Stephen Pollard: And a very happy new year to you, too

To admit that you loathe New Year's Eve is to announce that you are a misanthrope or weird

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Can you contain your excitement? There are just three more days to get through and then, whoopee, it's the big one: New Year's Eve. The blow-out to end all blow-outs. Fun with a capital F. The party of parties.

Can you contain your excitement? There are just three more days to get through and then, whoopee, it's the big one: New Year's Eve. The blow-out to end all blow-outs. Fun with a capital F. The party of parties.

Excuse me, if you will, but I'll pass. I'll take myself off to bed at half past 10 and wake up on Thursday morning. I'll sleep through the whole wretched night. Now it may just be that I am what is known as, to use the technical term, a miserable git. That's for you, and my friends, to judge. I like to think there are other reasons. But, whatever the cause, there are at least a thousand other things I'd rather be doing at midnight on Wednesday than greeting the New Year with a glass of champagne and my fellow party guests: banging a nail into my skull; translating Clarissa into Esperanto or hosting a dinner party for a dozen National Union of Teachers activists, to consider just three.

I hate New Year's Eve, you see. I don't just dislike it; I hate it. If New Year's Eve was a person, I'd hate it as much as I hate Sir Edward Heath and Roy Keane, my two hate-figures. In fact, I'd hate it even more than I hate them. (That's, seven 'hates' in this paragraph so far. I hope you are getting an inkling as to just how much I hate it - and that's now eight.) Neither Sir Edward or Mr Keane expect to be liked; they seem, in fact, to relish being unpopular. New Year's Eve is different. To admit that you loathe it is to announce that you are a misanthrope, and to court the sort of mystified stares which are usually reserved only for those of us who think George Bush is one of the truly great American presidents. It is, in short, to reveal to the world that you are weird.

It depends on your definition of weird, I suppose. Maybe it's not the thousands who turn up at Trafalgar Square to attempt to recreate the Hillsborough Stadium crush, only this time with added booze. Maybe it isn't even people who go out on 31 December to parties full of people they barely know, get plastered, grab the nearest person for a snog, throw up, dance, throw up again, and then discover that they're miles from home and there's no transport.

Maybe it really isn't those wretched souls who have their own little party watching Jools' Hootenanny and haven't got a clue that the New Year cheer was recorded one dull autumn teatime? And maybe it isn't, either, the ones who drink so much, so badly, that when they wake up on New Year's Day they feel as if they are on a ferry crossing the North Sea in the middle of a force 10 gale.

So maybe it is, after all, those of us who put the shutters up and enjoy ourselves when we want to, not when total strangers decide we should. In which case, I'm weird and I'm happy to be weird.

My proudest achievement - and yes, I do realise this speaks volumes about the limits of my accomplishments - is that on the night of 31 December 1999, a night which amplified everything which is so dire about New Year's Eve by a factor of about one million, I was in bed, asleep, by 11 o'clock.

I've tried to think if there are less obvious reasons for my hatred of New Year's Eve - less obvious, that is, than the grotesque forced jollity, the loathsome parties full of celebrants with whom one would normally not share a taxi, let alone a kiss or a bottle, and the puerile determination that everyone is going to have the time of their lives. Perhaps. When I explained my view recently, I was asked, "Didn't you cop off when you were younger?". Quite prescient, as it happens, since the answer is a less than resounding "no". So maybe it's all deeply Freudian. The fact I didn't pull at New Year's Eve parties when I was young means that I reject the entire concept now.

I'd put it another way. Even as a kid, I loathed the whole thing. But when you're 15, you can't say, "I'm not coming, I'm going to sleep". Not, that is, if you want to have any friends. So I'd drag myself along to The Victory pub in Pinner, where we used to hang out - a foul enough establishment even on normal evenings - and spend the night stewing in the corner with a false smile on my face. Now that I don't have to go along with the crowd, I can stay at home and go to sleep.

I've discovered over the years that there are others out there who share my view. And since I don't want to be wholly negative, I'd like to make a proposal. Since celebrating New Year's Eve is an entirely arbitrary choice, why don't those of us who would rather smother ourselves with rotting fish than go out on 31 December choose our own, random date, and quietly celebrate it, on our own; 23 February will do for me. So, if anyone wants to see me then, I'm afraid I'll be busy getting quietly sozzled.

Happy new year.

mail@stephenpollard.net

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