I’ll Have You Know I’m Approaching 30 – Yes but from which direction?

Couldn’t resist starting this blog post with an old panto joke as so much of my life has involved panto and theatre. I’m going or use this post to look back at some of the crazy things that have happened to me over the last 30 rebellious years.
My first rebellious act was at the moment of my birth. No I don’t remember it but it’s been burnt into my memory as the story frequently gets pulled out by my both my parents. The midwife who was looking after my mum when she went into labour wasn’t the friendliest person in the world and seemed to be dressed for a night out on the tiles when she was called in to deliver me. Bright pink make-up exploded from both her lips and nails like an hallucinatory flashing of a gaudy 80s nightclub. Her hair carefully up so as not a piece was out of place. She seemed very keen to get out of there. Anyway I dutifully did my bit and wriggled free and into the world and proceeded to urinate directly into her face. Maybe I sensed she wasn’t that nice a person… Who knows but I’m assured that my aim was perfect and I drenched her sufficiently (possibly from both ends I might add!). And that was how I came to be… Explains a lot huh?!?
Childhood was pretty normal I think, I was always a bit of an oddball and that kinda stuck. My mind was always away with the fairies and I had a deep desire to explore, to go on adventures and find out “what would happen if we did this?” Dangerous qualities in anyone, but especially in a child. That sense of adventure and exploration has stuck with me along with an incredibly rebellious nature.
When I was younger my mum was always reading to me. Every night we would have a story before we went to bed. Never my dad though. It was only in later years that I discovered reading didn’t come particularly easy to him but as a child you don’t understand these things and just think that your dad doesn’t want to read to you.
I grew up with a head full of the tales of Enid Blyton from the Folk of the Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair, to the Famous Five and Five Find-Outers-and-Dog with the surly policeman Goon. The Tales of Beatrix Potter, A.A. Milne and a little later Roald Dahl and Ted Hughes. These stories and tales became a massive part of my life and I would often find myself daydreaming about going on adventures with the characters. I remember actually going to the woods behind my house and trying to find the Far-Away-Tree and climb it and wondering what would these wild animals say if they actually could speak. There was a hollow tree in the top corner of the field along from my house, at some point in the past it had been struck by lightning and the charred edges left a hollow big enough for a small child to climb into. This became my magic tree which I nick-named the weather station… I can’t remember why? Perhaps it was because the wind whirled through it or perhaps I felt that the tree still held some of the magic from the Lightning that struck it. Who knows but for me that place was magic. 
The sad fact is I think at some point you realise that no matter how much you will them these things will never actually come true, that there is no Neverland, Lost Boys or a ticking crocodile, that no matter how many trees you climb you will never find a magical changing land at the top (but you do get amazing views!). And that’s a really sad day. When the spell is finally broken and your head pumped full of useless Maths Equations, facts and things measurable by science that you’ll never use in real life. I’m not sure we ever know when the changing point is, it just happens and life rushes passed in the blinking of an eye and when you do finally turn back you see the magic has faded and the grey reality of life seeps in and drains all the colour. And those characters you had dedicated a good part of your life to have returned to the pages of the book whence they came.
But their stories are far from over as they wait patiently for the next generation to discover them, to befriend them and bring them back to life. That’s the beauty of books and the imagination. When things are written down they are never truly lost forever. They can be rediscovered.
And sure I don’t climb nearly enough trees these days, although I do still talk to animals (if you own a pet you’ll understand – they totally know what you’re going on about). But I have discovered a way back to the magic – through theatre. Through bringing words on a page to life. To painting the stage with lights to help to bring these fantasy worlds into reality. The best part… Yes I’m nearly 30, but I still get to create magic, and play and watch others share and experience that magic as well. As jobs go that ain’t bad really is it.
I’ve rambled on long enough and I’m not sure this was even the post I was going to write, (I may write a few more “reflective” posts), but like so many things in my life I pick up the idea, set my imagination loose and just see where it leads me… Hey It’s worked out okay for 30 years.. And if it ain’t broke…


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