A while ago I spent a few stressful hours collating a ‘party mix’ playlist for my recent 50th birthday party. A seemingly simple task which proved anything but, as the adage of ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time,’ rang true as I proudly gave it a first public performance in the car with the wife and t’kids.

With a range of ages in attendance from ten to 90, there was no one ‘best fit’ theme, so the playlist found me veering from 80’s classics such as Men at Work 'Down Under’ to ‘Don’t Go’ by the Hothouse Flowers up to Whitesnake, Justin Trousersnake and into current climes with Jason De’rulo.

Expecting a virtual pat on the back from the family, I could sense their disdain as they questioned how, after filling the dancefloor (marquee) with 'Dancing Queen' by Abba, I could then hit the 70’s disco fans with 'Back in Black' by ACDC and, I guess, they had a point.

The party playlist is, to a man, very similar to a barbeque. When in charge it is MY domain and woe betide anyone who makes a challenge to be the dominant male. It has happened with the music at previous soirees as we try to get as much mileage out of the summerhouse as possible when, believing I am catering for all musical needs, some young millennial type, the moment I sneak off to relieve myself in the latrine, overrides my Bluetooth connection and lays some non-descript rubbish through the Sonos speakers which, to my double chagrin, the other attendees seem to prefer.

But this time it's different and its my party so ill cry if I want to (and yes, that makes the cut), as I marry myself to the boombox with music controlled light system. My only concern was therefore, apart from irritating everyone in attendance with my musical direction, that of trying not to, in these woke times, offend.

Queen's ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ is there, as it is a corker, yet I have been mentally imagining all the females' behinds to ensure I don’t inadvertently offend, the same of which can be said with the inclusion of ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady’ by Aerosmith, which I am sure is as politically correct as a 1970’s male Met Police officer.

The Beatles of course are worthy of an appearance, along with the Kinks, despite my expectation as to the first rumblings of discontent from the aforementioned millennials who will sidle up to me in a non-discreet manner to enquire ‘what’s this sh*t?’ before I try and fail to school them on the musical genius of Ray Davies and his village green preservation society.

The real issue though was the final section: Should I have gone for some absolute bangers to leave the expectant whooping as they increase the decibel levels and annoy my neighbours even more than is humanly possible, or do I slow it down as I act as a one man aphrodisiac before sending the sloshed middle aged incumbents off to their hotel rooms at the local hostelry with a bit of Barry White?

In reality, as I flagged around 2am and wished those getting their second wind would now bugger off, I managed to clear the decks with the aid of Chris de Burgh, James Blunt and Enya as they sailed away into the darkened drizzle, and I got back to being an anti-social grumpy middle aged man whose partying days, like my musical tastes, are now in the past…

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher who lives in London Colney