In the process of sorting out What To Do On New Year's Eve this year, I found myself running through a mental checklist of ghosts of New Years past. Because (and this is perhaps one of the few 'normal' things I actually do) I always desperately want to have the Best New Year's Eve EVER, because it's the Best Party Night Of The Year, but in the course of the last 30 years or so I have only had about 10 New Year's Eves that were really any fun. Most of them have involved being squashed in nightclubs, failing to pull, rowing with numpties, crying in the bogs (not necessarily crying myself but getting lumbered with comforting someone who is doing so) and repeated cases of making the wrong party choice and becoming aware of it very early on but too late to change things.
Why not get some nice posh food in and some DVDs and spend it at home? That's what lots of people say whenever I start to whine and flail and hunt for party invitations or at least details of which club/bar/party my mates are going to be at. Well, because that is not my idea of fun. I don't mind being in my own home, eating pleasant things and having a drink, but that's what I do most nights anyway. It's not a celebration to me, to sit in my own front room. I have never, ever understood people who would rather stay indoors and watch television than be out and about when they had the opportunity to do so, still less do I understand the idea that sitting on your arse on the sofa in front of Celebrity Pet Executions or Vaguely Attractive People Do Heteromonogamy is some indication of moral superiority or maturity.
This year I thought I had it sorted nice and early: party at friends' house which was suitable for Trainboy as well as me. Then it all started to go wrong; the only other people with kids Trainboy's age couldn't go, I started fretting about the sheer distance (overnight stay job) if Trainboy got the hump, and ultimately I worked out how scarily expensive the fares would be, so decided to bail from that party and hunt for another one. With no luck.
So I ended up in a miserable sulk, convinced that no one likes me or Trainboy, that we have no friends and are complete social failures when the reality is probably that people have all sorts of different plans for the evening and the bulk of them are simply not that child-friendly.
Still, I am eternally optimistic and have managed something of a plan for a New Year celebration that will suit both Trainboy and me. Chopwimp, who is quite usefully upfront about his lack of interest in the festive season, has agreed to come and look after Trainboy on New Year's actual Eve, so I can go out in adult-only company, and then on New Year's Day we will go to a nice miniature steam train rally and have a good lunch somewhere nearby.
So have a good New Year even if you do spend it in front of the telly. At least Jools Holland is probably on, and at least his programme is quite good even if it was recorded in July.