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Sunday, February 24

And So It Is

I'll admit that I often post my posts after the day in question and then time-stamp them at 11:59 for the day they relate to. This works for me. As it happens, the last post on this site (not the bugle call, but the last "diary" entry) was actually written close on 11:59 on the day in question. This one comes to you from the early minutes of the 24th.

So, I don't always lie on this blog.

Today is my birthday. I am 34 years old. If I look back over the last 12 months at my 34th year, it's not really been my favourite. I did vow to stop the self-pitying at New Year, so I'm not going to bemoan things too much, but I think I started my 34th year badly and it really kept on in that vein.

Last year's birthday day was largely spent trying to get a toilet to work. This failed miserably, leaving me in a house with no toilets at all and no washing facilities (save for the kitchen sink - no good for showers). Having sunk deeply into disappointment, I then went to see Bill Bailey, performing live with an orchestra. That picked me up from the disappointment somewhat. I then joined a friend at his leaving-London-party. He would be moving to Leeds soon after.

If I look back over the last 12 months, it's pretty much followed a similar pattern. I should point out that this is an easy way of retrospectively fitting the pattern of that birthday day on a year which was much more complex than this metaphor will truly allow for, but what the hell - it's my birthday and I'll make crap comparisons if I want to.

The year has had its ups and downs. There were euphoric moments, like when I was swinging round lampposts in Edinburgh, having amazing gigs or watching Madness play at Glastonbury. There were some heart-warming moments, like sharing good company with good friends, or seeing what good could be done over Christmas. There were some buddy moments - like visiting my Leeds friend and doing some serious hard-core DIY. There were some personal triumphs, like completing DIY tasks (well, some).

Then there were the heart crushing feelings involving loss of hope professionally, loss of confidence, loss of belief in my future, dying on my arse at key gigs (in front of people I kind of didn't want to die on my arse in front of - be they pretty girls or not so pretty comedy bookers), fear of religion, fear of losing my driving licence, grief over lost love... there's a long list of stuff I allowed to get to me.

Along the way I've been one of three "modes". I've either been totally submerged in the moment, unable to do anything about it except feel it. I've been sitting on the sidelines, amazed at how life has gotten to this point, but not actually feeling affected by it. Then there have been times when I've plotted a way forward. Plotting is the key to success, I think. If you can plan your way forward, then you can change stuff - somehow - and maybe life can be better. Some things can't be changed - you have to steer round them. You can't go back and make an audience who hated you love you. In fact, you can't make anyone love you - it's one of those things which is possibly even an illusion in the first place, so it can't be forged or reasoned into existence. It's either there or it's not.

I've made some decisions and changes to my life over the past year. Some have worked out better than others. I changed my job - following the good advice of "change your job or change your job" the idea that if you can't improve your job itself, then you should find a different one. Changing jobs has proved the right thing to do, but it hasn't been easy. The previous job was easier in many respects and provided a "safe" environment, but one which I was dying in. This new job is killing me in a different way, but has potential and a recent history of delivering stimulation and job satisfaction. There's a cost, but I'd rather be like this than bored out of my mind. Who knows whether I can take this environment for long, though.

I've steered my DIY hell of a house onto track here and there and I've let it wander too. This is no way to renovate a house, it must be said.

I've tried to be optimistic and I've tried to make the most of the last year. It's not gotten me as far as I'd like and time doesn't go on forever.

However, today's celebrations should be genuine. I made it through the year and I've got a 35th year ahead of me. I should fill the year with laughter, work, success and song. If I can do that then maybe I'll be a lot happier this time next year.

Though it's a bit of a risk, I've decided to do a gig on my birthday tonight. It will be my 34th birthday gig and my 500th gig. My 30th birthday was a gig too, and I've pre-booked my 35th birthday as a gig at my favourite club. I like birthday gigs. MCing tonight should be a nice way to close this day and a lot more productive than the self-pity which seemed like the default option instead.

A friend, who lives near the gig, has insisted on making a small dinner gathering before show time in my honour. There will be 4 of us and I shall be with 3 people I quite like... and the person whose house it is too. Tee hee.

Some jokes just have to be made.

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