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Saturday 12th July 2014


Oh fuck, I'm 47!

Time is really taking the piss now. Soon I am going to be too old to use my age as one of my Lottery numbers. That's when you know you're redundant as a human being. Two more years before I become a drain on society.

I took the day off. It was an unfamiliar feeling. I tried to work out when the last time I took a day off was. I have a feeling it might have been 3rd February, when I was on that skiiing holiday. Now that is just crazy. Much as I love my job and even given that some of those days might just have involved an hour or so of writing or a gig, that is not really on is it? It's definitely time to make some changes. I am an old, old man. Who knows how many days I have left. Some of them must be spent, like today was, lying in til nearly midday, having brunch (no fucking oat groats with vegetables for me today - I had something I have never had before, pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, my body didn't know what had hit it), then going to the park to sit in the sun and read a book. I had just bought "Red or Dead" by David Peace, having thoroughly enjoyed his "The Damned United" about Brian Clough. This one is a novel about Bill Shankly taking over Liverpool. I don't think you particularly love football to enjoy these books. They speak more of a lost Britain than of anything else and this one had me mainly thinking about my grandad. Not because he was a football fan, but because he was a proud working class man, living in a time where things were simpler and more delineated and life was about work and home. Perhaps it's fitting that I spent my first day off in five months reading about Shankly, an obsessive workaholic, and his focus and driven ambition had be half thinking to myself that I wasn't working hard enough. But sitting with my wife and seeing the families enjoying their normal weekend together also made me aware that focusing on just work, even when you're lucky enough to make your favourite thing your job, is a mistake. But now I am 47 I am embued with more wisdom and understanding than before.

Then we went out for an early dinner at the ultra trendy Chiltern Firehouse restaurant in town. I haven't had a drink since we returned from Russia and I didn't feel like having one tonight, so this might also have been my first dry birthday since 1981. My wife had done remarkably well to get us a table at this place (it's a bit celebrity hangout but the only person of any note I saw was Charley Boorman and even he turned out to be just my own reflection in the mirror). The food was nice enough, although my wife's main course has the addition of a shard of quite sharp plastic in it, (big enough to do some damage, but small enough to go unnoticed in the white fish sauce) so our evening might have turned out quite differently if she'd swallowed that. I didn't make a fuss about it, but I did point it out to our waiter, who seemed to take it pretty coolly (we did get one free dessert as a result of this error, which was a lot cheaper for them than the law suit might have been had she eaten this shard). But all the hippest restaurant are serving up broken plastic shards these days, so we should count ourselves lucky for getting one.

I wondered what the shard had come from. It looked a bit like the bit you break off a plastic pot of soup to open the lid (though a little sharper), but why would a posh restaurant like this be keeping anything in plastic containers?

Luckily my wife did not die tonight (though the law suit payout would have gone some way to making up for her loss), but the restaurant had cleverly made me realise how much she meant to me, which I am sure is just part of the service. We headed home to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was somewhat better written and acted than The Room (but still not as enjoyable, even though it was really good).

Maybe this day off thing should be a weekly rather than an annual thing. I was pleased to see that a Twitter feed called "This Day in History" had tweeted about my birth. So I am officially an historical figure. Which is nice.

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