First off, whatever the Vatican might want you to believe, the Catholic Church doesn't have the monopoly on comedy celebration saints. I Googled him and 'The Wikipedia' told me this: "The feast of St. Valentine of February 14 was first established in 496 by Pope Gelatinous I, who included Valentine among all those "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." As he implies, nothing was yet known about his life."
Of course there was nothing known about him, fer feck's sake, because he wasn't even born for nearly another 1500 years. This is a classic example of the Cat'lics altering history to suit their version of events. Or is that the Labour Party? It matters not. Valentine, or to give him his full name, Dave Leopold Valentine was born on Friday the 13th of February in 1970, a date that lives in history as the release date of Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album. You'd think the two events were unrelated... and you'd be right, except for a serendipitous yet unsavoury incident involving one of the Osbourne's many inbred dogs, Venice Beach and a moonlit night, some thirty five years later, about which history draws a veil of stony silence. It never came to court.
He's a bit of a card, is Dave and that mis-overheard statement lies at the root of the curious phenomenon of this so-called "Valentine's Day". As recently as 1988 nobody had ever heard of Valentine's Day, let alone thought to celebrate it, but for Dave himself it was a day to forget. Or, rather, for his first love to forget. For his eighteenth birthday Dave had planned a romantic evening with his crush, Pamela Melissa Thorndycke with whom he foresaw a propitious future.
He bought flowers, he bought chocolates and he spent the day making an enormous card sporting a picture of an overly twee Teddy Bear, surrounded by hearts and bluebirds. He even wrote a poem inside.
And then he waited. And waited. But Pam never called. She'd never called because, despite his burning lust for her, he'd not had the courage to actually ask her out. She was in fact engaged in making the beast with three backs with Jonty, the sparky's mate and Billy the plasterer. Dave never saw her again... love unrequited.
So Dave did what every Valentine celebrant ever since has done. He went on the lash with his mates... and woke up the next day, gaffer-taped to a lamppost on a traffic island in Daventry, a sorry-looking bunch of scabby petrol station flowers at his feet and a cheap, tatty home-made card adorning his head like an admiral's hat. As people passed by on their way to work they pointed and laughed, but as they walked on by they pondered the level of misguided, misinterpreted and misapplied desire that could have brought Dave to this sorry pass.
Soon enough guilt got the better of them and besides, there but for the grace... The people of Daventry freed Dave and vowed that never again would such solitary humiliation be meted out in the name of love. In future the misery would be equally distributed! The Day After Dave's Birthday became a local event which spiralled out of control and what had at first been a slightly ironic attempt to commemorate the plight of a lovelorn teenager became a worldwide phenomenon, spawning its own mythology. Saint Valentine my arse!
So, let's raise a glass and drink a toast to the founder of the whole out-of-control, peer pressure perverted, expensive malarkey. Happy Valentine's Dave!