As you all know, 42 is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything but by the time you read this, if indeed you ever do, I will no longer be 42
On the eve of my 42nd birthday I destroying The Sumners cake trolley. It was an act that defined my life but then I bought a Tilley hat and moved on.
As I reflect on my 42nd year on this planet, it was a strange year as I had very little work. Unfortunately in this modern world, what we do for a living can sometimes be the only thing that defines us?
When I say I did very little work, I really mean it. Endless months of waiting for the phone to ring but amongst this void I managed to cut a pilot for the best series that never got commissioned, I graded my first ever commercial which resulted in an unpleasant experience of extortion. I was involved in a failed coup, helped revamp Dragons Den and graded my first ever feature film before finishing the year in familiar territory, a cutting room at ITV.
I will be celebrating my 43rd birthday by on-lining a film for my dear friend Chris Malone who has spend most of the year filming a man, filming the Queen.
As a man who has managed to miss most of life by working, my 42nd year will be defined by the voids and how I filled them. I have had a remarkable number of new experiences in the past 12 months.
My top 10 highlights of my 42nd year are as follows, in no particular order.
1. I destroyed the cake trolley. If you don’t get it don’t worry you are in good company.
2. I was interviewed on local radio station, Bolton FM about my legendary cake trolley explosion. This led to the some not entirely complimentary fan mail but what is history but a fable agreed upon?
3. From local radio to national radio, I was spring-boarded onto the Nicky Campbell show where I bemoaned the fact that the Labour party needed to offer the nation hope. No fan mail followed
4. From local radio to national TV. Not quite sure what happened here other than I guess BBC bookers are lazy and go for the easy option?
5. I displayed my art work in a pop up art gallery. Regardless of my fan mail, I rather suspect this confirmed my place as an artist.
6. I went to my inaugural theatre workshop and ended up selling out Bolton’s Octagon theatre in a hit musical about the futility of war. Quite some achievement for a virgin Thespian and a theme that resonates loudly with the shenanigans in Syria.
7. I won my first ever sporting trophy when I helmed my Miracle sailing dinghy to first place in Delph Sailing clubs novice series. My crew promptly retired because “I am either scared or I am bored and that is no basis for a hobby.”
Speaking of Delph, I became a director of the sailing club and having largely managed to avoid the joy of meetings all my working life, I discovered how it can take upwards of8 months to discuss changing a door handle…
8. A failed quest for Dutch wine resulted in one of the drunkenness experiences of my life. This in turn led to a forming new friendships with The Van den Bergs and The Gandhis. Almost worth the entry fee?
9. The Bongo. There is much debate about who may have been the 5th Beatle but there is no debate about who is the 7th member of our family. The Bongo is the backbone behind a life of adventure and free spirit. What a magnificent vehicle to have transported me through my 42nd year. From helping me help feed the homeless, it doubles as a holiday home, a mobile office and a makeshift dormitory.
It also became notorious when I filled in for Northern rails ineptitude and enacted a random act of kindness. I love my Bongo.
10. In despatches, I also became did a soup kitchen run, raised money for charity, had my super slowmo gimbal footage shown on North West Tonight , experienced mindfulness at Manchester art gallery, became an RTS Judge and finally became a Patron of the Arts!
Adventures aside, apart from having very little money, there is one shadow which cast itself large over my 42nd year . The death of Jo’s mother Ann.
Ann was not just the mother to my wife, she was a friend and keen participant in one of my most enjoyable hobbies, bitching. Ann could help create whole ludicrous back stories to people actions and personalities, I enjoyed her company and miss her. Her death broke Joanne and shook me out of a world I was creating based on my self pity. Being strong for my wife as she dealt with losing her best friend was one of the most important roles I have ever had to play. I am still learning my lines and am prone to occasional fluffs.
When we got the phone call, I was busy working on the worst thing I had ever worked on in my life. Battling life and death with the twins was always a journey built on a foundation of hope. The foundations of that hope was Ann’s successful fight against cancer 10 years previously. With her death, our foundations were eroded. The under pinning is ongoing.
So that was my 42nd year. A compendium of experiences and possibly the most memorable year of my life. The twins continue to blossom and Thomas despite his considerable challenges, brings more joy to my than I could ever transcribe in prose.
As my 43rd year brings me nearer the mid point of my life than I comfortable with, I plan to grasp it by the horns and ride it for all its worth. Thank you to everyone who helped share 42 and make it one of the greatest years of my life. I love you all x