Is it wrong that I’m not a big fan of the whole , three-ah, two-ah, one-ah, Happy New Year! shenanigans?
The anticipation of the midnight hour, the clock clicking from one year to another.
Well, okay, if you believe in the ‘Gregorian’ calendar, otherwise known as the Christian or Western calendar that was only finally agreed on in Europe in 1582, that is what happens, so it’s now 2014.
If you are Armenian it’s the year 1463, for your Buddhist’s it’s 2558, the Assyrian one is 6764 and for Chinese it’s 4710 so it’s all a bit random.
In my youth when I’d only ever lived on this island off the coast of Western Europe I, like most people, read a lot into this moment.
It was somehow magical that time could move on, that one moment you were in one historical period, the next moment, boom, it was all new.
Then I grew up and attended various New Years Eve parties which were often fun, sometimes a little lively but generally good humored and harmless.
I can’t remember all of them, there was one in a wonderful farmhouse outside Builth Wells in Wales, one in a Cottage in the Lake District and three in an amazing warehouse space in Bermondsey, London.
Then I started working on New Years Eve and that may be where the rot set in.
A night in the Melkweg club in Amsterdam where The Joeys, the comedy group I was a member of were performing.
That was a hard night to forget.
We were doing a one-week run of our show at the club, the audiences were fantastic, super cool Dutch people who laughed and clapped.
Until New Years Eve and then it was a very different atmosphere, much drunker and more rowdy, we had to work very hard to keep the show going.
We finished just before midnight when some performers from another show appearing at the venue did a ‘streak for New Year.’
For those of you privileged enough to have been born after the fashion for ‘streaking’ had passed, the activity consisted of taking all your clothes off and running around naked. Men and women had done it on football and cricket pitches since the 1970’s and oh, how we laughed.
Anyway, I was bowing at the end of a sweaty and difficult performance and the back of my hand brushed something small, warm and soft. It was the penis of a man called Jango Edwards, a truly extraordinary American performer who had run onto the stage to wish the highly excitable crowd a Happy New Year.
On another New Years eve, the last time I ever performed on the auspicious night, we were appearing at the Albany Empire in South East London, again we had to work extra hard to keep the show going, the audience were drunk, rowdy and just wanted to party. Instead they had to sit and watch 4 earnest young men doing their comedy act.
I spent that special moment as the clocks went from 1984 to 85 sitting in the dressing room with Arthur Smith moaning about life, show biz and the state of the nation.
Oh the joy we had.
Then I went to Australia and it was all very odd. I had my New Years Eve a full 10 hours before the population of the UK. By the time they were doing the countdown in London I was having my breakfast in the hot early morning sun.
That made the moment even more random.
Since having children I haven’t really noticed New Years Eve, I’ve generally been in bed because I would have to get up early to give my lovely babies their breakfast at 6:30am.
Oh, the joy they bring.
Then those divine babies grow up and start imbibing substantial quantities of fermented vegetable liquids. That can be messy.
Last night my daughter had a New Years Eve party at our house, only a handful of truly delightful teenagers attended and they were all lovely. Okay, they were a little the worse for wear by midnight but there were no calamities and everyone seemed happy.
I was asleep as the midnight bell tolled in the village church. I don’t remember anything about it, and d’you know what. It’s fine.
Now I don’t ‘hate’ New Years Eve like I used to. It’s an excuse for a big party, have fun, do the countdown, cheer, get pissed, wake up on January the 1st feeling like a dog’s scrotum has been resting in your mouth all night and compare notes.
I cooked the teenagers a load of bacon sandwiches this morning and some of them managed to eat them.
It’s all very peaceful now.
So, here’s to a wonderful 2014.