It was my Dad’s 50th birthday recently and it made me think and feel a lot of things. I’m an extremely nostalgic person, for everything – I always have been, so as you can imagine, this milestone birthday really sent my mind into overdrive. He’s having a party to mark the celebration in a few weeks’ time and so at the weekend we started putting together a music playlist and sorting through old photographs that we could put up on the walls of the venue. My Dad chose everything that went on the playlist (we’re still adding to it as we speak) and it was really nice to see him excited because obviously, the internet is a magical place – you can pretty much find and listen to any song that’s ever existed – he only ever listens to the radio or CDs so for him to be able to tell me all of these old songs that he used to love and for me to be able to play them for him was great, we had them blasting out of the speakers and he was having the best time, it was really nice.
Things like that really make me smile, because now I listen to that playlist to remind me of my Dad and it reminds me of how happy he is listening to those songs. The next thing that made me emotional was the fact that we got all of our old photo albums out of the loft and went through them to pick out the best ones of my Dad to put on the wall. They contained people who are no longer with us and who I miss terribly, so it was kind of bittersweet – all of the photos were wonderful and everyone looked so happy, but seeing people’s faces makes you miss them, you know? There were photos of my parents when they were teenagers, before they had kids and they looked like they were having the best time ever – so in love, always going to parties and family occasions, socialising and just generally having a great time. It made me wish I was there, it made me miss something that I’d never even experienced. There were old school photos of my Dad when he was a child and looking at them, I’ve never wanted to hug somebody so much. I wish I could have reached into those photographs and given that little boy the biggest hug in the world, for being my best friend and for just generally being the greatest person ever. Not to mention the fact that looking at those photos was like looking in the mirror, we are completely and undoubtedly the same. I look like my Dad more than anyone else.
I’m a sucker for film photography and of course, all of these photos were taken on film. There’s something so authentic about photos like that, it really makes me feel something, it’s like you can feel the same thing that the people in the photographs were. As I was sorting through them there were a lot of hazy Summers and tanned skin, curly hair and white clothing. Everyone looked so happy and young, it was strange to see them all before they had to do the boring adult things like buying houses and getting mortgages. Both of my parents are Caucasian but my Dad for some reason never looked that way, especially in his youth – he had jet black hair (still does) and tanned skin, it was funny actually because everyone who ever met him used to think he was Italian or something, even though he wasn’t. He had an earring like George Michael and could’ve passed for the third member of Wham! (you know where my obsession comes from), as we were going through the photos his face lit up as he sat there explaining all of them to my younger brother who thought my Dad looked like the coolest person (he did). My Dad actually said he might put his earring back in because he realised how much he liked it after looking at all these photos (he took it out years ago), the inspiration from that in the first place came from George Michael who is an absolute love of mine (because of my Dad’s influences), so the whole thing was just really nice. Like I said, he could’ve passed for the third member of Wham! and George has always been such a style icon for me, aesthetically and for who he was as a person, but now looking at these old photos – so is my Dad. Definitely my muse.
Seeing his face light up looking at these old photos and reliving all the great memories really made me smile and also really emotional, listening to his playlist and looking at all these old photos, I did tear up and cry quite a few times, the whole thing was bittersweet. I was happy seeing the happy faces in these photos of my nearest and dearest – the ones who are still here and the ones who have left us, but also sad because all of that is over now and we can’t go back. I can’t bring back the people in these photographs who aren’t here anymore and my parents can’t step into the scene and relive the moment one last time. The time had passed and it made me think about the future a lot, about how much I love my Dad and for some reason it’s like I missed him, even though he was sat right in front of me. I thought about the fact that 50 years had gone by and I probably didn’t have another 50 left. I wish everyone could stay young forever, with bright eyes and smooth skin – youthful looks and full of life, I wish my parents could have stayed that age forever, because they looked like they had the best time, I have never seen two people so happy and full of light. My Mum actually commented on that as she was looking through them, she said “wouldn’t it be nice if you could just choose an age and stay like that forever” and through teary eyes and a sad smile, I said it would Mum, it really would.
All my love,