diamond geezer

 Thursday, March 09, 2023

Whatever age you are it's always interesting to look back at what was happening on the day you were born. This is easiest if somebody kept a newspaper for you to read when you were older, although it needs to be a newspaper from the day after you were born to be of greatest use.

The biggest event to take place on Tuesday 9th March 1965 was a human rights march in Selma, Alabama, led by Martin Luther King. It wasn't the first Selma march which ended violently and it wasn't the third march celebrating the introduction of new voting rights, it was the peaceful second march on "Turnaround Tuesday". I particularly enjoyed the Oscar-nominated film Selma because a chunk of the action featured the very day I was born.

Meanwhile in the UK the weather was warming up after a snowy spell, Goldie the eagle was on the loose from London Zoo and a debate was held in the House of Commons on the thorny issue of immigration (the leaders of all three parties agreed that "once immigrants are here they should be treated for all purposes as citizens of the United Kingdom without discrimination"). The latest edition of the NME confirmed that the number 1 record was It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones, a one-week charttopper I'm inordinately pleased with, and the highest new entry was The Last Time by the Rolling Stones.

But what birthday searchers usually want to know is whether anybody famous was born on exactly the same day as them. I've not been lucky. The internet has only thrown up four contemporaries, all from the Americas, namely Benito Santiago (Puerto Rican baseball player), Brian Bosworth (college linebacker), Antonio Saca (President of El Salvador) and Mike Pollock (American voice actor). Mike is best known as "the voice of Doctor Eggman in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise" because that's how unthrilling 9th March 1965's births were.

So I've tried answering another question in the hope that'd be more interesting.

Who was born in the same week as me?

I'm interpreting this broadly in that someone has to have been born within a week either forward or back. That's annoying because Lembit Öpik was born exactly a week before on 2nd March 1965 so he doesn't count, ditto the premiere of The Sound of Music which would be a pretty funky thing to share a birthday with. Likewise I can't count Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England, because he was born on 16th March 1965 and that's exactly a week after me. I don't know what it was about Tuesdays in March 1965 but the famous birthdays include Lembit, me, Mark, Marti Pellow and Piers Morgan.

So what I'm looking for is anyone with a birthday up to six days away from mine, i.e. a thirteen-day spread with 9th March in the middle, which you'd think would greatly increase the chances of finding someone famous. Here's who I've found.
4th March 1965: Andrew Collins, the Northampton-born writer and broadcaster. He cut his teeth on the NME, partnered up with Stuart Maconie on radio, writes film reviews for Radio Times and has just left his job presenting Saturday Night at the Movies on Classic FM. Andrew was born in the same week as me, and I did smile when I reached page 32 of his autobiography where that fact was revealed.

4th March 1965: Paul W. S. Anderson, the director of Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil and Alien v. Predator. Never seen 'em, sorry.

8th March 1965: Claudia Webbe, the MP for Leicester East. Someone born in the same week as me has made it to the House of Commons, elected for Labour in 2019. But she was suspended from the party whip a year later after being charged with harassment, then expelled from the party in 2021 and currently sits as an independent, so maybe not the finest of role models.

11th March 1965: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the flamboyant interior designer. This is more like it, the guru of Changing Rooms is two days younger than me. According to his website he likes to call himself LLB, describes himself as a classically-trained fine artist and "met the incandescence that is his wife Jackie on a blind date in 1985." His beard is now greyer than you remember.

11th March 1965: Jesse Jackson, Jr, the US politician. His dad must have been having quite a week in March 1965 because Jesse Sr was also instrumental on the Selma marches. Jesse Jr followed into Democrat politics and in 1995 was elected an Illinois Congressman, but resigned in 2012 after being investigated for misusing campaign funds and later spent two years in prison.

12th March 1965: Coleen Nolan, the Irish singer. Youngest of the six harmonious Nolan Sisters, later a Loose Woman and winner of Celebrity Big Brother 2017.

15th March 1965: T.G.I. Friday's, the chain restaurant. Alan Stillman opened his first swinging bar on the corner of East 63rd and 1st Avenue, hoping to attract a more female-focused crowd to the New York dining scene. Its motto remains "In here it's always Friday", which is just as well because it opened on a Monday. The first UK TGIF opened in Birmingham in 1986 and the second in Covent Garden a year later (reputedly becoming the highest grossing restaurant in Europe). Pizza Express also started in March 1965, a year prominent in all their branding, but alas on the 27th so not in the same week as me.
I confess I expected more than that. Thirteen days in March equates to 3½% of a year, that's 1 in 28 of all 1965 births. And there were 850,000 births in the UK that year, being close to the peak of the baby boom, so by rights 30,000 people should have been born in the same week as me. But only about 2300 Britons were born on the same day as me, which doesn't actually feel like many at all, and maybe 100,000 people worldwide.

Our birthdays are rarer than we think, and if nobody especially interesting was born in the same week as you that's perhaps not surprising.

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