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{14/12/2012}   The pressure of doing something exciting for New Year’s Eve

I am not a fan of New Year’s Eve and the feeling that you have to do something exciting and debauched.  Last year I stayed in with my partner and we had all kinds of bohemian ideas about writing but we ended up drinking too much and watching Jools Holland.  I guess, in terms of making conversation, it’s the only day of the year everyone is “expected” to do something out of the ordinary to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another.  It is a nice idea, it just seems to end up being a bit stressful trying to think of something cool and interesting to do that doesn’t require taking out a bank loan for and/or consuming silly amounts of over-priced alcohol.

One of my favourite ever New Year’s Eve nights was on a bizarre temple crawl in Nara, Japan, adhering slightly (though with beer involved) to the Japanese tradition of visiting your family or local temple at the very beginning of the year.  We started out as fourpeople, gained a few people, lost a few people and ended up in the small hours just two of us.  It was so unorganised, different and fun.  And it only cost us the cans of lager we bought (classy!) and a few beers in a few bars.

I have also spent New Year’s Eve in Fez, which was also fun for it just being somewhere different and somewhere that alcohol is hard to come by.  We ended up in a random bar drinking a small bottle of beer at midnight.  But it was great because it was memorable; just being somewhere new with a good friend was enough.

In the past, I have been to clubs and pubs, I’ve been chucked out for being larey (shortly before midnight!) and I have walked miles in inappropriate clothing to not have to wait well into the new year for an overpriced taxi.  I have also been to dinner parties, indeed hosted dinner parties, and I’ve been to friends’ houses and vice-versa for drinks, etc, and I have even, somewhat snootily, had New Year’s Eve nights where I’ve not drunk a drop of alcohol and been smugly sober for the start of the new year.  Although once that was because I’d caught a severe chill and was vomiting as the chimes of Big Ben were ringing out from the radio I had insisted be on so I would at least know I had been sick in the old year and the new year!  Even that was memorable!

Some people I know happily spend New Year’s Eve on their own, though I think most people at least stay up (or set an alarm!) to watch midnight things on TV and/or watch fireworks from their windows.  At least they don’t bow to the social pressure of making themselves do something, anything, for the sake of having plans on New Year’s Eve.

As for me this year, I am doing something very exciting, which I’m hoping will be an outdoorsy/foodie/drinkie based celebratory evening where the weather should be bitterly cold (wind chill at least), I will be wearing all clothes I can fit on and where I will be with three good friends.  Yes, I am going to Iceland to watch the Reykjavik fireworks and bonfires and to spend a fair part of New Year’s Day in The Blue Lagoon, yee ha!  I feel no pressure to do anything in particular as just being there will be amazing and I am genuinely looking forward to New Year’s Eve this year!

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