01 January 2008

'Should auld acquaintance be forgot...

... and never brought to mind, as Robbie Burns once asked. Or Rabbie Burns if you're Scottish. Or Rabbi Burns if you're Jewish, as Eddie Izzard used to ramble.

Two years ago, staying at home for New Year's Eve, my mother accosted me with minutes still on the clock, telling me to put on my coat and to go for a walk, making sure there was money in my pocket, and not to return until after the stroke of midnight. Off I went so, wandering the neighbourhood, until yells and cheers and clattering of pots and pans shattered the nocturnal silence, people rushing out of doors, neighbours greeting each other with optimistic grins. I continued my circuit then, being leapt upon by a gaggle of comely lasses who were free with their affections and generous with their kisses; on disentagling myself I returned to the homestead, there to be met at the door by my mother, pouring me a whiskey.

The year was barely five minutes old, and as one charming friend of mine was later to remark, it had started too well. There was no way it could live up to that. She was right, of course, as though there were candles and stars that lit the darkness of 2006, it was a bleak year by any standards.

Last night saw me spending the night at the house of two friends I don't see nearly often enough, having been invited along a couple of days earlier to join them for a murder mystery dinner. I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that I wasn't the murderer. I was a murderer, indeed a compulsive murderer, but not the murderer. So that's okay.

Come the approach of midnight, champagne was dispensed and glasses were raised as the radio was switched on for the countdown, with the stroke of midnight being followed by the obligatory strains of Auld Lang Syne.
'What the hell does this song mean, anyway?' someone asked, in accordance with equally obligatory tradition.
'It always makes me think of When Harry Met Sally,' our hostess smiled.
'I saw that in the West End a few years ago,' I remarked.
'The one with Alyson Hannigan in?' someone asked.
'Yeah, my girlfriend surprised me with tickets one day when I was down visiting.'
'What was she like? Alyson Hannigan?'
'She was brilliant, actually. Yer man from Beverly Hills 90210 -- not Jason Priestly, the other one -- was pretty wooden, but she was great.'
'What was her orgasm like?' one of the lads chipped in.
'Not as good as in real life,' I quipped, to suitable acclamation and cries of 'You wish!'
And so we settled, and chattered away through the night, with me curling up happily around three and waking none too early, there to push my host's son's buggy as we went off to recycle the evening's bottles before heading round to join the others for breakfast, eventually making my way home.

It was a fine evening, and a lovely morning. I hope it bodes well for the year. I have hopes for 2008. And resolutions, of course, but I've no plans to post them here.

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