It's nightmare night again...

On New Year's Eve, when you find yourself on a pub crawl in Aldershot, what the hell do you do? Cayte Williams has all the answers
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Indy Lifestyle Online
It's that time of year: when God divides us between those who can't wait to get a party popper between our teeth and screech "Auld Lang Syne" like it's going out of style and those who just want to bury their heads under a pillow and unplug the digital clock. Either way, it's hard to avoid a shindig on 31 December, so read on. You may be invited to any of the following, so how should one behave? What should one wear to a house party? What should one drink on a pub crawl? You'll find the answers below. Etiquette it ain't. You have been warned.

THE PUB CRAWL

Where are you?

Squashed into the olde worlde pub you first threw up in when you were 14, wondering where all the years went.

Why are you there?

You came home for Christmas and got stuck. You need the exercise.

Who are the party animals?

Every person in the pub. This is who can outdo who in the party animal stakes. People are dancing on the bar, balancing pints on their heads, showing their knickers.

What do you wear?

Sensible knickers.

What does everybody else wear?

Stocking-filler g-strings with fake fur fluffy bunnies on the front.

What's the music like?

Juke Box Jury meets Top of The Pops. Chas 'n' Dave followed by Nirvana.

What do you drink?

Vodka cranberries to start because you're cool. Pints of lager later because you're too hot. Then you move on to Submarines and Butterballs. So who wants to live to 2000?

What's the decor like?

Seventies Formica if you're lucky. Olde Worlde horse brasses if you're not. Different. This was never an Irish pub when you lived at home. And what's all this All Bar One nonsense?

What happens at midnight?

You all manage to congregate at the same pub at the same time only to discover that by the time you get to the bar it'll be 2.30am.

Who tries to give you a NYE snog?

Your best schoolfriend's brother who, last time you looked, was like the small one out of the Crankies. Now he's a younger, leaner version of George Clooney. Your old school heart-throb, only to discover he's got enough saliva to keep the Titanic afloat. The landlord.

How do you avoid them?

George Clooney Jnr gets all he can handle. The landlord/ex-heart-throb are a different story. Zip up your parka and do a "South Park Kenny" impression. Keep drinking so they can't prise the pint from your teeth.

When do you leave?

You're the last sad waster to be thrown out from the lock-in.

How do you get home?

You crawl of course. On your hands and knees through driven snow. Your friends leave you on your parents' porch to thaw out and say, "same time next year, then?"

THE SUPERCLUB

Where are you?

In a 3,000-capacity club. You're either dancing wildly in the House Hangar (a room so big it could house the promoter's jet) or trying to find the loos in a labyrinth of corridors.

Why are you there?

Your friends made you go. They have this misguided notion that they are teenagers again and clubbing will be great. Foolishly, you have gone along with their mass illusion.

Who are the party animals?

Anyone who doesn't remember disco first time around. People in silly outfits to fit in with the club's theme. Women with fat cleavages and thin legs. Men who wear their shirts outside their trousers. Shifty looking blokes with pony-tails.

What do you wear?

Anything that last looked good on you in 1988. Support tights. A caftan.

What does everybody else wear?

Gucci micro minis, D&G bra tops and diamante strappy sandals (girls). Versace suits, black T-shirts and Patrick Cox shoes (boys).

What's the music like?

Loud House, Garage, Disco, Funk, Hip Hop, Trip Hop, Hop Scotch.

What do you drink?

Not much because you are just one of 200 people jammed at the bar, desperately waving a tenner for a bottle of warm lager.

What's the decor like?

Lots of black drapes with ultra-violet stars and planets. Tinsel. Huge cardboard cut-outs connected to party themes (spaceships, Charleston dancers, Empire State Building etc).

What happens at midnight?

10,000 balloons are released from the ceiling. Super-DJ counts down to New Year. Unfortunately, you miss all this because you are still in the queue. It's freezing and you've been in it for an hour. Happy New Year.

Who tries to give you a NYE snog?

Everyone is far too cool to snog you. Who do you think you are? You've lost all your friends, so you snog anyone who's too pissed to care.

When do you leave?

After you've queued for two hours to get your coat. When the buses start running. Never - you are found two years later stuck behind a pillar singing "The Music Sounds Better With You" in Cantonese.

THE DIRE NIGHTLUB

Where are you?

One of those "Ritzy"-type nightclubs in Leeds, Northampton etc, etc. It's hard to tell because they all look the same. It's also hard to get your bearings with dry ice in your eyes and shaving foam up your nose.

Why are you there?

You've foolishly gone home for New Year. You've foolishly gone to your partner's home for New Year. You caught the wrong train.

Who are the party animals?

A threadbare section of life's rich tapestry. Teenage girls who are living proof that Cabbage Patch dolls do grow up. Desperate men who tell their wives they're popping down the pub for a brisk half.

What do you wear?

Dark glasses and a balaclava just in case anyone recognises you.

What does everybody else wear?

Corned-beef legs (induced by no tights in minus ten degrees). Anything sporty from Primark.

What's the music like?

Now That's What I Don't Call Music, volume 173. Terrible.

What do you drink?

Water. There's no way you're getting pissed with this lot. Nothing that's been opened in your absence.

What's the decor like?

Graffiti and curling lino. The loos haven't seen a paintbrush since 1966. And there's no loo paper.

What happens at midnight?

Everyone blows whistles and falls over.

Who tries to give you a NYE snog?

Anything with a pulse-rate.

How do you avoid them?

By screaming and running for your life. Delivering a Jackie Chan high- kick. Playing dead.

When do you leave?

At 12 you're out that door.

How do you get home?

In a taxi for 10 times the going rate. It's worth it.

YOUR NEIGHBOUR'S HOUSE PARTY

Where are you?

Two hundred yards up the road thrashing wildly in neighbours' living room to Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" and wondering why no one else is dancing.

Why are you there?

You were touched by your neighbour's invitation. You're hoping for a bit of partner-swapping and you've brought your glow-in-the-dark Smurf key ring. You've seen The Ice Storm.

Who are the party animals?

Your neighbour's insomniac children, all under five, who insist on running round in circles until they are sick. The head of Neighbourhood Watch.

What do you wear?

A pair of long johns, thermal vest and dressing gown. Well you're only a skip and a jump from your own bedroom, aren't you?

What does everybody else wear?

Polystyrene reindeer horns. Red noses. Jeans and jumpers with tinsel tacked around the hems.

What's the music like?

Any Christmas hits by Russ Abbot, Cliff Richard or The Smurfs. Motown. Fifties rock 'n' roll records that all sound exactly the same.

What do you drink?

The contents of your neighbour's cocktail cabinet (cherry brandy, Advocaat, Cinzano). Home-brew. A half-vodka, half-tonic mixture stashed in your own Smirnoff bottle which you are hiding behind the fridge.

What's the decor like?

Changing Rooms meets The Brady Brunch. Ikea meets Peewee Herman. Better than yours.

What happens at midnight?

You all whoop at the top of your voices, say "well, Happy New Year, then" and leg it.

Who tries to give you a NYE snog?

Your neighbour, your neighbour's wife. Your neighbour's husband. All those other neighbours you've tried to avoid in 1998. The cat.

How do you avoid them?

Start doing the conga so fast that you are a blur. Say, "I hear the whole street is going stone-cladding".

When do you leave?

When you come to your senses.

How do you get home?

Over the garden wall.

THE DINNER DANCE IN A POSH HOTEL

Where are you?

Some swanky out-of-town hotel in the middle of nowhere. You're sitting at a candle-lit table, and watching middle-aged ladies in taffeta doing "The Birdie Song". They're doing it wrong. You go show them how it's really done.

Why are you there?

You know this is how Tara Palmer-Tomkinson started.

Who are the party animals?

The country squire who shows you his "Here It Is, Merry Christmas" party wiggle. Anyone under 12.

What do you wear?

The same Laura Ashley dress you wore when you were 11.

What does everybody else wear?

Ditto. The men wear tuxedos or, for some strange reason, Scottish National Dress.

What's the music like?

Stars on '45, Mozart, Sinatra.

What do you drink?

Whisky, cognac, in cut crystal.

What happens at midnight?

The string quartet plays "Auld Lang Syne". You snog a skinny 14-year- old boy with a floppy fringe and get slapped by his mum.

Who tries to give you a NYE snog?

All his school friends.

How do you avoid them?

By spreading the rumour that there's more trifle left on the dessert table.

When do you leave?

When all the trifle's gone.

How do you get home?

You use your skirt as a parachute and jump out of a four-storey window. Magic.

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