‘My days of allnight parties are over’


Passport photo, 1998

As my 40th birthday approached this week, I found myself casting about for an insight or a lesson or a fear to impart, as I slipped into my fifth decade.

Nothing pretentious, or too light-hearted, or egotistical, of course. It wasn’t easy.

And then I came across a Roger McGough poem, which – as my days are, thankfully, “rarely unruly” – summed it up better than I could.


Not for Me a Youngman’s Death

Not for me a youngman’s death

Not a car crash, whiplash

John Doe, DOA at A&E kind of death.

Not a gun in hand, in a far off land

IED at the roadside death


Not a slow-fade, razor blade

bloodbath in the bath, death.

Jump under a train, Kurt Cobain

bullet in the brain, death


Not a horse-riding paragliding

mountain climbing fall, death.

Motorcycle into an old stone wall

you know the kind of death, death


My nights are rarely unruly. My days

of allnight parties are over, well and truly.

No mistresses no red sports cars

no shady deals no gangland bars

no drugs no fags no rock’n’roll

Time alone has taken its toll


Not for me a youngman’s death

Not a domestic brawl, blood in the hall

knife in the chest, death.

Not a drunken binge, dirty syringe

“What a waste of a life” death.


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2 thoughts on “‘My days of allnight parties are over’

  1. Beth says:

    Happy 40th! I recently turned 50, but it doesn’t seem possible. Five decades? Half a century? I’ve lived them all without regret and now I’m faced with the question of how to live out the next half of my life. The word potential keeps coming up because the reality of it is the potential of the first 50 years is no longer available. I’m happily married, but will never again experience the early days of discovering love. I’m the mother of 4 daughters and will never again experience the uncertainty of early motherhood. My career is flourishing but I’ll never again wonder what I’ll be when I grow up. Travel, enjoying family and friends and passing my experience onto others is what I’m looking forward to. Come to think of it, I’ve passed from potential and uncertainty to something more solid. Hope you’re feeling the same!

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