There’s been an epidemic of 50th Birthday parties in my social circle.
The trouble is they all try to eclipse one another with the scale of their celebrations. We’ve had invitations to skydiving (declined), Formula one racing (declined), Horse riding (tempted) and a long weekend in Ibiza , abso-bloody-lutely. This is all from a gang that can barely get a round in.
I get it, my husband is 50 next year and he’s leaving it to me to make the arrangements. I hear “Sydney and Los Angeles” but I’m picturing a more sedate affair – a good old fashioned McDonald’s party (I can pass it off as retro and maybe even hire a clown).
One of our best friends decides to hold her 50th at a Music Festival. This immediately appealed to my inner teenager.
I have a vision of crowd surfing over a sea of bodies screaming “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”. However, my illusions are swiftly shattered by middle aged fear… filthy port-a-loo’s, communal showers and no moisturiser! Good god, NO!
But I’m assured we’ll be “Glamping”. That doesn’t go down well with the Husband, he won’t camp (although get him on the Brandy and he does a marvellous Beyonce). Unfortunately he won’t go near a tent, he’s seen too many horror movies, “The black man dies first and there is always a killer in the woods”.
So bless her heart, our friend re-arranges the entire group’s accommodation. We’re now staying in “Eco Lodges” adjacent to the festival. Solid walls, alarms and great big signs outside saying “Psycho’s not welcome”. The Husband is happy although still very wary of the whole shebang.
It turns out to be a Soul and Jazz festival with a fabulous line up, headlining are the Jackson’s (minus Michael of course). Not exactly Glastonbury but all very civilised. There’s even somewhere to sit down. Husband is still wary, he needs alcohol, lot’s of alcohol and I am more than happy to oblige.
The next thing I know he’s gone missing. Popped to the loo’s, getting another round in, who knows? I do worry though, he’s been known to scarper off if he’s having a crap time. I wish I had that ability, I just stick it out to be polite and then moan about it later.
So I turn around and bounding towards me is a bare chested man, face completely painted with glitter and wearing an oversized top hat with ski goggles. Who the hell?..Wait a minute, that’s my Husband!
And it doesn’t stop there.
Every twenty minutes he disappears and comes back with another festival accessory. Dayglo Bangles, Light sticks, Whistles, Beads, the whole kit and caboodle. He’s contracted full on Festival Syndrome.
For the past 12 years Iv’e had trouble getting this man off the sofa. For the past twelve years he has point blank refused a Pride march or Mardi Gras.
And then I see him, the man I married. The joyous, crazy, wild and ridiculous person I totally and utterly fell in love with. He’s back, he never really went away. He was just hidden, like I was, under a mountain of routine and day to day monotony.
I fucking love him and by the time he’s leaping around to ‘Don’t blame it on the boogie’ I’m right in there with him blowing my whistle and hugging strangers. All this without the aid of drugs, (definitely booze). But it’s more than that. It’s the atmosphere, it’s the crowd, it’s the music all wrapping us up in Festival madness.
We’ve booked up next year already.
But we’ve also brought a little Festival Syndrome back home, it’s done our lives and our marriage the world of good.
I’m getting a Loan out for his 50th, he’s getting that massive party come hell or high water, no Big Macs included.