Three weeks to 30

Perhaps because of its timing (mid-summer, exam season, post-exam getaway season, and now wedding season) and my widely-scattered circle of friends, my birthday has always been a somewhat stuttered, protracted celebration. This year is no exception. I had my first 30th birthday present last week, seeing the wonderful Thea Gilmore at King’s Place. Early next week I’m going to Northumberland for a dinner and presentation at a local charity I’m a patron of, and stopping off at Durham for a day on the way to see two of my dear friends from undergrad who’ve stayed there and are now in academia. Durham-reunion convention dictates that we crash a College bar, get wrecked and have an “ironic” dance in Klute, Europe’s second-worst nightclub. This is emphatically Not Happening as I’ve arranged to spend the following morning at my old College, and at Castle nosing around in their archives as background research for parts of The Novel, before having lunch with my friends, going on to the charity dinner in the evening, and doing my presentation the next morning. I’ve been asked to make the presentation “positive” (I’m not exactly sure what that’s going to involve, but at a guess, a two-day bender and a heap of existential angst wouldn’t help…).The research isn’t vitally necessary to the novel, if I’m honest, but it’ll be useful, and help the general writing momentum. I wish it’d occurred to me to look at archives while I was a student but my reasons at the time would have made me self-conscious about appearing weird, so I only saw a few bits that people had bothered to put online. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing Hild Bede after several more layers of refurb, and seeing what Castle looks like beyond the bar. I’ve contacted Palatinate and Durham Student Theatre for similar research purposes but have yet to hear from them.

My ‘main’ get-together will be in North London on the 21st, the day after my actual birthday: a small picnic on Hampstead Heath, weather permitting, followed by dinner at a veggie restaurant in Primrose Hill. I am still not sure of numbers but I have aimed for not-too-many, not too-few, and people who know each other or are likely to get on. I’m slightly nervous about being responsible for a whole group of people’s enjoyment because I’m not a natural organiser and would prefer if someone else took care of all the admin, but, being my 30th, I felt it was important to make the effort. My amazon wishlist is here, should anyone wish to buy anything and be stuck for ideas. I’m slightly trying to reign in books due to the fact I have limited shelf space and an iPad for e-reading, so rather than buy a physical book you might prefer to buy me a gift certificate and suggest something to spend it on – either something from the list or something you’ve seen and recommend. Other than that, I like hair and beauty stuff, chocolate, posh tea, theatre tokens, and anything remotely treat-ish because I’m really bad at either remembering to treat myself or being able to afford to.  If you like me but money’s tight or buying something doesn’t quite feel appropriate, I’d be very touched if you made a small donation to a charity which is close to my heart, and let me know. The Dyspraxia Foundation, SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement Through Suicide), or a mental health charity like Samaritans or Mind, would be excellent.

Rather than doing a condensed reflective “Wah, I’m 30!” post for my birthday, which will probably end up being really banal, eighty pages long, or both, after I come back from Durham I’ll be doing a week of reflections on various different parts of life, and calling it The Turning 30 Series. Partly as a self-indulgent record, but I’ll be interested to see if anyone the same age or older relates to anything…


2 thoughts on “Three weeks to 30

  1. Wah! 30? (Weeps bitter tears of memories long lost). It’ll all be grand, and if not, then there’s always 31 next year. At which point you too are allowed to use the “Ughhh! I’m not 30 any more!” whinge whenever confronted with something taxing…

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