James Howden (on sappiness & birthday songs)

With apologies to the great Paul Simon, I present a thoroughly personal update of his jiggy 1975 song “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”. A chronological milestone was recently reached by my bride, who had the dubious honour of hearing — LIVE! — Mr. Simon’s melodies and beats overwhelmed by a most eccentric chorus of all-too-willing back-up singers, with me trying to stay in one key during the verses. It was. It was… It was odd, funny and delightful. She loves to laugh, does my bride. Her name is Diana.

Fifty Ways We Love Diana

This business of aging’s no big deal, don’t you agree?

The woman’s always dancing, if a little recklessly

And when we think about the loveliness of ‘Dee’

There must be fifty ways we love Diana

You know, there are so many aspects to include:

The laugh, the eyes, the sparkling hopeful attitude

This angel rushes in where fools fear to intrude!

There must be fifty ways I love Diana

Fifty ways we love Diana

[chorus] She’s just got the knack, Jack

She stands by her man, Stan

She loves all his boys, Roy


Her cooking’s A-plus, Gus

(Her handwriting’s atrocious!)

But she’s a hugger of trees, Lee,

And sustain-ability

Ooh, she gets things done, hon’

She moves with a plan, Anne

There’s all o’ that beauty, Trudy

And all o’ that glee

Gave herself to China, Dinah

We’ll find no-one finer

She cares for humanity

That’s why we love ‘Dee’

This dancing woman has a vision she maintains

She wishes skies and waters might be pure and clean again

And I appreciate that, and I keep trying to explain

My DeeBird’s fifty flighty ways

“Connector girl” I sometimes call her with delight

Her love’s a twinkling morning in the darkness of my night

She works to understand what puts injustice right

There must be fifty things about Diana

Fifty ways we love Diana   [chorus]

James Howden (20th century – about now) is no songwriter, but he had fun writing this, mainly in a McDonald’s on a Sunday afternoon. When almost none of his foreign friends were able to attend his wife’s not-such-a-big surprise party, he found himself teaching two Iranian ex-pats and a dozen or so under-30 Chinese friends a 1975 American pop hit and its 2013 update. Oh, and a 13-year-old son surprised they had recorded music back then. They had about 20 minutes to prepare. True to form, they sang with all their hearts. “Atrocious” was the word of the day. But so was “lovely”.

Comment (1)

  1. Sherri Yazdani

    Absolutely lovely! So creative, james…I’m sure she had a fifty year-old heart that absolutely melted with love.

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