People always dredge out the old adage that you should never meet you heroes, and I’ve some experience of this in the past – I’ve come up with another one following my experiences of last weekend, and that is that irrational fondnesses for a cheesy 80’s film isn’t always best shared in the company of friends in a private cinema screening!

To explain further, my dear brother Rich plotted a surprise for my 30th birthday, which involved me being blindfolded and bundled into a taxi by Cat, after a short journey (which I was trying to keep track of, but lost myself somewhere in Carlton) saw me guided into a room and unmasked to be faced with a load of friends yelling ‘surprise’ – which quite took me aback, and to complete the job of bewilderment Rich arrived in the room clad in a ‘David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King from The Labyrinth’ costume!

It transpired that he’d been conspiring and beavering away for some time to organise a surprise private screening of The Labyrinth – a film that both myself and Rich, and coincidentally Cat too, have an unnatural soft spot for, in the Paul Smith designed Screen Four at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham.  It’s easy to say that you have a cheesy favourite film to people, it’s a strangely uncomfortable experience to realise that particular part of your soul is being laid bare on a silver screen infront of you all!

Still, as Hoggle would say, you can’t take anything for granted!  A scene in the film which is very familiar to me caused peals of laughter from all assembled, self included – it had never occurred to me watching the film through a veil of familiarity that when Hoggle falls to his knees in fear at Jareth’s feet, that he ends up eye-to-eye with Bowie’s very prominent ‘trouser aubergine’ (which Rich recreated disturbingly for his costume!), and could, perhaps, have been contemplating a quick toot on the Goblin King’s ‘pink oboe’…

With the film over there were further drinks and a rather splendid buffet a chance to have a proper chat with the tremendous array of folk who’d travelled from near and far to join in my festival of embarrassment – complete with some particularly choice photos of my childhood that Rich had picked out to be festooned around the bar area in time for our return from the film – cheers, Rich! (My favourite, which I’ve included here, is me clearly showing that I paved the way for Pete Doherty’s look!).

It was great to catch up with so many folks I don’t see enough of, though, and once the initial shock of it all (contrary to the perception of many, I absolutely abhor being the centre of attention so it took some time to adjust to this way of being), I had a really good time and it’s really quite moving that folks are prepared to go to such an effort to organise and take part in a surprise like this.

So thanks to all concerned, not least Rich and Cat who were largely co-conspirators on the day, but to everyone who came too – it certainly beat the day of loafing I imagined I was going to enjoy on my birthday!  There’s more pics on Rich’s website, I’m not sure why I’m linking to it as they’re awful!

I am now very much in the market for ideas for some suitable form of revenge for Rich’s 30th in late 2009, so do feel free to send me any ideas you may have… although I already have a couple of things winging around my head!

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