Lazy Luddite Log



I celebrated my fortieth birthday on the weekend with a big party in a local hall. This is something I want to blog about but I'm wondering how best to address the topic. I could do a technical discussion of how to do a biggish event like that. I could do a journal entry descriptive of the occasion. Or I could do something more personal on my experience and perception of ageing (except to some extent I have done that anyway). I will try to cover all these things...

A big event of a hundred guests (fewer if counting only adults but more if including children) takes a lot of preparation and work. I decided to make it a big event and so chose to have a hall and I quickly discovered that booking a venue must be done well in advance - six months in my case. That is the biggest task however. Once that was secured I rested on my laurels a bit. However I also knew that a big event was beyond just me so I sent a handful of close and useful friends letters asking them to take on particular tasks. They all agreed and I think I cast them each well in terms of talents and temperament (I have appended acknowledgements in the comments to this post).

One thing I wanted to do was make my event a bit distinctive. Other past events have had an impact on my opinions on what works and what is cool. I will always remember a particular friend hosting a New Year's Eve (turn of the last century) in a hall which included what for many of us was the first time we made use of an 'electronic jukebox' (using a computer from which to play the music). So one thing I decided to do was have guests attend via webcam if they lived far away. We had two such chats - one from interstate and one from overseas. That was fantastic even if the conversations were like any rowdy party talk - yelled and vague.

It was fantastic how friends rose to the occasion and did more than I had expected of them. Photography turned into a 'Photo Booth'. Cake turned into primary and auxiliary cake. My comfort drink of an iced coffee turned into an iced coffee infused creme liqueur. I was stressing over the whole event till I was told to just enjoy. So I took off my jacket and went to the loo and came back and then pretty much did that. I had a better time once I let go and recognized that there would only be as much dancing as dancers wanted there to be and there would be chatting to overpower even the best stereo. And it was all good anyway.

In the end I felt loved and celebrated and, while I cannot say I feel young exactly, I do feel full of life, and I think that feeling comes from sharing life with others. We all have distinct lives and are exploring different life paths, but in coming together at events like my birthday celebration I think we affirm and bolster all those many lives. Okay, now I risk getting a bit philosophical, I will end by saying I had a blast because it was a fantastic night.

* * * * *

On the night of my party I posted the following notice content on the venue walls:

A number of friends have taken on specific roles to help with the smooth running of my birthday celebration so we can all have more fun. Do provide them with your cooperation and courtesy.

Sean will be your compere for the evening – making announcements and generally contributing (in his own words) to 'bonhomie'. There may also be embarrassing anecdotes along the way.

Avril will be occasionally filling and re-filling bowls of chip-and-dip and if you are lucky she may surprise you with other random offerings.

Rohan has provided his awesome stereo. He is very protective of it while I am very particular about my playlists. We request that you only operate the controls if we have asked you to. Thanks!

Evil Sarah will be managing a ‘tavern’ for the night. Drinks are on the house but stocks are limited so do consider your fellow patrons in how much you consume. There will be both hard and soft drinks and hot beverages for this cold winter night. Also you can BYO if you wish.

Damien will be wandering around taking photos of the evening. Some will be action shots. Others will be posed with your assent. I may well try to get into shots with you.

Polly will be on hand to help make my webcam link to the world operate so that interstate and international guests can ‘attend’ our celebration. The laptop will be solely for this use.

M-ra will be baking cake for us and will cleverly be incorporating some theme close to my heart into this sweet project. I’m looking forward to seeing and tasting her handiwork.

However many more contributed. Belinda was very useful in helping me shop and keep me company during preparations. And others also contributed. I posted this thanks message on the Facebook event page for my birthday:

Now I am somewhat recovered from last night I want to put an expanded thank you list here (the printed one in evidence last night only covered those who I knew were helping in advance). Hopefully this is more coherent than my speech was.

Thanks to those who hoped to come but were prevented by sickness or clashes or distance – your well-wishes were most welcome. Thanks to Ayla and Lisa (Sydney) and Steve & Nieves (London) for visiting via webcam – chatting with you was a blast even if we had to yell a bit. 

Next thanks to everyone who attended and mingled and contributed to the fun. I barely interacted with any one of you but do suggest some smaller group things for us to do in coming weeks and months. To those with kids – they helped make dinner festive and showed us how much fun balloons can be!

Now onto some more specific thanks. I hope friends who took on specific roles were fully recognized on the night. I am definitely thankful for all they did. However there were so many impromptu helpers and helpers-of-helpers and just an overall vibe of helpfulness that compiling a comprehensive list of names is tricky. 

Nonetheless I shall try:

Avril, Belinda, Ben, Damien, Daniel, David, Dave, Woody, Kat, Katrina, Laura, Lucas, Olav, Olivia, Polly, Rohan, Sarah, Evil, M-ra, Sean, Thorne, Varia, Vivienne

It was definitely a night to remember. I am happy you all gave me a chance to celebrate with you.



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