Happy Birthdays


Richard Lutz starts his day waiting for The Tripler. He explains:

We are one of those homes that still has the paper drifting through our front door each morning. It used to thud– now, lighter, leaner, more economic- it gently drifts.

It heralds the morning and the  rustling to the the least auspicious page but, to us, one of the most important.

No, not the front page- that news is half a day old. Not  sport. That too has been talked through on radio, tv, the net.

No, it’s the birthdays page.

What makes the page such a kick in the bathrobe early in the morning before we raise our swords and  charge into the daylight, is guessing how old each celebrant is.  For instance say Happy Birthday today to actor Michael Gambon (72) boxer Evander Holychild (50) and singer Sinitta (44).

But what makes it twice as challenging is guessing not so much whose birthday it is but which two people have been born on exactly the same day (a doubler) or, more excitingly, three people who came wailing onto this planet on exactly the same day (a tripler).

Today, Friday, 19th October, I can announce a tripler- and boy, you have to know your footie, your entertainment and your medicine to get it right: Step forward Sam Allardyce, West Ham manager  (58); Ken Stott, tv thespo (58); and Jane Collins, chief exec of the Marie Curie Cancer  Care organisation (58).

All three drew breathe for the first time on 19th October , 1954.

Correctly getting  a tripler, or sometimes a doubler,  starts the day off right. Smiles emerge. Then the coffee cups can get rammed into  the dishwasher, the mobile phone finally found on the dining room table where it shouldn’t be and the curtains drawn back to reveal the day with  its small goals, its  small defeats, its small joys.

Here are some others with birthdays today. Without googling (I know you, you rascal) , can you guess the ages: John Le Carre (writer), Bill Morris (union boss), Phillip Pullman (writer), Phil Davies, (rugby star)?

+NB: Congrats to The Lion of Birmingham’s Fourth Estate:  Adrian Goldberg. He has won the Gillard Award for local BBC  radio journalism.