There comes a weekend in every mother’s life when we have to put on bad music, trample on the walk on wardrobe AKA floor-drobe, cough our way through crusty bits of rubbish and throw out the last remaining bits and bobs of our offsprings’ childhood. That weekend has come for me. There will be no more Hello Kitty pencils, no more craft that comes home saying I luv u mummmy and no more genuine joy at seeing me at the school gate.
I am emptying the unfinished projects into the bin and opening old One Direction pencil cases and finding handwritten notes from their friends. These painstakingly produced jottings were all written at the age when my kids were discovering the magic of writing a heartfelt letter to a beautiful new friend:
Dear Senny, I thik youre really specil and I reallly lik your shoos. I had funn wen we went to the pak and i now we wil be freinds forever. lov you
I’ve been a single mum for 10 years, so there are many jobs in my house that are being tackled well past their use by date. Despite our multiple moves, some special stuff was placed in boxes and carted from new address to new address. The perfectly unused birthday present textas from the seven-year old’s best friend in the hole world that were saved in the back of the cupboard for special occasions have been dug out, the lolly wrappers that she didn’t want mummy to see, beside the half-dressed dolls with real nail polish on their hands. I put together a box of nostalgia, thinking that my last teenager would be remotely interested in the lost cuteness and innocence of her childhood. She came home from a day out at the hideous local shopping trauma centre and said,
“That’s my stuff, what are you doing?”
“We need to chuck out.”
“No, I’m too busy.”
A few short weeks ago she sobbed because the Easter Bunny hadn’t left her an elaborate trail of eggs in our shared yard on Easter Sunday. But now she’s watching make up tutorials on how to copy the subtle facial contouring of the Kardashians on Youtube. She actually wants to look like a Jenner. I’ve failed as a mother. What the hell will I keep from this phase?
In 1986 I was living in London and I had a flatmate who modelled her hair on George Michael’s fluffy bouffy do. She scored tickets to see Wham at Wembley Stadium that summer. I didn’t speak to her for a while because she went to the gig and I didn’t. It was never about Andrew, it was always about George. I loved George but I was too afraid to admit it. For a while there it wasn’t cool to like George Michael’s music, it wasn’t grungey or dark or rock enough. I’ve never liked cool obscure underground bands that nobody has heard of, with male singers who can’t hold a tune, I’m a huge fan of bright, shiny commercial pop. So George was the shiz.
I love George’s lyrics, I love his melodies and his voice. When I was 14, he wrote songs in the key of teenage angst. George understood me and my worries. Christmas doesn’t begin for me until I hear Last Christmas on the radio.
I can’t believe he’s gone at the age of 53. In the 90s his music kept my heart alive. I hope the dope didn’t kill him.
“Do you enjoy what you do? If not, just stop, don’t stay there and rot.”
Thank you George, I hope you’re blazing a trail with some gorgeous angelic backing vocalists in heaven
Here I am on the day of the race that stops a nation, dressed in jodhpurs and a top hat, hamming it up for drunk people, most of whom don’t realise this how I earn my living (they just think I’m some kind of kooky lady), as they slam down their drinks. We humans are very strange, we tame wild creatures, then watch them going round and round a track. When I was a young warthog, I went to the races most weekends with my grandpa Aubrey, who was nuts about betting on the gee gees. He would place small bets for me and I always picked the grey horses, probably because of Gunsynd, the Goondiwindi grey, a famous racehorse from the 1970s. Now I’m getting paid to act like a goose on a horse, my grandpa would be so proud.