07 September 2014

On the occasion of my sisters' 30th birthday

May 1988
Zoe and Gabrielle, my sisters - you were born in Auckland on this day 30 years ago, or if you prefer a little more precision, 10,957 days ago. The moon waxed gibbous on the day they entered the world. The same day you were joined (on the other side of the world) by the daughter of Igor and Nataliya Zvonareva, who was born in Moscow in the then USSR. Vera Zvonareva would go on to become the world's second-highest ranked women's tennis player in 2010. And to balance things out, on your birthday the distinguished Irish writer Liam O'Flaherty drew his last breath. One of O'Flaherty's novels had the distinction of being made into a film not once but twice, including in 1935 by the legendary director John Ford. The Informer, a gritty tale of life in Ireland during the war of independence, won four Oscars at the 1935 Academy Awards, including Best Director for Ford. In the music world, and slightly less auspiciously, on the day you were born the 18-year-old Janet Jackson married the 21-year-old fellow singer James DeBarge. (The marriage was annulled the following year). And the number one chart single in New Zealand was One Love / People Get Ready, a re-release of a 1977 single from the album Exodus, which had also topped the charts here. (The 1984 video features cameos from Paul McCartney and a host of other 80s UK popsters). The single was in its final week of seven at the top of the charts, and would be replaced the following week with Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Of course, none of this other ephemera has anything to do with your own entry onto the global stage. Just thought I'd mention it.

Apart from visiting you, the swaddled and wriggling twins, in the birthing unit at the hospital, one of my earliest memories of you was a trip to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, when for some reason I was tasked with pushing your double pram through the highly crowded entry hall, down the flight of steps from the wings. Quite a task if you're not used to handling an unwieldy pram. At the first sign of difficulty you both very sensibly bailed out and proceeded to the exit under their own steam, thereby affording me an early glimpse of the precocious development of your good sense of judgement.

Don't worry about turning 30. Turning thirty is fine. As David O'Doherty says:
'35 is the first disappointing age. Even marketing people realise this, because they've divided our lives into three bits. There's zero to 18, and they're kids and they like brightly coloured things. And then there's 18 to 34, and they're the key demographic that people are supposed to care about. They're the people who feel emotion and fall in love, and take risks and appreciate technology. And then there's just 35 to death. And we like Michael Buble and driving gloves'.

You've got five years to work out a strategy to avoid that terrible fate. Happy birthday!

April 2006, with Nada
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