Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Here we are again. It’s New Year’s Eve; that one night in the year where boredom and sadness are magically abolished, when ‘fun’ is enforced in parties across the world with a quasi-totalitarian insistence. Anyone who doesn’t have the time of their life on New Year’s Eve – or at least does not pretend to – is a bore, a heretic, an apostate, refusing to partake in the mythology of the New Year.
Because it is, at the end of the day, a myth. An opportunity to celebrate something abstract, ungraspable by most, while not quite knowing why; a chance to spend time with people you don’t really want to see, but act merry and drink heavily. New Year’s Eve is the ultimate saturnalia, a mindless reverie with little purpose or aim.
Even the logistics leave much to be desired; most New Year’s Eve parties are a chance to get excessively drunk at three times the price of an average night out, filled with people claiming to be having “a fucking great time” – parties which never fail to disappoint. Unsurprisingly, given that the bar of enjoyment for New Year’s Eve is set so unrealistically high.
As you can probably tell, I’ve never really enjoyed New Year’s Eve celebrations. All of a sudden, we are showered with end-of-year lists, vainglorious Facebook statuses which sum up people’s achievements over the last year, lists of flatulent predictions for the one to come and, worst of all, conceited New Year’s Resolutions which either won’t materialise or are of little interest to most of us. Do people really expect to change their lives and those of others through some kind of millenarian inspiration caused by the arbitrary machinations of the Gregorian calendar or the position of the earth with relation to the Sun. I personally prefer the Alexandrian calendar, which started the year on the 29th of August. With Christmas so close, surely we could spread out our celebrations a little?
Soon, the text messages from people you have hardly ever spoken to, the Snapchats, the Facebook statuses and broadcast Whatsapps will begin to pour forth with a brimming enthusiasm which is quite frankly astounding. New Year’s Eve encourages a vain sense of hope and joy, an unrealistic expectation which can only disappoint. It’s an excuse to be happy about something which is of little more consequence than the passing of another day. What, essentially, are we really celebrating, but the passage of time? It is a fallacy based on unrealistic hopes; it doesn’t matter how shit our lives might really be, for this one day every year we can pretend otherwise.
Don’t get me wrong – any other time of the year I am the first to enjoy a bit of fun. In fact, if people applied the same hope, enjoyment and positivity of New Year’s Eve the whole year round, the world might be a much better place. What I have issue with is the superficiality of New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re having fun or not as long as everyone knows you are. Surely it is too much to ask that everyone’s good mood should miraculously coincide on a single day every year.
In my hometown, Madrid, an increasing amount of people congregate in the traditional Puerta del Sol to welcome the New Year a day early – on the night of the 30th rather than the 31st. I cannot stress enough what a great idea this is; a chance to get whole palaver out of the way, becoming just as drunk as on ‘proper’ New Year’s Eve for half the price and with fewer people, and spending the whole of the day itself in bed with a hangover.
Call me a bore, a wet blanket, a drag, a killjoy, a drip – but this year I will be trying my best to let everyone how much I’m not enjoying New Year’s Eve. In fact, I needen’t even worry about the whole thing since I got the celebrations out of the way about eight hours ago when Sydney’s fireworks started to go off, and I was just finishing my breakfast.