Like most people my age, birthdays haven’t held any real excitement for many years–at least since my mid twenties, when the novelty of celebrating a birthday (or anything else) with booze (wow, it’s a bar!) finally wore off. Still, it has its points. It’s nice, for example, to have a day when there’s an extra reason to pick up the phone, have a few beers with friends, or treat yourself to a new record you couldn’t otherwise justify buying.
I have to say, though, that having a birthday in the social media age is a surreal experience. The first three people to wish me a happy birthday this year weren’t people at all: they were banks. Disconcerting, at best. Then came the robot emails from message boards and online stores. And, finally: dozens and dozens of posts from, yes, old friends I haven’t had significant communication with in months or years, but also what I believe are called, in the parlance of today’s youth, complete “randos.” I mean, who the &$%#* are these people?
By the end of the day I actually felt that all those empty, automatic, absurdly abbreviated, cookie-cutter birthday wishes from people I don’t know in real life were actually bumming me out. Having total strangers acknowledge your birthday cheapens the whole idea of birthday wishes, making messages that should be meaningful seem trivial–and that goes for all “randos” except Patrick Adams, because he’s awesome. In the age of social media, “happy birthday” is the new “have a nice day”–a meaningless little pleasantry, yet another word hollowed out by Facebook and we people who use it.
But it wasn’t a bad day overall. The highlights of my birthday this year was the good old-fashioned elements: the phone calls, buying my daughter a present (yes, that’s how it works in Spain), and treating myself to a few hours of recreation behind the decks. Here is the result: my first all-house-music mix in ages. Perhaps not the best thing I’ve done in recent years, but it was a fun way to spend the morning. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please click that “heart” button, “like” it, and help it rise in the Mixcloud hotlist.