KL.FM Off Air, by Ross Birkenshaw, February 23

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It’s probably sung millions of times each and every day all over the world, but you may not realise singing the traditional “Happy Birthday” song isn’t actually free. It’s always been claimed a music publisher owned the rights to the celebratory ditty, but at the end of last year a judge ruled the tune could finally enter the public domain. That means everyone can finally be free to sing the world’s most famous song for free.

It’s quite apt that this is happening now, as in a few days’ time I shall be turning yet another year older. Another 365 days have passed and what a year it’s been! A brilliant new job, a move from Kent/London to King’s Lynn and meeting just a small handful of utterly brilliant people that make West Norfolk the fantastic place it is.

But before you get any ideas of serenading me with a verse or two of “Happy Birthday”, please think again. For many reasons I no longer celebrate my birthday, haven’t done for several years now. In fact, as each year goes by, I feel less and less inclined to give it any acknowledgement whatsoever. For those of you who hear me reading the news every morning, and know my moniker as “Grumpy Ross”, this admission may not come as a surprise. I’ve even gone to the lengths of vanishing to another country entirely to escape the day.

When friends, and most recently the team here at KL.FM ask why I have such an aversion to celebrating my birthday, I always remain tight lipped. “Oh can’t deal with getting old, is it?” is the usual response. I’ve always subscribed to the idea of age is but a number. How very true that can be! Each morning, Si on the Breakfast Show tests me on my knowledge of celebrities and how old I think they are. I’m not very good at it. I either have no idea who they are and even if I do, I more often than not get their age horribly wrong.

The passing sands of time escape no man (or woman) and that’s something none of us can escape. However, when it comes to birthdays, getting older and whether to celebrate or not, I’m reminded of one of the best advertising slogans ever used. It was for a well-known footwear maker and had the line; “Act your shoe size, not your age”. Utterly brilliant in my mind and something I try to live by. If it’s your birthday this week or soon, many happy returns and I hope it’s a great year for you. As 
for me, I’m off to find somewhere dark and quiet and have a G n T!