I’m afraid we ignored New Year’s Eve celebrations recently. My wife, Jacqui, and I simply sat at home, enjoyed a very nice home-cooked meal, washed down with a couple of rather special little wines we bought for the occasion, and then we watched a couple of excellent films on Netflix. We were in bed by 10:30pm, sober, refreshed and not worrying about any ill-considered things we might have said to friends, had we been with them (and a bit drunk)!
Not only that but we both woke up at 5:30am on New Year’s Day to bright, warm sunshine, feeling great and ready for a busy day of doing nothing! Apparently, the eight friends we usually go out with on Fridays, for a meal and a glass of wine at our local pub, took the same approach to the evening too, so I guess we were all sleeping like babies by the time midnight arrived.
Talking to other friends and acquaintances on January 1, it was fairly apparent to me that New Year’s Eve has lost some of its old charm. Most of the people I spoke to seem to have done much the same as us, despite the fact that there was a special evening at the Country Club with food and music and another (similar) event at the Port Albert Coast Guard.
I think there may be several causes leading to this loss of interest, especially in my local area. One, obviously, is the fact that drinking is severely (and rightly, of course), curtailed these days, due to the drink and drive laws, so the people who live further away and have to drive to the event don’t! Then there is the ubiquitous firework display a lot of places put on around midnight for the added pleasure of the crowd. In past years there have been three displays in my local area, all far enough apart to not annoy each other, and well enough organised to attract a good crowd to each. Now, because of ‘health and safety regulations’, there was none held for New Year’s Even, so I’ve no doubt many intended spectators took the point of view that they might as well stay home, and watch a very good display or three on the television, in comfort, and as drunk as they may like to be! A third reason, which I feel might be affecting numbers is the fact that the celebrations start, especially at the Country Club at about 6pm, which means people have to find ways of entertaining themselves, or of being entertained for six hours, which is a very long time to eat, drink and be merry, however strong your desire to celebrate might be. I’ve noticed on previous New Year’s Eve celebrations that even the avid rock ‘n’ rollers tend to wilt a bit by 11:30pm.
I sometimes wonder how much longer all these special occasions can go on, with the ever increasing number of safety regulations that seem to be added almost on a daily basis. We’re not allowed to do this now, and we’re not allowed to do that now, all for our own safety so they say – it really is becoming a ‘Granny State’ isn’t it? Apparently we can no longer be trusted to look after our own welfare, everything has to be sorted, sterilised and cleaned before we are allowed to touch anything. Add to that the consideration we have to make for minority groups of all sorts of denominations and religions, so that Christmas can no longer be called Christmas, to mention but one, and I think it is obvious that the great occasions of our calendar are gradually going to be either lost, or sublimated by something else.
It all is really sad, as well as a worry, but our government seems unwilling or unable to do anything about it, and I can’t help thinking it is all eventually going to lead to some sort of disaster.