When you were a kid did you ever think about how old you’d be in the year 2000? It seemed so far away and unreal (science fiction was set in the year 2000) but all the times I thought about it I never wondered about what I’d actually be doing at that age. Even when I grew up, in job interviews I couldn’t answer the question “Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?” because I’ve never had A Plan or been one of those people who think “I want to be doing this by the time I’m 35″ or “I want to have that by the time I’m 40.” I’ve met a few go-getters who actually think about their lives like that (mostly in America) but they’re not the sort of people I’d want to have a beer with.
Last year I became a father for the first time and the year before that my own father died so it’s been a life-changing couple of years. The only piece of fatherly wisdom my Old Man ever passed on to me was that if you keep doing good work and don’t piss off too many people along the way then positive things will happen and life will work itself out. He said that when I was going through a rough patch and it meant a lot to me at the time, especially as he wasn’t the sort of father who usually passed on sage life lessons (are any fathers like that?) So that’s pretty much what I’ve done, and with no plan and no goals things have worked out very well indeed. The Old Man was right, I just wish he could have met his beautiful granddaughter.
The reason for this indulgent navel-gazing is that today is my 45th birthday. I gave up being bothered by birthdays after the trauma of turning 30 (that was painful) but 45 does feel like a big one, like I really, actually am middle-aged now. I’m not going to suddenly turn into a misanthropic old git complaining about the bloody kids today and their stupid music, how crap movies are now and how the the whole of Western culture is going down the toilet — because frankly I’ve always been like that, my nickname at college was Alf Garnett. But I don’t want to be 18 or 25 again, I’d have to care about things like iPods and video games and text-messaging and think Green Day were really good or something too. No thanks.
Just to prove I’m still alive and interested in new things, not always looking over my shoulder at the past, here’s a record from a current band I saw live recently. The Clientele don’t pop up very often on mp3 blogs for some reason but I think they’re wonderful.