15 years ago | The Metropole Hotel, NEC, Birmingham | 17th February 2008
Fifteen years ago this week, I found myself at an awards ceremony in Birmingham – as one does – and couldn’t wait to get away and drive home. I’d just heard that I’d officially become an uncle for the first time…
Max Bentham was born in Wigan Infirmary on 17th February 2008. By then we already had our own three year-old so the novelty was not of there being another generation but the realisation that I wouldn’t just be a parent but would also get to inherit all the (often cooler) privileges of being slightly removed from parental responsibility. I was fortunate enough to have the same realisation when Max’s sister, Abi, was born the following year.
I should also give a mention to the ‘unofficial uncle’ status I hold amongst the children of close friends – and to all those ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’ who also enjoy that status. Peter Kay once said “He’s not my real uncle – my dad borrowed a belt sander off him once” but this (is it predominantly a Northern thing?) practice of imbuing semi-familial status is a special honour that’s far more profound than merely a work-around to stop kids calling adults by their first names.
It’s been fantastic to watch Max grow and develop over the last fifteen years and it’ll be wonderful to see what mark he (and Abi) will make on the world. In particular, it’s been lovely to help him develop his love of cinema, especially science fiction. Countless Film Night’ appointments in recent years (usually featuring my own version of ‘KFC’) have seen us watch – and discuss – a wide range of films and themes. He’s always amazed me with his perceptiveness and the maturity of his observations.
Eagle-eyed observers may have noticed that this week’s Weekly Pic is taken neither at Wigan Infirmary nor The Metropole Hotel. Similarly, it seems not to include any day-old infants. I have a picture of Max, aged a few hours old but, hey, he’s about to turn fifteen – do you think he wants that kind of thing plastered on the internet? I’m not going to do that to him – that’s what parents are for!
Instead, here’s a picture of the two of us last year at Villa del Balbionello on Lake Como, at exactly the spot where Anakin Skywalker married Padmé Amidala in ’Star Wars Ep. II: Attack of the Clones’. If enabling his inner Star Wars nerd is the only way I’ve ever influenced him, I’d say that was an uncle’s job well done!
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