If I was living in the opposite hemisphere, where the New Year starts in the middle of summer, I might feel differently but here in London, New Year’s Eve pretty much always sucks.
There’s been the odd year when it’s been just about bearable but if you’re thinking I’m a miserable Grinch (which, admittedly, I am sometimes), here’s just a few examples of previous New Year’s Eves I have survived:
The night that we went late and happy to a house party, only to find everyone sitting around in dead silence watching a supremely depressing late night episode of Eastenders. Out of politeness and a whole heap of optimism, I stuck it out for about half an hour but when midnight came and still no-one said anything, I faked a trip to the loo and ran out the front door only to see another freaked-out party-goer had had the same idea and was running down the street screaming an endless ’Aaaaaaaaggggh!’ Couldn’t have put it better myself.
There was the time that I went with a crowd of friends to Parliament Square to hear Big Ben ring in the new year – only the bell didn’t ring at 11pm (a few in our gang were from Germany so we were celebrating an hour early too), nor did it ring it midnight. Everyone stood around the square, kettled in by police, debating whether the clock was broken or whether we all had the wrong time. At about four minutes past, someone declared it the New Year and a few corks popped. Yip! Those Big Ben bongs which you hear on the TV or radio are not live my friend, it’s just pre-recorded fakery.
There was the time we queued for over an hour to be squished so fire-hazardly tightly into a club that there was condensation dripping all over us from the low ceiling above – only to have the bar shut at 12.30 and the staff couldn’t get us out of the door quick enough. That very crap night, followed by the endless wait in cold drizzle for a bus/cab/donkey home, was almost the final straw for me and New Year’s Eve, but not quite.
The millennium NYE was fairly crap. About 3am I left a stupefyingly drunken boyfriend in west London and crushed onto the tube to Highgate with my flatmate and his girlfriend, who bickered with each other all the very long way home, each trying to get me to side with them in the argument.
A year later, I was so miserable that on New Year’s Eve I drank everything in sight and copped off with someone so young he was barely legal. Then I proceeded to throw up for the next 12 hours before recovering on the sofa with chocolate milk and Mary Poppins.
Since then, I’ve eschewed NYE and in previous years have even volunteered to work the night shift. Actually, those were some of the better ones. At least we got to go up on the roof and watch the fireworks over the Thames at midnight – unlike half the poor punters at ground level who were stopped by the police from going onto the bridge to watch for ‘overcrowding’ reasons.
So this year, before the ghastly televisual crapfest that is Jools’ Annual Hootenanny starts, I will be burying my head under the duvet and dreaming of snow. It’s definitely one of the better ways to start a new year.