Birthday Bashed

I hate this time of year. It’s always about this week that the wind and rain come along to remind you of how grey this country will be from November to March. The eight-week orgy of frantic, despairing consumerism that is Christmas kicks off in earnest.

The importation of the moronic American ‘tradition’ of “trick or treat” leads to you having to continuously answer your door to the same fat greedy kids who in a few days time will be throwing incendiary devices at your granny and setting fire to her cat. You have to get up freezing cold in the pitch black middle of the night to go to work (where it’s spend your wages on Xmas raffle and office party tickets time again) and stare forlornly out of the window as it gets dark at about three in the afternoon. And it’s my birthday again soon.

I’ve never been one of those people who enjoy their own birthday. Some like nothing better than to throw a lavish party where everyone they know can come and worship at the fragile altar of their ageing ego. Others prefer to take the party to the people and play the birthday card for as many free drinks and drunken gropes as it will get them. I just can’t be doing with that kind of fuss of self-celebration. I mean, you’re a year older – so what? Is that something to be happy about? To me its like being told “Congratulations, you are now officially statistically even closer to you eventual oblivion!” Yeah, cheers.

Then there’s the social pressure. Everyone expects you to be having a good time and you must constantly give the outward appearance of happiness, even as you unwrap your eighth pair of socks. You also simultaneously feel responsible for everyone else’s enjoyment. If X isn’t having fun, are they going to remember your birthday party as boring and tell everyone so? What if they leave early? What if they don’t even come? You see – it’s a minefield for the self-esteem.

I think I’m moaning about it more than usual this year as well (it must be my age). I can no longer be considered as especially young. I have so far achieved nothing like what I have sought out to do. Have I got a great future behind me? When John Lennon and Paul McCartney were twenty-censored, they were recording Abbey Road, having already written among others Revolver, The White Album and Sergeant Pepper. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were laying down the sprawling genius of Exile On Main Street. John Lydon was sneering away semi-retired in LA having already fronted two of the greatest, most revolutionary bands of all time. Morrissey was shrilly, desperately and futilely begging Marr not to leave The Smiths. Noel Gallagher was at Knebworth playing Britain’s biggest-ever gig, with his lunatic younger brother stealing the show as usual. And what is Terry Stuart doing? Why, sitting alone shivering with his teeth chattering unmusically, trying to think of why he should bother braving the rain for a birthday drink of course!

Anyway, I’m sure you have umbrellas to buy, Christmas shopping to do and kids to clip round the ear, so I’ll say sorry to have inflicted all this on you, but there you go, I’m the birthday boy and I wanted to be indulged. After all it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.