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Pre-Millennium Tension? More ways to stop worrying and start living

We are continuing today our counselling session for those thousands of you who are suffering from PMT or Pre-Millennium Tension - in other words, those who are getting more and more anxious as the year 2000 approaches.

Who, typically, suffers the most from PMT?

Well, the ones who make the loudest noises of suffering are governments. They know they are expected to do something about the turn of the century. They have no idea what it is. Already the Tories have made a mess of millennium plans and now Labour is doing the same thing, with frenzied talk of domes. The idea of a 100ft high statue of Peter Mandelson in Greenwich is, to my way of thinking, the last straw.

Who has suggested that?

Nobody has. All I am saying is that the idea of a 100ft high statue of Peter Mandelson in Greenwich is, to my way of thinking, the last straw.

Ah. Right. Fair enough. What are other governments thinking of doing to commemorate the dawn of the next century?

Nothing very interesting. The Swiss government is authorising the issue of a new Swiss Army penknife with an indoor firework attachment. The Pope has issued an edict calling for the slaughter of all the first-born ...

Why has he done that?

Sorry, my mistake. He has issued an edict asking people NOT to slaughter the first-born. The Finns have asked all their citizens to stay sober for a change. The Americans have requested all their allies not to let Cuba enter the 21st century. The Germans plan to leave vast millennium towels overnight on premier beaches in Phuket, New Zealand, Scarborough, the Costa del Sol ...

As a matter of interest, what kind of celebrations did we have for it in 1900?

Well, don't forget that 1900 wasn't the end of a millennium, only of a century.

Right. So what kind of celebrations did we have at the end of a century ?

Not much. We had already had huge celebrations in 1897 to mark the sixtieth year of Victoria's reign, and people were pretty bored with parades by 1900. They also thought that if things got very exciting again in 1900, Queen Victoria might have a heart attack and die, and then Prince Edward would take over.

Would that be bad?

Oh, yes. Prince Edward was a multiple adulterer.

Is that bad?

Oh, yes. It is worse than being a single adulterer. Imagine if Queen Alexandra had gone on TV like Diana and accused her husband of infidelity. She would have said: "It is very difficult staying married when there are over 50 people in a marriage ..."

Who is Queen Alexandra?

You seriously don't know?

Yes, I do, as a matter of fact. I am simply making the point that she doesn't matter any longer. Anyway, we seem to have strayed a long way from the millennium ...

Ah! That proves you're getting better! You're stopping thinking about it already! You've stopped worrying about how to plan for it!

Come to mention it, how do you think I should plan for it?

Well, if I were you, I would give up all plans of trying to be the first in the next century, as some people plan to do by booking hotel rooms just across the International Date Line.

I'm with you there.

I would give up all ideas of trying to dodge from one century to another by hiring a plane and flying to and fro across the International Date Line.

Nice one!

Anyway, that idea was dreamt up years ago by Alexander Frater in Punch, when he described Christmas on board a South Seas tramp ship which dodged back into Christmas Day from Boxing Day by going back across the International Date Line on Dec 26th ...

Is that true?

Of course. Any other questions?

Yes. What are YOU going to be doing for the millennium?

Me? I'm going to be hiring a room in a hotel on the OTHER side of the International Date Line, as close to it as possible, and I'm going to try to be the last person in the world who is still living in the old century, while everyone else has gone charging forward into the next one.

Isn't that a bit pointless?

Yes, but the whole thing is bloody pointless! And the fact that you've noticed means you may well be on the way to recovering from PMT! Give me another cheque and come and see me again tomorrow ...