Monday, 14 July 2008


True, it may be my

but that's no excuse for...


Anyway, here I am entering - with some considerable trepidation - the last year of my fifties...

I'm now one year nearer the bus pass and a myriad of things which I really do not wish to even contemplate!

Whatever became of that sunny little fellow (left) beaming at the camera in his first school cap and tie?

Of course, I remember being him, but what I now realise is that when you are really young - before the onset of teen-angst, I mean - you hardly ever think about what it was like when you were younger and never about what it would be like to be any older...

Funny that...

Nowadays, I think about both quite a lot!

I cheer myself up by recalling a quip of the great VICTOR BORGE (self-styled 'Clown Prince of Denmark') who once remarked:

"I don't mind growing old. I'm just not used to it."

Borge's love of music and his sense of fun was utterly infectious. We twice saw this brilliant Danish musician and humorist live in concert and on both occasions were reduced to helpless, tear-shedding laughter. I remember him watching a pair of latecomers finding their way to their seats - in the middle of a row - and commenting: "Good evening! I managed to get here on time and I came from Denmark!"

Here are a few of his other best-loved witticisms...
I'd like to thank my parents for making this night possible. And my children for making it necessary.

I love this piano... I get about four sonata's to a gallon of red wine on it...

[Inspecting the piano] Hmmm… Steinway & Sons. Didn't even know he was married.

[Referring to the piano's natural shape] Isn't it a shame when those big fat opera singers lean against the pianos and bend them?

I normally don't do requests. Unless, of course, I have been asked to do so.

I only know two pieces, one is 'Clair de Lune', the other one isn't.

The difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer.

Ignaz Friedman's dead now—I sincerely hope, because they buried him about 28 years ago.

I'm going to play it with both hands so it will end faster.

There will be no dancing during this number... unless you absolutely have to!
And whenever he made a seeming linguistic faux pas:
It's your language, I'm just trying to use it...
Anyway, I'm going to celebrate being almost-nearly-sixty with this rendition of that little song customarily played on this day, as rendered - after a few amusing preliminaries and with a little help from one or two other musical 'greats' - by this adorable, incomparable man who used to say - and proved - that "laughter is the shortest distance between two people."

Don't Forget...

I make a guest appearance on tomorrow's BBC Radio 4 programme, BEFORE YOUR VERY EARS, an investigation by Grant Gordon into the tricky business of making magic on Radio. The programme goes on air at 11.30 am and can be heard for the following seven days via 'Listen Again' on the BBC website.


Tom said...

Happy Birthday Mr Sibley!! :D

Boll Weavil said...

Happy birthday Mr B ! Hope you have a great day and Buttons makes a new friend. Great to see old Victor mentioned... I remember seeing him 'perform'many moons ago.I think half his act would have disappeared with the introduction of the smoking ban ! Like you I can feel the onset of age today because I can remember some of those jokes ! Ahhh the advancing years ! Have a great day.

Eudora said...

Felíz, felíz en tu día
amiguito que Dios te bendiga
que reine la paz en tu día
y que cumplas muchos maaaassss!!!.

Be happy, be happy in your day,
little friend, God bless you,
Reigns the peace in your day
and many happy retuuuuuuurrrnnnss!!

This is the spanish version of the "Happy Birthday"; a famous composition of "The clowns of the tv":

As the writer José Saramago say, we spend the days with the child we were....

Phil said...

Happy Birthday Mr S. (and to the little boy in the cap. That can't be you, surely. Where's the beard? :-) )

Good Dog said...

Have a very Happy Birthday! I hope the broken foot isn't getting in the way of having a really great day.

Brian Sibley said...

TOM, BOLL, EUDORA - thanks for your myriad greetings! :-)

PHIL - I must have shaved that morning...

GOOD DOG - Well, of course, I shan't be able to attend my usual Monday night Flamenco Class, but otherwise I shan't let it interfere with birthday pleasures. Unless, that is, Toffee Fudge Cake and ice cream inhibits the mending of broken bones - which is, I suppose, a distinct possibility... ;-)

Rena Fan said...

Happy Birthday, Brian! Many many many happy returns!

Brian Sibley said...

Greetings from Greece? Lovely! Thanks, RENA FAN!

Oh, and if you'd like to check EUDORA's YouTube birthday song (see above), here's a click-able link...

Bela said...

Joyeux Anniversaire, Brian! And Happy Bastille Day, too!

Victor Borge was hilarious. :-)

I will probably listen to your programme later: 11.30 is still a bit too early for me.

Suzy said...

Να ζήσεις Ο Brian,
Και χρόνια πολλά,
Μεγάλος να γίνεις
Με άσπρα μαλλιά.
Παντού να σκορπίζεις
Της γνώσης το φος,
Και όλοι να λένε
Να ένας σοφός

Long may you live Brian
and may you live many years
may you grow old
with (white)grey hair
May you spread out everywhere
the light of knowledge
and may everyone say
there (he is) a wise man.


Brian Sibley said...

French! And more Greek! Thanks BELLA and SUZY!

LisaH said...

Very many happy and healthier returns, Brian.


Andy J. Latham said...

A very happy birthday Brian! At what age do you start saying that to peaople, follwed by "...and may there be many more to come"?

Many happy returns!!