the other side of the glass, Irwin fidgets with his glasses in a way that Dakin’s long since accepted he finds adorable, and Dakin tries to push aside any thoughts about the faraway look in Irwin’s eyes that he’s started to notice whenever Irwin watches him sing.


“It’s written in the wind,


It’s everywhere I go,


So if you really love Christmas,


Come on and let it snow…”