Happy New Year!

Another year, another NYE. I was just discussing previous New Year’s Eves with Him Indoors and we were listing off some of our favourite escapades. It gives us a good excuse to stay quietly at home this year – “I couldn’t possibly top 1999, so why bother?”

As children we celebrated at home – the one day of the year when bedtimes weren’t enforced. My mother suggested that we should go to Scotland for Hogmanay. We never went.

One year, must have been 1992, I went to a house party in Brighton that ended up with us dancing a conga line down the street at midnight. The tune I most associate with that party would be The Clash’s Rock the Casbah.

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Another year – couldn’t say which, though it was broadly the era of Britpop – I was at a club on Oxford Street. Syndrome? Probably. The obligatory midnight kiss from the person dancing next to me turned out to be Fuzz from Silverfish – an occasional drinking buddy I thought was a cutie. Result! Through the alcoholic haze and distant fog of memory, I just recall it being a fun night out.

(Pulp’s Disco 2000 being something we probably danced to.)

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I’ve probably mentioned 1999 before. I started off watching those sentimental celebratory TV countdowns, and was moved to tears by a pair of sisters being reunited on live TV after 40 years of separation. I fixed my makeup and went out, being greeted by cheery cries of “Happy New Year!” from passing strangers – this in West Norwood, a neighbourhood so deadly I’d take a cab the 10 minutes home rather than risk being shot.

I had KMFDM on my walkman.

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I picked up a bottle of bubbly from the corner shop and went to a house party in Thornton Heath. We played Xorcist’s 1999 at midnight.

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Determined not to miss out, I arrived at London Bridge while the fireworks were still exploding, and raced to The Fortress studio where there was another party, this one attended by my best friend, Giles.

Pig were playing a live set.

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I spent most of the night chatting to Raymond’s brother Mike, and took the most unflattering photo of him (think: drunk, double chin), which is still regrettably in circulation. I’m not sure if it was Julian’s or Steve’s house we piled back to afterwards, but there were more guests than sofa space and people packed like sardines in the living room. They made everyone toast in the morning.

It all goes a bit blurry after that – I think I went to the pub. All I know is that when I got home, it was a good 72 hours since I’d left the house and my hangover lasted for days. (edit: I went clubbing – NYE was a Friday, so I still had a Saturday night to go.)

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I got a bit old for it after that. There’s only so many times you can stagger home drunk, and celebrations dwindled to a few quiet pints in the pub, to a bottle of wine at home. The year before last, the cork burst off in a shower of fizz that drenched the kitchen floor and I wound up seeing the year in with a can of lager.

This year, I’ll also be christening the year with a solitary can – the first I’ve indulged in for nearly a year.

I’ll probably manage half.

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