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Friday 21st October 2016


It was my wife’s birthday (luckily I got the right date, unlike when we had to go to register to get married to prove that we were really in love) and we had a well-earned day off. I had planned to bring her champagne in bed, but she’d been out last night and I hadn’t had much sleep and I think if we’d started the day that way then that might also have been the end of the day. But we went for breakfast and then took Phoebe to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. It’s a great museum for the whole family with lots of activities to keep the little ones happy and loads of nostalgia for those of us that are older. It’s a strange visceral thrill to see a toy from your childhood that you haven’t seen for (in my case) maybe 45 years. You get the little surge of adrenaline that you would have had all those years ago, before you remember that you are now (officially) too old to be thrilled by toys. If Peter Kay was ever turned into a museum (and we can only hope that he will be) then it would be the Museum of Childhood and Childishness. And I think that for every 50 minutes of nostalgic fun there would be 10 minutes where the museum had a tantrum and got angry that you were playing with its things. The Museum itself would need to be the centre of attention at all times. Because it’s of childhood, not because of Peter Kay or anything….

I had been here five years ago, when I came to record my reaction to the original Gollywog doll -  and I went to see him again today and he was no less shocking or terrifying. Though all toys become somewhat sinister when encased behind glass. I don’t know what a tiny child would make of it. Phoebe was thrilled to see a lot of the toys, but no doubt confused as to why she couldn’t play with them. That’s the whole point of a toy. And those Star Wars toys, still in their packaging, are thus the saddest toys of all. No one has ever played with them.

Someone should make a film about toys that come to life when no one is looking…. oh yeah. Or a film about a museum where the exhibits come to life when no one is looking…. oh yeah. OK how about a film about a toy museum where after lights out the toys don’t come to life and just sit where they are. It should be 14 hours long and begin as the museum closes and end as it opens again. And maybe just focus on one toy that never moves. I am going to kickstart this.  It’s called “The Toy Museum Where the  Exhibits Don’t Come Alive and We Can Prove It (in a lot of detail)” - though that might give the story away.

It’s stressful having fun when you have a baby in tow, but today we overcame our tiredness for most of the time and it was a great release. I almost fell asleep in the cab on the way to the post restaurant i Mayfair we were going to celebrate. As usual I was fascinated by the other diners in this place. Is this a once or twice a year treat for everyone, or do some of these people dine like this every night? And it’s hard not to feel a bit guilty even if this is just an occasional blow-out. And then easy to forget to feel guilty because the food is so ridiculously delicious. Is equality about ensuring everyone has an equally horrible life or about giving everyone the opportunity to experience this kind of thing? I don’t know, but I am very fortunate to be able to do it every now and again, though would hate to every get to the point where I thought this was in any way normal. When I dropped my napkin someone came to bring me a fresh one because the old one had now been sullied (though to be fair my lap was a lot dirtier than the floor) and when my wife went to the loo, the posh lady exiting the cubicles at the same time didn’t wash their hands. I presume because if you’re rich enough you pay to have all germs eradicated and are never troubled by wee gremlins again. It’s another world. We got lightly smashed and didn’t fall asleep in our food and had the time of our increasingly less young lives. Back to our humdrum lives tomorrow though.

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