In what may be the last post of the year, what with the accelerating pace of our frenzied Christmas preparations, I hereby present a first for Crinklybee- the following of one of those meme thingies. I saw this first on Troubled Diva- but it wasn't until I read the comments on Stressqueen's subsequent effort that I realised that, like Stressqueen, I had failed to appreciate what makes the task so difficult, but so damned addictive- the fact of having to allot the exact same amount of words to the story of each year of your life as the age in question (oh you'll get the idea). Once I started thinking about it I actually had to get up in the middle of the night and start scribbling stuff down, which I can assure you is another first.
Anyway here it is- My one word for age one is plagiarised from Mike's one at Troubled Diva, but the rest is all my own work. Feel free to try it at home.... but be warned, it is more difficult than it looks...
Two: baby Northumbrian
Three: Little Abby arrives
Four: Kendal; school semolina trauma
Five: Newcastle; instant Geordie boy. 'Hawaymanmammanhawaremanhowonmanhaway'!
Six: Playground ice sliding 'on wor honkers'.
Seven: Playground foot racing- tooth out! Accident prune
Eight: Halcyon days- cycling Fenham streets collecting car brochures
Nine: Project on Holland well-received. Decide on career in journalism.
Ten: With dad, Newcastle versus Leicester. Instantly smitten. Not journalist- footballer!
Eleven: Big school. Maths suddenly tricky. No problem- these foreign languages easy!
Twelve: In Love With A Girl Who Doesn't Know I Exist.... part one.
Thirteen: I never made the first team, I just made the first team laugh.
Fourteen: Flick to kick; marathon subbuteo sessions provide solace from puberty's many ravages and cruelties.
Fifteen: Tiny carpet Newcastle players win fourth successive FA Cup. Real-life team not so impressive.
Sixteen: Newcastle subbuteo reign rudely interrupted by O-levels. Pass four; scrape into sixth-form by skin of teeth.
Seventeen: language A-levels provide escape from crippling adolescent shyness for Fenham's oldest paper boy. Academia here I come!
Eighteen: Alight in Wolverhampton; swap BHS cardigans and leather ties for Oxfam coats and Doc Martens. Indiepop years begin.
Nineteen: Housesharing with unsuitable girlfriend and her much cooler mate in terrace overlooking tyre factory. Domestic bliss at a premium.
Twenty: Split college year abroad triggers split with unsuitable girlfriend. Spanish intellectual bohemia gives way to French alcoholic mayhem. Details hazy.
Twenty-one: Obsessed with Godard's Nouvelle Vague, I am Black Country Indiepop Belmondo. Get degree and plum job clearing tables at Newcastle Airport.
Twenty-two: TEFL seems easiest alternative to proper career. Posted to school with no students in rainy Spanish seaside resort. Forget to pack umbrella.
Twenty-three: Transferred to bigger but even rainier seaside town. Year of trainee alcoholism and grammar. In sober moments act as intermediary between warring flatmates.
Twenty-four: Back home awaiting move to Manchester. Work weekdays in libraries but live for Saturdays- afternoons watching Keegan's beautiful Newcastle, nights carousing down the Quayside.
Twenty-five: Houseshare in beautiful ramshackle terrace in Victoria Park, Manchester. Somehow survive hellish teaching practice but trauma such that end up working in Gorton skirtpleating factory.
Twenty-six: Eschew promising skirt-pleating career to take teaching job in Oldham. Predictable chaos ensues. In Love With A Girl Who Doesn't Know I Exist- part two.
Twenty-seven: Eschew teaching career to soak up Manchester sun on the dole. Impossible but true romance with beautiful Wolverhampton nouvelle vague girl who knew I existed all along.
Twenty-eight: To finance sudden unexpected girlfriend take six week job in British Gas call centre. Stay for two years while entertaining vague thoughts of becoming librarian, or maybe astronaut.
Twenty-nine: Living with Charlotte in beautiful decaying art-deco flats opposite Platt Fields Park, developing worrying attachment to nearby dacaying football club Manchester City. Take first of many, many driving lessons.
Thirty: Leave British Gas to become slightly less lowly clerk for giant multinational corporation. Fail first of many, many driving tests. Get season ticket for Newcastle just as we become rubbish.
Thirty-one: Leave beautiful art-deco apartments to join property-owning classes- buying cheap terraced house in Levenshulme. Fail some more driving tests. Thrill of first published writing- in Newcastle United fans' publication The Mag.
Thirty-two: Thrill of first paid article- for When Saturday Comes. Dazzling career in Gonzo journalism fails to materialise so continue as lowly clerk cultivating rich inner life. Pass driving test at fifth attempt.
Thirty-three: After an long engagement me and Charlotte are married at Manchester Registry Office. There are splendid speeches, and later, a curious disco where indiekids dance to Frank Sinatra in the style of Morrissey.
Thirty-four: We go on holiday to rural France and I come back with an unusual souvenir in the form of a beard. I look like either a European intellectual or the ex-United striker Gary Birtles.
Thirty-five: St Mary’s Maternity Hospital, February 29th. I am handed a tiny bundle containing a beautiful baby boy. Nine months of worry evaporate in a joyful instant. ‘We’ll look after you’, I whisper to the bundle.
Thirty-six: Our first year with baby Frankie passes in a blissful haze. Somewhere along the way I click on a link on the Guardian website called ‘weblogs’ and within minutes Crinklybee is born. Long may it prosper!
Thirty-seven: Multitasking- cooking cottage pie while stopping a toddler from falling down the stairs; administering three sorts of medicine while changing a nappy; dreaming up my next post while pushing the pram to the swings. Tired, but happy….