places filled with great expectation that the arbitary shift of calender year will actually herald change and is soemthing joyous. Far more joyful to hold the true Scots tradition of being with your extended family, dine well, play charades and cluedo with the kids and welcome coal bearing neighbours over the threshold after the old year has been allowed to rush out the door just as its’ last breath draws.
As a teenager and young adult, we naturally rebell against this tradition in our own homes, which seem suddenly staid and claustrophobic. We want to esperience wider society and spread our wild oats, and seek the thrill of the thronging masses and six figure firework budget. These years are hit or miss, often alcohol consumption is too high or too low for the optimal euphoria. Our friends inevitsbly lead us into bad decisions. Too late to get into one bar, too early for the disco to be jumping. Taxis will be easy to get if we only get out walking that way towards the square or the Tron. So we end up often in a great scrum of people, or in a sudden dash to get vantage or the ideal place for popping corks and viewing the fireworks. Those minutes and seconds are obscured a little in our positionings and champagne foils and baskets always seemn to take on the challenge a dextrral escapologist would struggle with in our oft’ cold and beverage numbed fingers.
if we are lucky enough of the crowd around us are sycnchronised to a enthralling verbal count down to ‘the bells’ but more often than not people starrt to doubt their time pieces and those of others and wait for some other over bearing sign that we are ten seconds out.
In all honesty with ourselves, our new years are best spent with peoplke we love and trust most, and be as well organised as possible. We need to be in position in just the right time to enjoy the crescendo, be that a back garden or under the looming Castle escarpment in Edinbugh.We should organise activities to make it more festive, be that a tour via tapas, performers and favourite bars towards the City’s focal point, or a party with charades and crackers, and story telling, and maybe some musicians on hand in our own home. The very best parrties I remember from childhood were those were the hosts were generous and several generations were represented. Card games and charades were played, and an annual update of what whose children were doing at school, scouts, university and travels was taken in turns around comfortable living rooms. Kitchens prepared warm snacks and small dishes, and were a place for teens to mix with kids, the older being a bit tipsy and breaking the rules of usual etiquette in being both cheeky with their youngers while allowing them an added maturity and connection. Flriting was rife amongst the children, and some furtive sherry fueled teasing twixt long grown up folk were de rigeur.
My favourite new years’ were then with the Laing family of Rhu, with our dear departed larger than life Douglas Laing being big in insolvency, a talent which required some degree of gallows humour at work and demanded a good quantity of escapism outside work. They had what seemed to an eight year old, a vast living room with roaring fire and posh furniture. Their welcome was hearty and warm, with their kelvinside accents rebounding through the hallway as each new guest arrived. Cards were played, and perhaps Granny Muir had a wee bit too much luck on her side, and was either a secret card shark or hiding them up her sleeves. Our last invitation which I went along to was when I was about 12 or 14 maybe, and I felt then a little awkward because I was having a bad teens, bit deppers and dad had died leaving a huge hole in my life and direction.
The other childhood parties of note were when we visited the other Muirs, Alistair and Olive up in Shandon. ( We werent good at parties, my dad being rather stand off with such things himself as for having guests) . These were fun affairs where me and Andy and maybe a couple of other pals would have free reign over the home made sweeties and played endlessly with our christmas toys. Alistair would always keep a few fireworks from Guy Fawkes night and load his shotgun for the bells themselves. He swore than the Naval base set their ships horns to his blasts, but as with a few of his wry stories, we were fooled because it took the sound a second or two to reach us from the loch side.
What then of those party-party years then as a later teen and adult?
1984- I think this may have been somewhere with Eric Dickson *(now Laurier) and Jenny Young and Carla Holmes. Helensbra’
1985 Well this was towards the coming of age year to follow when Uni started for me. This year then was at Gregor Maitlands with the whole crowd of girls and boys , with me deciding to sober up for some reason and (dangerously) drinking 20 pints of water in the course of a couple of hours. It was an ok party. Mainly a big focus on drinking and telling jokes, and some awkwardness with the opposite sex who were a tad more socially mature than us boys
1986 Was my coming of age year, where I had enjoyed Dafter Friday at the QMU and felt I had arrived in the world of not being a kid. However, new year was a home boy affair with Paul Walker insisting we take a tour to Dumbarton and Ditos disco which was already a culture clash for me and I did not enjoy it one bit really. It was the start of those shittty times when your pals took you places which were crap or you never made it to the destination in time for the bells, or the party did not let you in and so on
1987 In the mists of time, I think I may have been at home, Certainly I only remember one new year at Uni at the QMU and that would have been 1989 into 90, the last year, when I got a guy to fish out his U2 albumn to play on the main disco floor to my delight . I reckon it was actually at paul walkers and I got a taxi home in the sleet with Simon White and Ruth Mckellar ( loins incident) Yes that would be the year for sure actually!
1988 Was I pretty much remember with Sandra at my Mums. We were both hiding from Kenny her ex and my new ex buddy, guy rule being broken despite their split up in the spring of that year. I think she was between digs near the Pear Tree and her wee hovel at Causewayside, which I kind of fell upon last year by surprise when out to buy a pizza while on holiday. Suddenly it was quarter of a century before and I was filled with a weird sense of time travel and smiled wryly at of course, all the fun we had in that flat.
1989 was at the QMU with Martin Dewar and some other of our music hack crowd. New years Day is all i really remember, but Caroline and Fiona were maybe there. I had made peace with Kenny Dobie by then, he may have been there. In my last digs at Oakfield Avenue.
1990 was At the Commodore if I remember rightly with Dave and Spock and some of the other crowd. It would have been helensburgh as i was skint but debt free. I should never have moved home, that end of the year was a depressing experience which would continue until March when I suddenly got the job and fancy wee astra SRI with Leo Labs.
1991 Was my first in Edina, but it was just a flat party. I remember the Leo connection ended in sept 92, and I tried to sleep off the ills of the night in said SRI , rsiking losing my license in fact, in a great seheepskin noggie gaurd watch trench coat thing which still did not warm me much. It was an ok party with half of late teen Helensburgh there, and Eric Dickson’s dad turned up for some reason (?( stage diving happened. Think it was “Hammy” hamilton’s flat.
1992 Was with my dear Love Blue and John in George Square. First big place party, cold but dry and we met some nice neo nazi guy offering champagne
1993 hmmm. I still had a flat in Glasgow then. But I had Esther as a girlfriend ( I kind of was commitment phobic and should have let her be free of me long before) I presume I was with esther. I seem to remember a quantity of Finlandia voddie being taken, so we were proibably in Larkhall of all places.
1994 is tricky, but I would have at a guess that this was a bad year for me, having had to move home from glasgow in 1993. I was still very much hanging out with Dave the cardboard box, loing before we really fell out. I suspect it was the last big decent Helensburgh one when I met that chap who did aerotnautical engineering at Imperial and was finished by the age of 20, being a former Jim McMillan bike shop worker. It would have been then really, because we crashed a lomond party and despite chocolates wrapped as a lump of coal, we were asked to leave ( the former McCabe’s house I remember now) after a short time. It ended up with Wallace Mchneish at one of dave’s neighbours ad then crashed at daves, Since all other years are accounted for, this is what happened and it was a bit crappy as is much of Helensburgh life for ‘youff’
1995 I had worked for almost a year and was getting fired for a misdemeanor and general lack of interest in the job at Marblehead. It could have been what 1994 was or some mixed up repeat of it all. I seem to maybe mix Wallace nights with Dave nights. About this time I was showing signs of age and getting fat. I do remember that Jill girl, largish roundish, and maybe we were at Terrys party or just getting really mashed around town. Ah, maybe this was at Scott Lawsons house, that is right!! I had just bought my own snowboard in Decvcember and one of the ‘lenzie ‘boys was calling me for a cunt. Yep, dont remember where we were before or ended up, but playstation was a new thing and it was fun. Had started out with Barbie boy from Luss, and we ended up at Scotts just before the bells.
1996 was of course the first really proper edinburgh one, and before they closed the centre off. It was a snog fest, with most folk in Kilts. We ended up at Andy Frasers infamous appartment on the ‘flat iron’ corner at Bruntsfield Place. Me and Terry had to celebrate up a side street trying to get to Princess street in a mass scrummage of people. We met dave, who then took off again, camelback filled with jack and coke. He ended up waking up in a gutter, and habing got back to the flat, he slept it off only to be awoken on the kitchen table. What he thought was a blanket over his face turned out to be his kilt and his itchy nether region was caused by glitter make up smeared all over his balls. Big snog fest.
Met Kirsten McLeods wee sister Fiona who beamed at me. Apparently i had been a big hit in the family.
Andy McG drove me thru from Helensburhg in his mark iii escort .came home with scabies girl, tasty but slutty. Had omlettes at my mums jan 1st
1997 is a little harder for me to rememmber / I was living in manchester with my golf driver . Perhaps it was Paisley with jamie Bowers? Quite likely it was with the new gang of idjits I had moved onto, Stuart and Junior. That is very very likely, up at Lomonds empty boarding house Burnbrae or the like, with champagne I seem to remember, I had been out with Gill, split up, and then only began with Anita during the rugger visit to Dub that year. Perhaps,. just perhaps this was in fact another Edinbra night,. The jury is still out on this year
1998 was in Dublin and a bit of a stupdi night out, with some scots in a late night ‘restyuaratn’ ie drinking den, being arseholes and me in my sigma 33 poloshirt. Square had taken me by the scruff on the neck to some extent. L:ittl;e did I lknow that we weould be done very soon after this into 1999 when I chan ged jobs. Had a job offer I think by then, but remember driving my goolf down to dunoon in a mild december day to a n interview at the botamnical gardens of all places, The Golf got an iced carb or something oin the descent to St Catherines, but luckily nae more probas after that
1999 THE BIG ONE , its edinburg, its the millenium. Worht a bloog. Spike was in St andrews, so what, we fi9nsihed up in february or sometime. Met nbig ross at a random party via Ed in my wonderful bruntsfield flat. Snboggted a few, girtls. one jumped on me (welsh(. Flasxhed a girl head on her hands while passing her in the insomnia cafe at that place in edinhburhg at the old uni parts. Wildish night and my own bed at the end, with a girlfreind coming next day
2001Spocks at Arrochar, because I had the company car still. Got a tip on Best Mate winning the grand national or the like from the Sun’s racing tipster
2000 Was most likely up at Pete Duggans because we won at west highland week and I fancied a hill walk the next day, which turned out to be actually the 2nd january because we slept it off on the first till all hours, sgur eildh mor.
2001 Spocks at Arrochar, two parties, still had my company car just before the job ended. Nee naw and got a tip on “Best Mate” to win the Gold Cup from a tabloid tipster.
2002 Would have to be in that italian restuuarant followed by Dermots party with Spock again I think Being with him and his arseholeness was painful, we had to squeeze our way into the party and Colin was rung up about our very existence and rights to be at a paying party with cheap wine and pizza. I was working at IVGN yet had not met Kristin yet
2003 was with Kristin in Bergen town I remember not quite where but I would have taken the holiday . In fact I may have been there for xmas.Think it snowed and we were out on town with Rod and eliza and folk.
2004 I had emmigrated, rest is history. Kids, fireworks, sensible amounts to drink, yawn