The '00s brought me two things: my worst ever Christmas present and my worst ever New Year's. (Oh, and my worst ever birthday, but that story's both not seasonal and not something that falls into the look-back-and-laugh category.)
Christmas 2003, and my then-boyfriend of four years was at my house. I was a temp earning £180 per week, most of which was being sucked into my overdraft, but I'd managed to pick out some nice presents with the cash I had and was looking forward to something nice for myself. After unwrapping a spotted top (price £5 - I know this as I asked T to get it for me from the sales as I was out of money, and he wasn't happy about it) there was one thin rectangular parcel left. I turned it to the sellotape side and slit the paper. First revealed was a black book cover with a sticker on the back: 'Help The Aged 29p'. I like charity shop things, so I was intrigued. I ripped off the rest and turned it over to see three very uncomfortable looking cartoon monkeys hanging from a tree and the title 'Living With Irritable Bowel Syndrome'. I looked at T, somewhat confused. 'Well, you mentioned it the other day so I thought you'd be interested!' Slowly it dawned on me that this wasn't a joke present. I said thank you. Because I'm nice.
NYE 1999, and the entire world had gone bonkers about the forthcoming Minellium. I was seventeen, fresh out of failing my Cambridge interview, broken-hearted, listening to The Smiths a lot, and wondering whether culturally everyone had just given up - I've grown irony now - seventeen is a very irony-free age - but I still think '99 was one of the worst years for music ever ever ever. Anyway, I was very depressed and not keen on doing anything for NYE. I've never liked doing anything much on that date - I find with expensive or elaborate nights out the pressure to have a good time doesn't allow you to actually get on with having one - but it was THE MILLENNIUM and Not Doing Anything meant the Y2K bug won. So when my best friend James suggested I went with him to his church social, I decided a more low-key event would be more fun than taking up an invitation to drink in Clitheroe, a night which could only end up in me downing shots of tequila in Rio's Whalley and crying in a toilet that wouldn't lock.
I'd spent younger years at my schoolfriend's church event - it involved foxtrotting, meat and potato pie and was more fun than I usually anticipated. However, this event started with a hat competition - five old ladies with bonnets decorated to resemble the Millennium Dome. The mind blocks out the rest, but I remember as midnight struck, we sat in rows of chairs in front of the Methodist preacher as Cliff Richard's Millennium Prayer played. Afterwards, there were fireworks - I had a new mobile phone for Christmas, which I hadn't actually wanted, and it occured to me that there should be someone to text, but there wasn't.
NYE 2009 seems to be starting fine - I'm at work, and as it's very very quiet, everyone is eating carrot cake and drinking cava. Archie in The Shoe believed that every time one leaves the house, they should first play a good record to set themselves up for the day - despite foul Lord's Prayer themed caterwauling the decade hasn't turned out too shabby. Maybe if it had kicked off to Teenage Kicks, or Well I Wonder, or Why Does It Always Rain On My Overplayed Record, it could have been worse. I think Alan and I should cue up the worst record of the decade once the chimes go...once we decide what that was.