30 Moments: A birthday project

Don’t you just hate it when your loved ones continually have birthdays!…no…wait…that came out all wrong…ahem…let’s start over…

My then-boyfriend, Richie’s 30th birthday was looming and I really wanted it to be special. We’d had a tough couple of years and sometimes it’s nice to be the one to do some spoiling after you’ve been made to feel so loved.

Richie had just invested in a beautiful new record player but the collection was proving frustratingly slow to amass. The single copy of Blur’s Parklife was great the first 25 times, but it lost its shine once the songs started to make appearances in my dreams. So. I got to work and came up with a cunning plan…30 moments shared for Richie’s 30th year on this planet.

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What was it all about?

There is an almost-tangibility to nostalgia. You pick up a memory. Blow off the dust. And whirl it round your head. Replaying the events; teasing out the story for yourself again. Walking around in your old shoes. It might be that first love, your wedding day, a banging festival in Croatia, the long bus-ride to NUI Maynooth or those heady summer evenings in Eamon Doran’s. It’s fair to say that for most folks there’s a soundtrack associated with certain moments in their life.
That’s what 30 moments was all about. Capturing those moments and sharing them with Richie.

I reached out to some people who touched his life. No one escaped! As well as the nearest and dearest here in Ireland I reached out to friends in New Zealand, Australia, England, Spain and Columbia. Everyone picked a moment in their lives and the corresponding musical accompaniment. Each moment (record) was accompanied by a typed letter telling the individual story. The moments were all lovingly wrapped up in brown paper and tied up with string and waited patiently for his big day to arrive.

Personalised catalogue of memories

The result was not so much a record collection, but a totally personalised catalogue of events from the people who mean the most to Richie.

Since this my Mum has passed away. But one of the lasting effects of this project is that any time we want to we can pick up her record (Procol Harum – Grand Hotel) and letter we can walk through her moment. She has shared a memory with us and in just a little way, it means that every time we put the needle to that particular piece of vinyl, a small part of her is reignited…

Creating your own project

You can do this for a loved one too! It doesn’t have to be records, it could be CD’s (remember them?!) or even books. Or think of the gift of 50 hand-written letters given to someone on their 50th birthday. There’s lots of ways that you could bring this to life in your own way.

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