TODAY is my birthday.
And it's not just any old birthday because today I turn 50. If you've ever seen a photograph of me, my defence is I've had a hard life.
Anyway, working on the theory that there's no point writing a column in the daily newspaper you edit without indulging yourself from time to time here's my not-particularly-serious guide to the last 50 years.
1966-1969: I'm born at Worcester Royal Infirmary on the day the Beatles top the pop charts with Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine. De Gaulle says 'non' to Britain again – imagine the fuss that would have saved this year if it'd stayed like that. My family moves into a corporation house in Cwmbran. Man lands on the Moon. In what was not a giant leap for needlework, my grandmother makes me a space suit.
1970-1979: Britain moves to decimal currency. Confusion reigns. I discover David Bowie (not literally). In a referendum Britain votes to stay in the EEC. Funny old world. The summer of the drought. Standpipes on the streets and shared baths. Denis Howell appointed Minister for Drought. Rain starts falling immediately. I watch my first football match – Newport County against Charlton Athletic at Somerton Park. I watch my first match at Anfield (a 2-2 draw with Ipswich). I discover The Jam (not literally).
1980-1989: I get sent home from school for wearing a CND badge. Inspired by Groucho Marx – 'Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.' – I never wear it again. The Falklands War. O-levels. A-levels. I start work as a trainee reporter on my local newspaper, the now-defunct Evesham Admag. The miners' strike begins. I discover The Smiths (not literally). Canaries are made redundant in coal mines. They aren't the only ones. I join my second paper, the brilliantly-named but now-defunct Worcester Source, as chief reporter. I join the Argus as a sub-editor. Newport County fold. Hillsborough.
1990-1999: I backpack around Eastern Europe having taken a year to get all the necessary visas. By the time I go, the Berlin Wall has fallen and I don't need any of them. I get married and have kids. Dunblane.
2000-2016: The new millennium, bringing with it a non-existent 'bug' that makes fortunes for computer 'experts'. The internet changes newspapers forever, for both good and bad. September 11, 2001, changes the world forever, mostly for bad. I leave the Argus to become editor of the Worcester Evening News. I get divorced. Newport County return to the Football League after a 25-year absence. I return to the Argus as editor, and next year we'll be celebrating our 125th anniversary – which makes 50 slightly easier to bear.
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