Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blow The Millennium Part Two

In spite of my race, and the predictable references made against us by dreadlocked hippies on kids TV shows, I am not a massive fan of New Year. I am a massive fan of New Years Day, but anyone who has spent time on the Hobart docks with a dreamy look of indifference at pashing teenagers while to the right their friend crawls along the ground with mini skirted cheeks pressed towards the cold cloudy sky, decorating the pavement with their own essence, will appreciate that a night in watching unfunny comedy reviews of the year or listening to Girls Aloud songs on the IPOD is, if not dis-similar, at least better on your shoes. Besides which, the rather namby pamby excuse of dehydration is a good way to turn down the gentle initial advances of anyone convinced that this year, this year, honestly, the Hobart docks won't be overcrowded and depressing. If I'm honest, I'd quite like to be drunk, but that's basically impossible with Hobarts imposing Maori bouncer collective and Irish Murphys sarcastic horrific frontline of consideration in which open legged fourteen year olds who can't spell their own name as they stumble up the steps are let in as long as they are hot, while the ugly are rejected on the grounds that Superdry, inoffensive makers of inoffensive UK clothes, might be a terrorist organisation. Can't be too careful. I tend to think of New Year as one of those parties the daughter of a prominent local businessman in Burnie would throw which would be built up to resemble Satyricon, but which were only a satire of their ambitions. The only one I went to had more oranges than orgies, a neat pile of sandwiches in the corner, and one of the sloppiest teenage pashes I had ever seen. Luckily, in the face of such a dispiriting let down that wasn't advertised in the brochure, I left after an hour, swiping a 1972 bottle of port as I went, only to miss a nerd being dumped over the side of the balcony. Given the size of my glasses, I left at the right time to go and drink the port on the Stella Maris Caterpillar while several discombobulated hobos wandered around in the cold picking through the bins. It felt like quite a wonderful introduction to the world of drinking since the hype and promise of sophistication and maybe touching teenage boob had ended with a nap under a flimsy cover in the cold surrounded by hobos eating garbage. Someone was telling me something, but I don't think it has sunk in to this day. New Year has always ended up a bit like that - the images in my head of romantic fumblings under fireworks somehow always end up giving way to being turned down by Bridget Taylor lookalikes in less exotic than they appear frocks and queueing endlessly for taxis until my brain explodes...the time, it seems, drags on until Easter...

My own New Years experiences boil down to the recounted story from before of wandering through the Irvine snow in a funk and ending up in someones house at 1 in the morning listening to Blackbox, and a particularly ugly morning after when no one at the party recognised each other, but Blackbox were still against all odds playing on the TV, and my Russell Robertson and video store war in Penguin in 00/01. A year after the Penguin snow I was on Penguin beach listening to one of my more tedious friends telling me endlessly about his love woes. This particular friend didn't ever appreciate just how liked he was, and would later respond to being dumped by a ninja like girl who's horns were obscured by her beanie with a 3 in the morning fit where his entire uni house had to wrestle him down until his face was just a mask of embarrassment, grass stains and shoe imprints. And that was before the cops got there. This year he had simply and somewhat jovially been talked out of a suicide attempt after a different break up (from a girl with huge boobs but wind through the brain) but his wounds were still raw. I distinctly remember sitting with my carefully nursed can of pre mixed happiness, only to find that for whatever reason I and he had been assigned an entire area of the beach to, ahem, talk. I still don't know how that came about, but my own behaviour post Kylie rejection hadn't been impressive, so maybe we deserved each other. He spoke at immense and poetic length about how much loss he had suffered while the waves crashed and lapped along the beach in rhythm with his self pity. Eventually I fell asleep (I wasn't drunk enough to claim a pass out) and when I woke up everyone, including him, had gone. The sunrise was ridiculously beautiful, as through tortured eyes and with shut down ears ringing with a hundred variations on the word I had all of my senses focused entirely on the sunrise. I wish I could explain the vividness of the colours I saw, and the beauty of nature and how small and insignificant I felt at the moment, the sheer vulnerability I felt of being just one man with a pile of problems in a crazy mixed up world...and I would have come up with a cogent similie had, at that exact moment, some people in a white combi van hadn't decided to blast out 7BUs 100 greatest songs with rock in the title at a million decibels, with Eagle Rock apparently their anthem. In the midst of some serious questions about my life, and a moment of beautiful natural beauty, akin to Bridget Taylor, I was forced to accept that I had been given a sign and the sign was the Eagle Rock. I had to get myself up out my little sand fox hole and go home while a girl who looked like Lorinda from Girlfriend loudly proclaimed to everyone how good a root her boyfriend was...welcome to 97 kid, yer gonna love it...

Nothing though compared to the horror of the Millennium. I should point out that, somewhat against the advertising of the year 2000 that was promised by Prince and Jarvis Cocker, I had no friends as I was in the middle of my triangle of years where a mobile phone was simply a prop in my life with no actual value. As a result, I spent the passing of time that ticked into 2000 with my Mum, my Dad and my adopted Korean cousin, who in the interest of accuracy, once said that the problem with Melbourne was too many Asians. In fairness, my Dad was a bit of a pisshead who was up for a bit of mischief, but it was still my Dad. It wasn't a bad night with the exception of three distinct mis cues. The first was definitely my own fault. I can't remember if Dad and I had an argument, or I had decided to just have a wander around the magic of Salamanca, but as I passed the corner of that little concrete bit just before the Law Courts (one of my projects was to see how long a copy of Rolling Stone I left littered outside the law courts was still there for - two years, without a word of a lie, when it was removed I almost cried) there was a beautiful girl standing all on her own with big hooped earrings and a tight mini skirt, not to mention the classic hows your father pose with one leg against the wall said in a husky voice happy New Year. Now, idiot that I am, I said Happy New Year in return...and kept walking. It was only later I realised this is not the right track to take in this situation. In fairness, there is every chance, and in fact a very real chance, she was a prostitute, to which most of my friends would say so, you have cash and spare time don't you? Instead of using my time to get Salamanky (Scottish joke) with hooped earring girl I had raced back to the pub to drink pints of vodka with my Dad, who was telling me all about just how much he loved the Manchester United football Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, seemingly a lot more than he loved me. All around us people were trying to join us at our table to try and scav drinks off us without buying their round, and Dad took this in stride, calling everyone pal and using flinty Paisley charm to keep everyone off balance. It was then that I saw the famous Hobart promotions model that I use as my basic drunken template, crawling up Salamanca oblivious to dangerous taxis heading in her direction, looking for her keys as he cheeks pressed daintily against the fabric of her mini skirts, a hair extension left as evidence in the gutter, as she blithely chased a set of keys that seemed perpetually out of reach, before the denounement of a casual but emphatic vomit that she took entirely in her stride. Somewhere, faintly, some venue or other was playing Prince, of course, but looking out it hardly seemed like some momentous event...it just felt like Friday in Hobart...

Of course, this failure to pick up had yet to register, and to the slight worry in my head that maybe the Y2K bug (which with young people today seems as problematic as rickets) would kill us all, I stood on the docks shoulder to shoulder with excited happy people watching and expectantly counting down to the hallowed event that was the year 2000. Trouble was, at 5ive, the countdown over the PA abruptly stopped, and 10 seconds later there were fireworks. So much for that idea, although in fairness when the countdown stopped at 5ive there was a genuine frisson of panic that just maybe that Y2K thing was real, articulated in the three second scream of a girl in a mustard coloured top who just yelled a swear word really loudly and threatened to jump in the water and swim for it - the things I've seen in that water love, wouldn't advise it. And that was it, a new millennium had begun with an almighty stuff up, and with me not having picked up, but shaking hands with my now drunken to the point Mum had to tell him off father. In my mind, I am sure they had a fight, but there is no question this is just a composite memory of a million I didnae use the butter knife sure ye didnae arguments that went nowhere. To get home, we had to all pile onto a Hobart Coaches bus - on the way down, a guy had tried to pick a fight with everyone not over forty until he was thrown off, so we were tense, especially when no buses came for a long time. Eventually, a bus driven by the Tasmanian equivalent of Manuel Uribe pulled up. Somewhat against the spirit of the occasion, Manuel had a Santa hat on, and his massive gut was struggling against a nylon brown jumper, so he looked like a drunk geography teacher with a specially modified capsule to fit his giant unmoving legs into. It's fair to see he was absolutely disgusted with humanity, with life, and with the quality of his sandwich, and he hated everyone who came onto the bus, even those who tried to hug him. Under his mirthless watch, with his little beady eyes sunken behind thick rimmed glasses flickering to and fro from his rear mirror to the road, everyone was afraid to move, his tyranny as spread as his legs, and that's how I spent the first embers of this brave new wonderful milennia - trabbed in a fabricy seat with my shoulder pressed against window glass, aware that I had made a social mistake but not sure yet what it was, with a fat bus driver glaring at me from his little disrupted world. As we swept up the Southern Outlet though, he stalled, and then swore, and I knew, at least, somethings would never change...

The GOB Bug would always, always affect grumpy old bastards...

14 comments:

Miladysa said...

... and Blackbox would always be right on time...

Vomitting girls seem to seek (or sick) you out LOL Sorry for that, just my sick sense of humour.

New Years Eve was always a battle ground for my parents when I was growing up - in a bloodless kind of way that is. My father would always don his kilt and make a huge pan of curry. My mother would bake a gigantic meat and potatoe pie. Together they would host a mad party and feed everyone as much curry or pie as they could eat. Heaven helped you if you preferred one over the other.

Happy New Year my friend - let's hope 2009 is a great one!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm glad the millenium insanity is over myself. only 900 and change more years to go to the next.

Jannie said...

I hadn't thought of that whole Y2K thing in years. 'twas quite the big kafuffle, wan't it?

the projectivist said...

good lord.
that little tale of the ghosts of new years past? i get why you're not a huge fan of New Years eve, Miles!

their friend crawls along the ground with mini skirted cheeks pressed towards the cold cloudy sky, decorating the pavement with their own essence,

ewwww!! oh, ewwww!
that's gold, that is.

happy new year, miles
x

Miles McClagan said...

I love Blackbox...so punctual...and I know, I'm like a vomiting girl chaser, it happens so often! Your parents sound a bit like my Mum, she used to make these giant piles of sandwiches which would feed my cousin for weeks because he got given the plate to take away at 5 in the morning. I love competitive feeding though...should be a documentary on it! Ah, 2009, so hopeful!

We had the Olympics here to look forward to as well, so I wanted to get the whole year 2000 out of the way ASAP! I don't think I'll be around for the next bug...

It was a big kerfuffle, but it turned out to be nothing - like Idol really...

No, this was as clear as I could state that I am not a fan of NYE! I have to say the year I got blitzed on gin and wandered off was fun, but the hype really kills it! I'd rather be asleep these days anyway...no one vomits in my house...

Kath Lockett said...

If it consoles you at all, my Y2K celebration was a bit of a fizzer as well. No drunk chicks, angry parents or racist Korean cousins, but a small baby, freezing weather and wealthier, child-free mates who were annoyed that we couldn't afford the thousand bucks required to join in with their plans to hire a penthouse in Southbank.

We stood on the other side of the bay - Indented Head (real name), clad in parkas, baby asleep in her pram, watching the fireworks. Sober. Went to bed and were relieved to see that the much-dreaded Y2K bug hadn't affected the opening of the Indented Head deli or the local servo.

Miles McClagan said...

I hate friends like that who demand you pony up a small fortune - they don't take into account your own position! No-one I knew enjoyed the Millennium, everyone seems to have these horror tales...I couldn't be more relieved that the deli was unscathed...sliced ham for all!

squib said...

Off track here, I just discovered 'International Velvet' in mr.squib's CD collection, it's very good

New Year's Eve is always a horrible let down for me in a horrible mr bean sort of way

One that comes to mind is before the big 2000 one, maybe 98, I was working as a barmaid at a yacht club and I hated it because I didn't know my drinks and I was paranoid that a champagne cork would hit me in the eye. Anyway much to my surprise, I was released about 20 minutes before midnight. I raced around to my grandparents, thinking the family and everyone would be there and it was pitch black because everyone was asleep. So I raced around to my uncle's and he was asleep. So I raced home and grabbed a glass - midnight was fast approaching - and I stumbled around on the foreshore with a glass of something and I listened to everyone hugging each other and singing auld lang syne and I felt like the loneliest person in the universe

Quickroute said...

Had a family reunion in Seville, Spain for Y2K - first time we'd been together for about 12 years - was a blast! - Happy New Year!

Miles McClagan said...

International Velvet is one of my all time favourite albums, not least because I was a fan from the days of super obscure Crai EPs, and then they got famous, so I was chuffed! That's a heartbreaking 98 though...I would have been equally lonely I reckon, although I was probably on the phone to Triple J doing work or summat...can't remember, but it wasn't poignant like that...sob...

Finally, someone who had a good Y2k! I knew eventually I'd find someone!

Mrs Slocombe said...

What would have been the first paragraph for a normal person was genius, down to its essence.
Pro cras, Betty.

Georgie B said...

I think that Y2K thing was completely overblown

As for New Years Eve/Day, it was simply another day in the life of me.

Gave me excellent time to decompress and get caught up on things I never have time for.

In any event, Happy New Years, and here's wishing that 2009 for everyone is a heckuva lot brighter and better than 2008 every was.

SuvvyGirl said...

It sounds as if you have had some interesting New Year experiences. Mine have always been rather dull and uneventful, which is a good thing since bad luck seems to follow me around.

Miles McClagan said...

I was watching the Are You Being Served movie the other day...Mrs Slocombe got a my pussy were frozen solid style joke in 12 seconds into the movie - amazing...Happy New Year!

The most important thing for me was that I had a day off work. That was pretty much it. I'm determined that 2009 will be a great year for me...AND that I will do some proper writing! And won't just watch episodes of The Simpsons...as for Y2K, work had an emergency shelter...says it all!

I'm glad your NYE are dull...most years I'd settle for dull! I was sick this year, so it was fairly dull...bad luck used to follow me around, now it's just drunks...