I’m sure each of my readers will be celebrating the historic day in 1980 when Andalucía voted to become una comunidad autonóma and eagerly await La Madre Reférendum slipping through the shutters with her traditional gift of jamón. As you tuck into your toast, olive oil and orange juice, surrounded by happy juvenile cries of ‘Olé‘, spare a thought for those of us who share this date with our birthday and so only receive a single set of presents. They tell us that there are twice as many, but who really falls for that old line?
All of which nonsense, founded on a few grains of truth, is by way of introduction to the annual post celebrating the author’s improbable survival of another year clinging by his very cuticles to this precious turquoise marble as it spins through the uncaring void. I either remain one step ahead of the assassin’s bullet or have discovered a way to blog from the Halls of Mandos (and, at a stroke, dis-intermediated the whole disreputable gang of mediums and spiritualists). However, I think readers should probably apply the most famous insight credited to one William of Ockham and assume that I continue to draw breath for the time being.
As is my middle-aged way, I have planned nothing out-of-the-ordinary (well, ordinary for me) for the day – though I have broken with tradition and had a mid-morning hot chocolate, rather than the usual green tea (with lemon), to create a very mild (almost imperceptible) aura of occasion about the day. I have opened my birthday cards and they both look lovely: serried ducklings and some Purbeck scenery. The Royal Academy have caused to be delivered their latest magazine by way of a gift and the sun is shining brightly upon my upturned apple cheeks. What more could a chap with very limited storage space ask for? Well, other than a pocket dimension and the return of his lost youth, obviously.
Unusually, I started my birthday with the breaching of the day itself for, as birthday eve morphed into birthday proper, I was enjoying a glass of Auchentoshan at the Talking Heads. I had somehow failed to go home, despite the jazz finishing not long after 11: I can only assume some locals had managed to overcome my normally taciturn nature and inveigled upon me to share a few words.
The jazz gig itself had been somewhat forgotten and so was rather thinly attended, but it had the most glorious atmosphere – with a hint of being at something secret and slightly illicit. There was a relaxed vibe as the ‘Bent Brief Gang’ were re-united and having a ball playing together: their sense of fun was contagious and I was soon infected. I think the gig has a serious chance of making it into my best gigs of 2018 round-up in a few months time.
At the gig, I was also gifted with a copy of the Observer’s Book of Music which is even older than me and the score of that classic hit of yesteryear ‘O can you play the clarinet‘ (I bet that kept up morale fighting Rommel in North Africa!). The former, falling open at a random page has introduced me to the most excellent word ‘purfling’ (from the verb ‘to purfle’) which you should all expect to form the basis of a forthcoming post. I shall be applying my bass voice to the latter (transposed down an octave or two) once I’ve been fortified by a bite or two of lunch (or dinner, if you prefer).
Given that I have now had sufficient birthdays to use an entire deck of cards, I’ve decided that this is my ‘Ace of Spades’ birthday (using standard Bridge suit-ranking). So, next year I get to play my Joker! Consider this a warning!