It would be difficult to find a place in the World which is better suited to hold a spectacular farewell and simultaneous introduction to a year than London, England. As a result, my girlfriend and I decided to venture into the 'Big Smoke', and were greatly anticipating a memorable, explosive evening. Whilst the Arctic Monkeys have warned the younger generation against the perils of anticipation and its perceived habit to set you up for disappointment, London managed to live up to expectations and provided a fitting conclusion to a (personally) successful year.
After a mix up with train tickets (apparently you can't claim for a refund on tickets if the time since purchasing the overpriced cardboard cutouts has exceeded sixty minutes- National Rail truly defines the term 'Jobsworth'), we finally arrived in St James' Park. No, not Newcastle United's or Exeter City's football stadium (yep, my girlfriend had to put up with this jibe on numerous occasions throughout the afternoon), but the grandiose park near all those touristy hot spots where it's forbidden to feed the squirrels and pigeons. Judging by the size of those grey, treacherous, murderous, bushy tailed vermin, this written rule had been emphatically ignored. Anyway, once I'd done pouring scorn on squirrels and tourists, and had declined invitations for tea with the Prime Minister in 11 Downing Street and in equal measure refuted pleas to join the Camping campaign against the War in Afghanistan (for those interested, I am very much against the illegal Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, however if anyone really believes that camping in the middle of a freezing winter will alter the capitalistic, greedy minds of politicians, then they are not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree), it was time to enter the flamboyant, bohemian world that defines Camden Town...
Full of bright lights, retro shops, colourfully dressed individuals with unusual haircuts, and an array of outdoor food outlets, Camden provided an exotic feel to a wintry evening. Of course, this part of London is synonymous with its drug culture and lived up to expectations with some sneaky hood rat offering us 'skunk or charlie (what if we wanted both?)'. Once we'd explored the high street and the charming backstreets, it was time to take my girlfriend out for a nice piece of succulent lamb. Lamb Kebab that is.
Seeing as it's New Years Eve and we're in the most expensive part of the country, paying four pounds for a pint can almost be justified. However, when the DJ solely focuses on playing music consisting of an angry American man screaming inaudible sounds into a microphone, it signifies time to move on. The next pub offered a far more relaxed, jovial atmosphere with the downstairs part of the building playing artists such as Joy Division and The Strokes, whilst the upstairs concentrated on Ska and Reggae Classics. Oh, and we had the added bonus of sitting opposite a horny Lesbian couple. Unfortunately, both could have passed as butch gay men.
With time quickly moving towards the elusive 00.00, we decided to become sheep and follow the baaing, baying crowd towards the Embankment and those animal friendly Fireworks. Despite denying suggestions that the tube was free, the ticket guard allowed people to pass through the barriers, and urged them to buy tickets 'on the other side'. Yeah, because that was really going to happen.
Apparently it gets a bit crowded on New Years Eve, and this revelation caused the Embankment tube stop to shut. That's the best thing about the British Transport system- it is always forward thinking, and takes special circumstances into account. Not to worry, we eventually crawled our way to Trafalgar Square and watched the magnificent Fireworks send the crowd into raptures. I can never understand why people applaud Fireworks, but let's not let my cynicism dampen the spectacular party atmosphere that had developed.
Once we'd finished debating whether 2011 would be called Twenty Eleven, Two Thousand and Eleven or Two Thousand Eleven (my favourite), there was still time left to enter an establishment in Finsbury Park which we had earlier paid eight pounds each for tickets. Partly due to the cost of the tickets, I had great expectations of The Silver Bullet, yet these were immediately quelled within entry to the place. It was a small pub that had inexplicably run out of Draught beer. Not only this, but there was no music playing to the obvious dismay of the paying public.
So, after fifteen minutes queuing at the bar, we decided that The Silver Bullet had fired enough blanks for one evening.
This evening certainly provided a fond farewell to 2010, and an eye opening beginning to 2011.
Happy New Year!