What’s a life look like when the reader only gets to see the birthdays? The Birthday Scrolls is a memoir of Newcastle bohemian Geoff Nicholls’ birthdays between the ages of 21 and 60. Pre-gentrification Newcastle, bands and parties mingle with visits to psychiatric wards, concerts in Sydney and, as the years go by, work at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, yoga, singing, uni. Geoff writes with humour and candour of his passions and foibles, but also of the peaks and troughs of birthdays, including those he winds up celebrating by himself. It’s a brave and poignant set of recollections of a life lived at a tangent to the mainstream, that explores family, loneliness, friendship, and the transcendence to be found in art.