The 40 In 40 Days Project.

36. The Rebirthday (1979)

Main Index

The Au Pairs
The Step-stepfather
The Simulated Wank
The Toy Store
The First Single
The Queeny Put-Down
The First Hissy Fit
The First Gay Club
The Rent Boy
The Heterosexual Phase
The Lifestyle Switch
The Empty Floor
The First Poem
The Amsterdam Weekend
The First Time
The Perfect Moment
The Year In Berlin
The Trade Years
The First Memory
The Anniversary Party
The Incompetencies
The Pricking Of The Bubble
The Club Residencies
The "Tales of the City" House
The Musical Epiphany
The Worst Thing I Ever Did To Anyone
The Royal Procession
The Parental Disclosure
The Concept Albums
The Romantic Obsession
The Failure
The Apotheosis of Queer
The Shove From Above
The Interrogation
The Professional Rut
The Rebirthday
The First Boyfriend
The "Catharsis Of Joy"
The Funeral Address
The Falling In Love

Chronological Index

troubled diva

As a boy, I had loved acting. I had played the lead part in a children’s opera (Benjamin Britten’s The Golden Vanity), and I even once had the great honour of playing Mole to a certain Jeremy Clarkson’s Toad of Toad Hall. Now, after a few years’ inactivity, I was once again on stage, playing Starveling (one of the “rude mechanicals”) in a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

My performance surprised quite a few people. The director encouraged me to play the part for laughs, and so a character developed which was effectively a satire on all my adolescent neuroses. I played him as nervous, fretful, under-confident, almost tearfully bewildered – but ultimately well meaning. It got the laughs. Several teachers told me that they didn’t know I had it in me. I was finally earning some respect. It felt great.

The final performance just happened to coincide with my 17th birthday. The cast party took place straight afterwards, at the director’s house, away from the school grounds. People were coming up and wishing me Happy Birthday, and congratulating me on my performance. A paper plate was turned into an impromptu birthday card, passed round the room for people to sign, and formally presented to me, amidst laughter and cheers (I decided to receive the plate “in character”). I had a couple of glasses of wine. I made conversation with people. I had a good time.

All very ordinary and very commonplace. But for me, this particular evening was the first time in years that I actually felt – normal. Not hiding in a corner, not feeling like a freak, but connected to the rest of the world, and accepted by it. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. From that evening on, the long, slow reconstruction of my personality commenced.

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