There are a fair few songs about Feb 14th - most of them a bit rubbish to be honest. 'My Funny Valentine' is a good tune though, even when Michael Bubbly sings it instead of the great Frank Sinatra. Anita Baker's version is OK as well, but quite why the Thompson Twins tweaked the title by calling it 'My Funky Valentine', Gawd only knows.
Then there is the song 'Valentine's Day' which is a fair attempt at a perky paean of smooch by ABC or a reflective strum by Bruce Springsteen (but best leave the Marilyn Manson and Linkin Park versions alone unless you are asking for an elbow in the teeth).
Hmmm, maybe buying a Valentine collection is a crap idea then. But how about taking them to something they will really remember - a live performance? Better than a 6-pack of Ferrero Rocher, a bunch of manky old tulips, twenty Marlboro and a grope on a park bench I reckon.
London has plenty of alternatives for wooing that special one without making them feel like a Flake advert extra.
Shows first of all and the classical/opera offerings include 'Lucia Di Lammermoor' by Donizetti at the London Coliseum (£48), 'La Boheme' by Puccini at the Cock Tavern Theatre (£22 - inc. chocolate and champagne!) and a Valentine's Day Concert at the Royal Festival Hall (£11 upwards). If you fancy something a little more contemporary and lively then Stomp! at the New Ambassadors Theatre (£47.50), Hairspray at the Shaftsbury Theatre (£32.50) or even Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre (£19) might get your hips wiggling before the rest of your body starts to.
Defending the Caveman
Of course the key to a good relationship is laughter so if you want a funny Valentine, have a giggle with Mark Little's attempt to 'Defend The Caveman' (Leicester Square Theatre - £20 upwards), Tim Vine's ridiculously titled (wait for it) 'Jokeamotive' (nearly as bad as my puns - Bloomsbury Theatre £17.50) or the reliable Comedy Store (£19.50) - they should have you breaking out in raptures rather than breaking wind after too many chocs.
Shakespeare once exclaimed 'if music be the food of love, play on' - or was it Jo Brand who said 'if music be the love of food, pass me some Bread, Cream and Cake'? Actually I made that last quote up but, Jo, you can use it gratis. Music and Valentines are often associated with smooth Soul singers and we have Ne-yo giving you just that at the Wembley Arena (£37.25) while jazz-guitar king Ronny Jordan is always a decent bet - he plays at Camden's Jazz Cafe (£17.50).
If you want to cool down the pace, then head to Brixton for a fabulous-looking reggae and soul showcase featuring 80s icon, Freddie Jackson ('Rock Me Tonight'), John Holt ('The Tide Is High') and Bitty Mclean ('It's Raining') and costing just £35. Finally, top soul diva Mica Paris can't wait for Sunday - she plays a special Valentine event on the 13th at the Rich Mix Foundation (Bethnal Green - £15).
Whatever you do this Valentine's have a (s)mooch about by checking the events below or, for more of an overview, click on any of the 'Valentines' buttons, below. But don't leave it too long before booking!