So, TheGayUK has hit a memorable birthday and what a fantastic year it has been. I’ve interviewed choreographers, writers, poets, cabaret artists, actors, painters and singers, reviewed theatre, film, dance and even a book where a poodle showed me the sights of London.

The site is also going from strength to strength. I just hope that the site has a better track record with celebrating birthdays than I have.

1976: I’m five years old and have the one and only birthday party of my childhood. My mum organises a treasure hunt and hides sweets all round the house. For the next year we find melted Blackjacks in extraordinary places. The food is fancy for the 70s (i.e. the tomatoes are cut into little crown shapes). The party goes seriously wrong when over-excited, I lean in too close to ‘Pop-up Pirate’ and the little plastic pirate hits my forehead with velocity. Being a trainee diva, I order the party terminated and ask everyone to leave, before flouncing upstairs to my room in a huff born of indignity.

1989: My 18th was less than monumental. I remember having bad 80s hair and trawling round bars with my partner, drinking gin. That’s where the memory ends. There was a lot of gin. I don’t like being 18 much. I feel gauche and am horribly shy and am hopeful that this will improve with age. It does, mostly.

1992: I’m 21 and having another tantrum. I’m stuck in an overheated restaurant, which has an American diner theme, drinking cocktails and eating over cooked greasy food with a group of friends and my partner. I feel terribly old and wise (I’m actually neither) and also very unhappy with the life I have and I’m taking it out on everyone around me. The mature option would have been to change the bad things and move forward (e.g. ditch the abusive partner) but I’m not able to visualise that one. My Brandy Alexander (see how sophisticated the 90s were!) isn’t the right drink and I get some hideous banana thing. I do the mature thing and deflect my unhappiness on to the waiter and embarrass everyone around me with a drunken rant.

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2001: I hit 30 and am officially dead in gay terms. I actually don’t mind though. I’ve finally got a partner who is treating me well and we hit London for the occasion. A trip to the theatre, a whiz round the London Eye and a night clubbing in Heaven with a lot of drinks bought for me are all followed by my birthday itself where I feel each and every day of my 30 years as I spend a hung over day clinging to the rim of the marble toilet in the plush hotel, crying in pain and praying for oblivion. I get bought a T-shirt which says: ‘Big Dicks and Vodka’. Although these are valid hobbies, I never wear it.

2011: After spending the last few years having nocturnal sweats thinking about being 40, I actually love it. I have a new partner, who makes me happier than I’ve ever been, I have a great circle of friends who I love and am more comfortable with myself than I’ve ever been. I hire a local arts cinema and screen a film for my friends and the day is fantastic. I no longer drink vodka, although I still quite admire the big dicks, but from afar now. What’s not to love about being 40? Bring on more birthdays.

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Have a happy birthday GayUK x

About the author: Chris Bridges
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He's usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.

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