Words by: Thiamando Pavlidis Art by: Sally Ann Gething
The year is 2004. The month is March. It’s my sixth birthday, and you better believe I want to have a party, and invite all the new friends I’d made in my first ever term at primary school. Here’s how it might’ve gone down.
The most important part of any party if you ask me. 2004 me, much like 2020 me, was very into costumes. It goes without saying that this would be a costume party. As a soon-to-be-six-year-old, I would’ve picked a specific theme, probably “princess” and/or “fairy”. Mum may have intervened and opened the dress code up to just “costume”, as I would likely have invited kids who did not want to be confined to such a restrictive dress code. I still would be wearing some kind of princess/fairy hybrid outfit, complete with pink glitter, sparkles, a plastic tiara, and those awful fairy wings with the wire frame that my hair would always get tangled in.
For this category, I actually went and flicked through my old CD collections to see which ones came out before 2004. Unfortunately my So Fresh: Hits of Autumn 2006 and Crazy Frog CDs didn’t make the cut. So instead, first up, we start with Hilary Duff’s Metamorphosis, but only the first two tracks — ‘So Yesterday’ and ‘Come Clean.’ I have no use for the rest of the track-list. Following this would be Delta Goodrem’s Innocent Eyes, this time allowing for four or five songs. Now, the big guns: my Kylie Minogue two-disc Ultimate Kylie compilation album. We’d skip straight to disc two (I wasn’t ready to appreciate the 80s Kylie hits just yet), and play through all the way to the end. I’m talking ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head,’ ‘Spinning Around’ and ‘Love At First Sight…’ all late nineties to 2003 Kylie hits. The only one we would skip was the last song, ‘Where The Wild Roses Go,’ because we had the music video on an affiliated DVD and it used to scare me. I’m sure Mum would sneak in the Priscilla: Queen of the Desert soundtrack, but I’d allow it. Even at age six I was able to understand the power of disco.
While it is true that I have been very fortunate coming from a Greek family with delicious food, I also live in Sandringham, where oregano in 2004 would’ve been considered “exotic.” Instead, we’d opt for the classics: giant plastic bowls of chips (plain, thanks), mixed lollies, fairy bread, cocktail frankfurts, and maybe even what Mum would call “inoffensive greek food” — small homemade spanakopitas and maybe some mini meatballs. This was still ten times the amount of food at anyone else’s sixth birthday party. Mum would watch closely as the kids whose parents don’t usually allow them to eat junk food (or sugar/artificial colours/ anything that wasn’t carrot sticks) ignored the pastries and meatballs she spent time and effort making, and absolutely gorge themselves on lollies and chips, subsequently throwing up.
The cake would have just been a Freddo Frog ice cream cake, because it had a definitive list of ingredients for the kids with allergies. Mum would also put together a nice antipasti platter with olives, dips, and sundried tomatoes for the parents who would arrive to pick up their children, but get roped into having a cheeky wine with Mum and Dad. Speaking to her now about it, she said it was just an excuse for her to drink after “all that.”
My parents would start the party off with some games, usually Simon Says and pass the parcel (to ‘Born To Try’ nonetheless) where everyone would end up with a small prize but eventually the kids would lose interest and gravitate to the trampoline. The invite would have said the party would go for only two hours; in reality, we’d be jumping on that trampoline ‘til nighttime as the adults drank more wine and polished off the meatballs and spanakopita.