Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Bestest Birthday. Ever.

Big talk about birthdays today. Which reminded me that I still haven't posted about my birthday, which was simply amazing. I have emailed a few of you about it, but I wanted to write up this post especially nice cause it meant so much to me, and I wanted to include pictures and everything, and well, I didn't get half of those pictures until the other day.

My birthday was February 23rd. Just mention it for the timeline, not to send anyone on guilt trips ;). I usually don't make a big fuss about it. Just downhill from now on ;). Even my bloody clock stopped ticking.
I have to mention, Dom, my ex-boyfriend (we still share a house, but we are good friends, so that is ok), is a big sweetheart. I just never understood what he saw in me, he is just too sweet and kind for this world. I did not make a big fuss about my birthday... but hell, did he!!!

And he did this year in a way that made me - and everyone else - GAPE. I still can't believe all this happened :).

It started like this. In the evening of my birthday, we had arranged a little get-together including Damien, my friend Esther, my other housemates and me. I made a cake, and stuff, and we had wine, and it was all gonna be cosy and quiet. Esther gave me some lovely gifts.
And then Damien came in, with his hands behind his back. Then he brought one forward, holding a gift. You gotta know, since we're not going out anymore, I really hadn't expected him to make a big deal.
So I unwrap it... and it was a cow mug!! Me: YAAAAY!!! There is this strange 'semi-fetish' I have with cows, which is another story and will be told another time, and I am obsessed with coffee, so that was really cool.

But that wasn't all.

He brought the other hand forward. A card. A card that had all our little insider jokes and little cartoons written and drawn in it. It's one of those cards I will never chuck out cos it's so cool.

But... that wasn't all.

A CD. Placebo's "Sleeping with Ghosts". I hopped in neat little squares!!! I love Placebo so much - Brian Molko is so deliciously androgynous and dysfunctional... he is my madness' voice. His voice goes to my bones. "Black Market Music" is my all time favourite, and the new album comes with a CD with cover songs, which got GOOSEBUMP FACTOR. They sing The Pixies' "Where is my mind", Depeche Mode's "I feel you" and that 80s song "Running up that hill", which is stunningly intense and beautiful.
So Dom says: "Open it!", so I do.
I thought I was hallucinating.
2 tickets to Placebo in London's Brixton Academy, which was on 02 March. I FLIPPED!!!
I mean, a Placebo concert!!!!!

But that wasn't all... except that I had no idea.
Because the concert stopped so late, it would have been difficult to take a bus back to Bournemouth, so Dom told me, we were gonna stay with a mate of his in Clapham somewhere.
First I was a bit suspicious, cos one of my mates lives there as well, but I just brushed it off, cause Dom had just met him once and didn't have any of my mates' phone numbers.

Anyway, we took the coach to London - Esther came as well!!! - , and Dom wanted to go straight to his mate's house to drop off our bags. He had a hand-drawn map to find the place, but we walked around for a good 45 mins, battling our way through the tube system which I find utterly confusing, so I was lost after five minutes and just followed Dom like a sheep... until we found the place.
Clapham is beautiful. I can't say why exactly, it just has a nice atmosphere that I feel home in. Have you ever noticed how being in a certain place can influence your self-concept? I guess just depending on whether one feels like one fits in there... and Bournemouth, pretty as it is, I don't fit in, really. Too much about cliques and fashion... Esther, who has lived in Southern California before, called it Little Hollywood. It's all about looks and following the latest fashion, and trying to look like Posh and Beckham here... and getting laid in the most bizarre ways and places. This is just Bournemouth, really... the rest of Dorset is quite different. London is big enough to give you a niche, and to provide a bigger variety of people - you will just find your circle of friends, some kindred souls, there, no matter what you are like. And it gives you the anonymity to be what you like. I'm just a big city kid... this is what I am used to. So Clapham gave me that feeling of allowing me to be myself.
But I digress.
We wandered about for ages, and the concert's start was getting awfully close. But when we arrived at Dom's friend's house, no one was in.
So Dom hid the bag under a bush in the front yard, behind the wall that fenced it off. By that time it was dark, and it was pretty much invisible, and we headed back to the tube.
The concert had started already (at least the support bands), and we had to run. We went two stops, then Dom said it would probably be easier and quicker if we got the bus. By that time I was so worn out from the running, and being lost, I had no idea where we were and where we were going, so I just followed him. I just kept getting frustrated cos there were tons of bus stops, and he just would walk past them. Imagine me just pointing confusedly, then shrugging and wandering on.
Then he rang someone, to get directions, and made a u-turn, and walked back up the way we had come. By that time, I was really really frustrated.

Suddenly he points to a door of a restaurant. "After you!", he says.
I am now TOTALLY confused. Restaurant? Why?? The concert has started. What the hell?
So I walk in. It wasn't very busy in there, I saw a few people on a few table, one group slightly bigger than the others, and all of them looked in our direction as we came in. Thing is, my eyesight is mildly blurred sometimes, so I couldn't see well. So I stare at this group, and blink... and suddenly I recognise faces.

On that table sat old friends of mine, some of whom I had not seen in 4 years, none of them at least in one year, and even some I had gotten out of touch with, because all of us have moved so much.
There was Zac and Debbie, and John Barker, and Rachel, and Marianne!!!! They all grinned at me, and I broke out screaming.
See, I just didn't get it. It never occurred to me that Dom had organised this, cause I thought he had none of their numbers.

As it turned out, one evening when I was in the bathtub, Dom had sneaked in my room and nicked my address book ("you really need to update some numbers," he said to me, grinning). Together with my friend Zac he had organised the whole thing for the previous month.
Then Zac said: "Do you know whose house you were at earlier?"
Me: ??????
Zac: "That was mine. I just moved there last October." (no wonder I didn't recognise it!)
Right, there I was in a London restaurant, practically losing my mind. Things started clicking and falling into place.Esther, who knew about this, had nearly accidentally told on it, when she said that we would stay with one of my friends, and I was confused as I had never asked Zac, so I brushed it off as a misunderstanding. I was DELIRIOUS with happiness. I love my friends so much I wish I could see them more often, and I never get to because I am so busy.

But that wasn't all. Yeah, I know. :)

It turns out Dom had gotten tickets to the concert for all of my mates as well, and we would all go together!!!!!

But that wasn't all.
At one point Zac pointed to the door, and I saw Adam, another friend of mine walk in. I really hadn't expected that, cause he doesn't even live in London. I dunno how often I squealed that evening, freaking other customers out, cos the surprises just kept coming in.

But that wasn't all. After we had all eaten, and caught up, the lights flickered strangely, and then went out. I was like, huh?
And suddenly the staff appeared with a birthday cake, and the whole restaurant sang Happy Birthday. Seriously, I was on the verge of tears! I had never had anyone make such a fuss about my birthday. I couldn't believe it.
Not only that, but the cake was a Berlin Wall cake, that Dom had created from spongecake and Belgian waffles, and I got to bring the whole thing down again.

After that, we went to the concert, got there just in time when Placebo started playing, easily found Esther, my other friend who had gotten there earlier, and had a fantastic night!!!
The concert was amazing, and it was even better because all my friends were there.

But the fun hadn't ended after that. We went to John's house for tea, and then returned to Zac's house. Except that Zac's house was not the house we had been at... and where we had hidden our bag.
We: "Oh my god!! We're gonna spend the rest of the night searching Clapham's dark front gardens for a bag." Funny enough, we found the house one street further... were the same house numbers, just one street off, and the bag was still there.

I was totally wrecked ... but I can say easily it was the best birthday I have ever had. I still cannot believe that happened, seeing all my friends. And I am so grateful. I never thought that anyone cared that much...

So this is to you Dom, and everyone who helped make it happen: THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

And thanks so much to Vicky from the Soapbox, who went to the same concert a day earlier and sent me pics she took, because my camera failed me in there...

Ah, and just to mention it: Dom and Damien are the same person. I just keep forgetting that no one really knows that except a few people.

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