Sunday 4 December 2016

You really don't need to put all your birthday pics on Snapchat

Sophie Donaldson says the best party memories are the ones you don't want to see photographic evidence of - unlike celeb bashes

Sophie Donaldson

Published 20/11/2016 | 02:30

Kylie and Kendall Jenner on Instagram
Kylie and Kendall Jenner on Instagram
Kendall Jenner
If following the likes of Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner isn’t your thing, you may be reliant on RTÉ to provide quality public service broadcasting Picture: Getty
PARTY ANTICS: Kendall Jenner. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Finally, finally... Kendall Jenner and I have something in common. She recently celebrated her 21st birthday - and when asked her most memorable moment by The Late Late Show host James Corden she said that not throwing up on the night was it. A pat on the back for us both, Baby K.

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Unfortunately for me, that's where the similarities end for our respective 21st birthdays.

While mine was at my parents' home in the 'burbs, hers was at Hollywood hotspot Delilah. She wore a custom-made dress by Lebanese designer Antoine Salameh that cost $9,000 and took two weeks to make. The night was attended by her famous family plus A-listers such as Harry Styles, Cindy Crawford and Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci. The theme was Old Hollywood, they supped on cocktails by Absolut - and she even chugged straight from a bottle of champagne.

Oh, the debauchery!

Kendall Jenner. Image: Instagram
Kendall Jenner. Image: Instagram

I know all this not because I was there (sadly) but because the entire night was documented by either the paparazzi or Kendall and guests' updates on social media.

As the ancient proverb goes, if you have a birthday and it's not on Instagram, were you even there? Apparently not, if the current penchant for frame-by-frame documentation of celebrity bashes is anything to go by.

Personally, I can't think of a less-fun way to celebrate a milestone birthday than trying to think up witty hashtags to accompany a multitude of cropped and filtered photos. Anyway, the best memories are always the ones you really don't want photographic evidence of.

Give me an overcrowded living room and lukewarm fizz any day over Gigi Hadid's 21st in Vegas that involved her posing for the paps in front of an outlandish cake she almost certainly didn't eat.

Give me a tipsy aunt, an iTunes playlist and a slideshow of baby photos projected on the wall. Sir Philip Green was serenaded by Stevie Wonder and Robbie Williams on his 60th birthday, but I would like my best friend on karaoke, please.

Milestone birthdays exist to celebrate that we've made it this far and despite our mightiest efforts they are not supposed to dazzle our guests. There's no point trying, either, when it's likely most of the people attending have either seen you in a soiled nappy or during your awkward 'bucktoothed but brainy' phase. Our 18ths, 21sts and 30ths are a reflection of our journey into adulthood, hence the melting-pot guest list, dodgy soundtracks and venues a bit too close to home.

They can be emotional, these milestones. While they celebrate our achievements and poke fun at our bad haircuts, as the night draws to a close so does a particular chapter of our life.

I spent my teenage years furiously pedalling toward adulthood and on my 18th birthday I recall announcing to my mother, chest puffed out, I'd finally made it. To which she simply replied "Yes, but you've been 18 for quite a few years already," as she blinked back tears. Not really the type of banter worthy of Snapchat, is it?

I'll happily keep celebrating these birthdays in all their home-made glory but if I was choosing an A-list party to attend it certainly wouldn't be Kendall or Gigi's. I'd go back to say, 1977, and slip in the door at 254 West 54th Street in Manhattan. Save for those who were lucky enough to be there, no one really knows what went down during those truly wild nights at Studio 54.

Unlike the lavish affairs of today, all that remains are some grainy photos and even grainier memories of what are rumoured to have been some of the best nights ever, remembered exactly the way a good party should be.

Sunday Independent

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