There's no easy way to say this, so I'll just go right ahead and say it:
I share my birth year with some rather more well known people. Not just Pitt and Depp, but Quentin Tarrantino, George Michael, Graham Norton, Eva Cassidy, Seal and Steven Soderbergh. My actual birthday is the same day as Prince Edward, though he is a year younger.
1963 is commonly dubbed as the year that changed the world. Well, I was born then of course so that makes sense. I'm not actually sure why it gets this accolade but maybe because so many memorable events happened: the Great Train Robbery; the locomotive the Flying Scotsman's last run; Alcatraz prison closes; Lawrence of Arabia wins best picture Oscar; the first James Bond film Dr No is released; the Beatles release their first album Please Please Me and the phrase Beatlemania is coined; Zip codes are introduced in the USA; Martin Luther King delivers his "I have a Dream" speech and of course, President John F Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas Texas.
50 years on and we could probably name a number of years since then that have, "changed the world", where memorable events have happened. Well, this past weekend was very memorable for me, maybe not on a world significant level, but very special nonetheless.
My two key friends, Pauline and Andrew, had invited the rest of my circle of friends to various events throughout the weekend, starting on the Friday night. I had no knowledge of what was going to happen, only that I should keep the weekend free. I kept asking where I should be for whatever the first event was, but no information was forthcoming. Until Thursday morning. When the postman delivered. Among the usual fliers and bills was an envelope containing a further smaller envelope titled, "clue 1". It was a riddle that I had to solve to find the first location, and 9 more would follow over the weekend.
The first took me to an isolated spot in the Royal Park of Edinburgh on Friday evening, to await my next clue in the freezing cold and dark. After standing for a while thinking I'd been had, Andrew turned up with clue number 2. Basically I had to get to "the house of beige". I knew immediately where that was. My friend Johns. You can probably guess his favourite colour, from decor down to his cotton socks! This was followed by a visit to the Royal Observatory for an evening of star gazing and talks. Great fun and followed by lots of cakes back at John's.
Saturday's clues took me to my old deli for coffee and a number of friends shared that time. From there I followed the clues to brunch at a restaurant in Edinburgh City centre where I received a very special and generous gift. Then as a tip-of-the-hat to my early years everyone donned a moustache.
Brunch over we then went onto the Camera Obscura, which was Edinburgh's very first tourist attraction, established in 1835. Then it was off for afternoon coffee where I received clue number 8, which turned out to be a showing of the film Samsara at Andrew's apartment. Together with a few friends he had converted his front living room into a cinema, complete with easy chairs and a candy-bearing usherette, played by my very good friend Pauline.
Pauline and Andrew had both created very special photo books, one of my early years and the other of my cycle across the USA, both very thoughtful gifts that had obviously taken a lot of work. The penultimate clue led to a feast of Chinese food and of course the very special birthday cake. It was an astonishing work of art, with a full colour print of me on the surface of the icing. Very clever.
Finally, the last event of the day was a trip to Andrew's sister's house for a late night evening of poker.
As you can imagine, on Sunday I slept! A great weekend of fun events peppered with all my friends, dreamt up by my two special friends Andrew and Pauline.
Beat that Johnny & Brad!