I wanted to try and remember a moment from all my birthdays from as early as i could remember – from 0 to 39 – in essence – the 39 steps, snapshots to the ochu life. Alas there are some gaps – so this is the edited version…
1972 – Age 0: my mum tells me the pains started at 4.30am and my dad took her to forest gate hospital – before that they drove to auntie doris’ to drop my older sister off. My mum told me i was an easy delivery… “so beautiful and she loved me from that moment” (you mean you didn’t love me when i was a foetus!?)
1979 – Age 7: i had a party – boys only plus me. I got this amazing football game where you press down the heads of these players on the pitch and they kick the ball. My best friend Sergei came – as did friends from my new school. They didn’t get on – horror. When i got back to school that week some girls were in tears… Why…? I didn’t invite them to the party. Who knew? Why would you invite girls to your party…? On the other hand i felt bad… really bad…
1981 – Age 9: i remember counting down the days to my ninth birthday. On the day, the dinner ladies at Godwin juniors decided to tie me to a lamppost in the playground (it was their new thing for birthdays that year). You were meant to untie yourself. I didn’t, I stayed tied to the post and all the other kids went inside, back to class. I quite liked it – the empty playground and me tied to a pole – looking at it all… alone. Perfect day. I think this was the best day at school ever.
1988 – Age 16: i had a party at my mum’s house – i was a bit too intense with the girl i liked playing the same song over and over. It didn’t work and never would. Unrequited love… ah the pain of that… unforgettable.
1991 – Age 19: I was at Manchester Uni studying – i spent the day with a new friend who just joined one of the lectures, an American, Kamal, he didn’t know it was my birthday and i didn’t tell him. It was a great day… i can’t remember why… it’s just that feeling i recall
From 19 onwards there was plenty of chocolate cake, candles and danish flags. A birthday is not a birthday without one. We always had them. When the flag comes out you know its your birthday…
2011 – Age 39: twenty years on and i had the day off-ish – i meant to go swimming in the morning and didn’t quite get round to it – in the afternoon i screened and watched the film ‘ratcatcher‘ as part of opencinema screenings in Manchester at the Booth Centre. It was a bit chaotic: couldn’t find the key to the projector so decided on plan B: watch it on the TV. I don’t think i understood the film fully – but remember thinking that’s the power of cinema – it will creep up on me later, when i’m sleeping and i wake up in the middle of the night: all will become clear for a moment…. and then i’ll fall asleep and forget about it. Had a nice chat, sandwich and a cup of tea in Cafe Muse with Su Maddox which has given me some confidence in my next steps post Jan 2011. I walked home chatting to my mum about the day i was born. When I got home around 5ish i came across a birthday card (see pic above – Movember duckfest) on the table with some stickers next to it and i spent a few gleeful minutes decorating the duck – duck day afternoon.
In a nutshell the 39th step is to keep it simple, have a laugh. Prosecco and the most amazing chocolate cake ever followed. Heading out to dinner now – got a date with a pretty special lady… lucky me.
PS 2012 – the big 40! irk!