Damian Reilly

I’m a middle-aged male Swiftie (and I don’t care who knows it)

It's time to come clean about my obsession

  • From Spectator Life
Taylor Swift [Getty Images]

I recently underwent a surgical procedure that according to the surgeon who performed it would cause either no discomfort at all or result in ‘exceptional pain’ for at least two weeks. No way to tell until I was on the operating table, apparently. She said this matter-of-factly, as if discussing bus routes, just as I was about to receive a general anaesthetic. As soon as I came to, I learned it was the latter.

In the following days, bedbound and near-delirious with pain and medication, I listened to hour after hour of Taylor Swift. I didn’t want to hear anything else. I found her music, with its vast emotional depth and stunning lyrical dexterity, terrifically soothing.

Surely the music we turn to in distress, when we really need it, says more about our tastes and who we are than the songs we listen to when we’re happy or indifferent. Lying there mewing and terrified of movement, my other favourite bands – the Smiths, the Libertines, the National, the Strokes – were no use at all. I needed Swift, and only Swift would do.

Until very recently, I’d been quite furtive about my Taylor Swift habit. I knew I was verging into superfan territory when Spotify sent me my listening statistics for last year, which informed me I was in the top 1 per cent of her global listeners. I was secretly quite proud of the achievement – there’s a lot of Swifties in the world, after all. But I didn’t make a thing of it, mainly because I feared I would be mocked. It was widely accepted, I thought, that Swift’s music was for teenage girls, not men fast closing in on 50.

I knew I was verging into superfan territory when Spotify sent me my listening statistics for last year, which informed me I was in the top 1 per cent of her global listeners.

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