To celebrate my 2000th blogpost, I asked Twitter what I should write about. This series of posts are inspired by those requests.
Hilary Gallo suggested this one.
Looking back, I’m not sure that people who didn’t live through it can quite understand the pressure that there was on the New Year’s Eve party of 1999. For just about our entire conscious lifetimes we’d been being told that it would be the party to end all parties. Prince obviously was one of the main culprits, and then a little later Jarvis Cocker added to the pressure.
Arthur C Clarke obviously went for the dull mathematical version with 2001, but that wasn’t much of a party, if truth be told.
But the reality is that the shift from 1999 to 2000 was about as significant as an odometer shifting from 9,999 to 10,000 miles. But with probably slightly more IT system recoding.
The party we had at a flat in Fonthill Road at the end of the millennium actually turned out to signify a broader change in the group of friends that had emerged and expanded throughout the 1990s after most of us had got back from University and then moved into London. There had been party houses (one in Turnpike Lane in particular), nights out that turned into weekends out. It was a high time that we had.
But by 1999 we were starting to see people looking to settle. Breaking off into couples. Moving out of the grottier bits of London and shared houses and buying flats.
The party was lively. It was also in a time before digital cameras and smartphones so thankfully I don’t think any of the events of the evening were recorded for posterity. Which means, if others were like me, there is scant memory of what happened. The only thing I can remember with any clarity was my girlfriend of the time drinking from a tube of Pringles thinking it was a beer. It was one of those nights.
Midnight happened, everyone cheered and hugged and kissed. We carried on the party. And then we walked home in the dawn of the new millennium to spend most of the first day asleep.
Sure enough, it also marked a turning point as the friendship groups started to break up and people started to have kids. We grew up a bit. Some more than others.
Funnily enough, the last 12 months of lockdown have seen more regular communication with some of the people who were part of the group (if not at that actual party) as we gathered from the four corners of Europe to chat over Zoom. I don’t think any of could party quite like that these days.