Who’s The Daddy column: Celebrating birthdays in style


Cast your mind back to your 14th birthday (long time ago, isn’t it?) and how you celebrated it.

If you were lucky you got dragged out for an awkward pub lunch with your family and possibly one parent-approved friend, a present or two and a fiver in a card off your nan. And you know what, you were happy with that. We all were. Who wouldn’t be?

These days a teenager’s birthday is akin to some sort of week-long North Korean enforced state of celebration crossed with My Super Sweet 16 as the birthday girl/boy is feted by family, friends and people your kids see every day but you’ve never heard of.

Rather than spend the evening with her nearest and dearest, daughter #1 celebrated the occasion of her 14th birthday with her friends at The Ritz in Manchester watching a band called Kodaline. Back in the day when that week’s NME was committed to memory by noon on a Wednesday yours truly knew his music back to front and inside out.

Fast forward 20 years and, to these middle-aged ears, it all sounds the same. There. I’ve said it. Just like your mum and dad said it to you when you were a kid.

Wan-faced indie boys rattling a cricket stump around an oil drum singing songs about feelings to impressionable young girls.

I’m sure there’s more to it than that but then early 90s Glastonbury veterans aren’t their target market. While daughter #1 has the finely honed taste of an over-opinionated music journalist her little sister has little or no interest in it. She’d rather play it and perform it herself. So she does.

Big School have lent her a cello and are giving her lessons (it sounds big, booming and lovely), rehearsals for the Christmas dance show are well on, she sings like a songbird and last Friday she made her bow at The Dukes in Lancaster in her school’s production of King Lear.

Try fitting all that in and a load of homework on top of it and it’s no surprise that you need to set the smoke alarms off in our house to get her off the sofa when the telly’s on. When actors say they’re resting between roles daughter #2 takes it literally, with a Sky remote in one hand and her iPad in the other.