On the Brink

Twenty-one in a few hours. Blimey, did that come around quick! Rolling out the monster-drawing on the table in front of me, it feels like I only started it yesterday. In actual fact, I first put pen to paper just over a year ago – a year which has, what with a summer job, rehearsals almost every night and the trip of a lifetime to Morocco and back, come and gone before you can say Tinariwen. It’s set to be a boiler, too – a whopping twenty degrees, even high up here in the frozen north. Pity it isn’t predicted to go that one degree higher, to tally up with the twenty-one guests at my birthday party and the twenty-one hours I intend to be awake. Almost twenty-one and I’m still ridiculous about fateful minutiae like that. Something to work on over the next few years.

This year I’ve decided not to find myself another year older in Klute in the early hours of the morning. I did that last year. To be precise, I seem to remember not only spending the early hours of the 11th in Klute, but the final hours of the day in the same establishment. Hardly the grandest of venues for a birthday party – but it is Klute, and it’s kind of a local treasure zealously guarded by the student body on a Friday night, so I didn’t exactly see it that way at the time. This year I intend to turn twenty-one in the comfort of my own room. I’ll probably be working on the picture when the clock turns and the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban audiobook I’m listening to will be nearing its conclusion. I predict the beginning of the time-turner escapade when the clock strikes midnight. How appropriate. I’ll try to get an earlyish night, I suppose. Lord knows I could do with one, after all these recent two o’clock finishes. It’s not the portraits that take so long, it’s the sitting, thinking and planning that occurs whenever I’ve finished one detail. That’s where all the lost hours have gone, I reckon.

So, since it’ll be another busy day tomorrow, I’d better make my plans tonight. And to kick them off, how’s about twenty-one things to do over the next few years?

  1. Learn to drive
  2. Learn to play bass guitar
  3. Teach yourself ki-Swahili
  4. Teach yourself German
  5. Visit every Spanish communidad autonoma
  6. Go to a music festival
  7. Finish that picture
  8. Find a palatable alcoholic drink
  9. Get into a new genre of music
  10. Get a girlfriend
  11. Decide on a new adventure
  12. Cut chocolate from the diet
  13. Find a new hobby
  14. Learn a martial art
  15. Go for a real all-nighter in Spain
  16. Set foot in the Sahara
  17. Give an animal-related job a try
  18. Set foot in the Americas
  19. Be more like my younger brother
  20. Learn to be happy with who and what I am
  21. Rewrite the book ONE LAST TIME and take it to a publisher’s

I think that’s a nice little set of tasks. Not exactly Herculean, but there’s a few worthy challenges in there. These last twenty-one years have been amazing, but for Pete’s sake, I’ll be spending most of the coming year in Spain. It could hardly get any better than that. Here’s to another spectacular, adventure-filled twenty-one years. I should be so lucky! BB x

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