Saturday, 31 December 2011

Tradition is the illusion of permanence

...said Woody Allen once. Or maybe twice. Who knows? "Traditions are the guideposts driven deep into our subconscious minds" said someone else, anonymous.

I was considering the New Year's Eve traditions that are my guideposts - and decided I haven't got any. Or not any that are worth preserving. I cling on to all sorts of family and cultural traditions but New Year just isn't a particularly PARTICULAR event in my life. I can't recall it being so in my childhood. Christmas was and is the most important festival.

New Year's Eve in my young adult life consisted of getting horribly drunk on Guinness and 'rum and blacks' then throwing up in the back of a friend's van and trying to clean up the mess with torn up Yellow Pages...well, that was one I DO remember, and they were all much the same.

New Year's Eve NOW consists of trying very hard to remain awake beyond 10.30 p.m. and either failing to or, come midnight, heaving a sigh of relief and thinking 'thank heavens, I can go to bed AT LAST.'

I think I should take a lesson from the Germans and, apparently, Scandinavians too. I was listening to Radio 4 this morning and learned that their New Year's Eve tradition is to watch an ancient English black and white short film called Dinner For One   (see it for yourselves)

 ...which reduces them to bundles of helpless laughter.

I can't say it had that effect on me, though it made me smile.

Still, it beats my own (lack of) memorable traditions by a country mile. I'm not sure if that says more about my woeful New Year's Eves or the German sense of humour...