Letter from the Arts Editor: Partying hard is not the sole way to make merry on New Year's Eve


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The Independent Online

Perhaps it should say at the top ‘Letter from a Curmudgeon’. For I’m afraid I have never really “got” New Year’s Eve. On page 31 of i today is a style guide on what to wear for the big night. But for me the clothing of choice will be pyjamas.

I have an aversion to evenings, and most especially this particular evening, where you are obliged to enjoy yourself.

So there have been many years when I have taken a perverse pleasure in going to bed early, missing the forced communal embraces, the gauche muttering of that oh so traditional song whose words no one actually knows, the dilemma of how to get home from a party when you have drunk too much to drive, and don’t fancy a cold train with others who are very visibly and very vocally too drunk to drive.

But whether or not one stays up for the party embraces, or for Jools on television and the stroke of midnight, there is an alternative way to spend the mid-evening hours.

I have always found New Year’s Eve the perfect night to visit the theatre, cinema, comedy stand-up, the rock gig or classical concert. It may be wrong to knock making merry, but it’s equally wrong to see parties as the sole way to make merry.

Making merry can also mean being part of an audience and seeing out the year enjoying what is truly a golden age in the arts across the country.

But, whether you choose to make New Year’s Eve a cultural one or not, from all of us at i, be sure to have a truly happy New Year.