Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Sheet of Celebration

My impending birthday has led to thoughts of celebrations in the South Wales Valleys where I grew up. The highest honour which can be bestowed upon a celebrating inhabitant is to have their name and occasion spelt out in enormous, elaborate typography and strung high above their town or village for fellow residents to see and rejoice in. Perhaps you're imagining some gorgeous, glittery bunting, fantastic artwork, or even a flashing computerised billboard, Times Square style. Reverse those thoughts a little. Actually, reverse them a long way, and picture instead, a crumpled off white bed sheet scrawled on with misspellings in meandering permanent black marker, tied with string or stuck with duct tape to a road sign, bridge, or trees centring a roundabout, sometimes fluttering in the breeze, more often swirling wildly in a wintery squall, ink blurring and smudging with the moisture of precipitation. Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary! Congratulations on passing your GCSES! Congratulations on winning the darts! Good luck for the X-Factor auditions, you're going to be the next Leon Jackson! (Yes, who?)

The sheet of celebration can also be effectively used as a tool of romance. Are you seeking a perfect method of proposal? What could be more romantic than declaring your undying love and desire to spend eternity with that special someone than committing such wishes to a Wilkinson's used bed sheet, under the watchful eyes and gossiping lips of the multiple Mrs Evans' and Mrs Jones' which exist in every valley pocket, as the bus chauffeurs them past en route to the supermarket for their weekly shop and cafe meal deal. Nothing, that's what. Starry champagne fuelled beach picnics or surprise European concerts crumble to cinders in the minds of prospective 'proposees' when confronted with the dream of their name in black marker on a roundabout.

Valley folklore recently released a story, via the overworked lips of said Mrs Evans' and Mrs Jones', that one subject of romantic desire reported her dedicated sheets of celebration to the police, such was their volume. Apparently, there is a fine line between the amount of sheets which can sweep a valley femme off her feet, and the amount which will lead her to have her beau arrested for stalking.

Use the sheet of celebration wisely. Treat with respect and it could enhance many an occasion which calls for commemoration and festivity. I can only hope that I am held in high enough esteem that I will see my name in lights, or rather, blurred permanent ink this Sunday when I turn 30. The sheet of romance I can only dream about. 

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