In a recent interview with the ABC, author Richard Flanagan put an interesting spin on the common reference to the pandemic as the ‘new normal’. He asserted as far as history was concerned we had simply returned to the ‘normal’, following an ‘abnormal’ period of prosperity following WWII. Everyday life prior to the end of WWII was often a real struggle with events such as the Great Depression, WWI and the Spanish Flu. The last seventy years have not been without their share of turmoil but have been infinitely better than the centuries that preceded.
If you agree with Flanagan, then the usual conjured optimism that surfaces around NYE, seems horribly out of place this year. 2020 has been a shocker, not only with Covid but bushfires, floods and the Chinese refusing to take our lobsters. Despite the hope of the various vaccines, 2021 could be an even bigger stinker, one that drags us back to what has long been the historical norm.
Nevertheless NYE has not been cancelled this year and many of the usual celebrations will go ahead, albeit in a Covid safe environment. At the time of writing Sydney’s fireworks binge is set to proceed, with greatly reduced spectators and VIP seats reserved for health and emergency workers. Nobody could begrudge that opportunity for those who have worked on the Covid and bushfire frontlines, but all those pyrotechnics seem sadly out of place this year – not to mention those millions of dollars up in smoke.
So apart from watching the whole extravaganza from afar, on TV or a laptop, what are some of the more creative options for this year’s NYE? Here are just a few suggestions:
The Ultra Realist Doom & Gloom Party: Invite a bunch of your most cynical friends over for an apocalyptic movie marathon and a glass of Jonestown punch. Turn your garden shed into a prepper style bugout for the night and on the stroke of midnight all gather for a symbolic final hugathon and plate of Spam sandwiches.
‘Party Like It’s 1999’ Escapism: Not just for Prince fans but for anybody suffering the delusion that 2021 is going to be a whole letter better. Evoke the same positivity that shrugged off the Y2K bug, throw a ridiculously expensive backyard party and charge the whole thing to Afterpay.
The Totally Covid Safe Family Gathering: Why let a lousy virus spoil an old school NYE family barbeque. Full top to bottom PPE is required of course, even for pets, with a respirator on hand in case grandpa takes a turn. No singing or dancing but Marcel Marceau style miming with the appropriate social distancing. Entertain guests with a video of Mariah Carey’s car crash 2017 Time Square performance and fill the Jacuzzi with hand sanitizer.
The Fox News Fantasy Party: Dress as your favourite or least favourite Fox News presenter, exchange outrageous conspiracy theories, sneer at political correctness, say a prayer for George Pel and on the stroke of midnight gather around a piñata of Donald Trump as you welcome in 2021 with a rousing version of ‘YMCA’.
The Cup Of Tea, A Bex And A Good Lie Down Approach: Sadly BEX powders are no longer available but any chemical relaxant will do as you tuck yourself in long before the stroke of midnight. There’s nothing like waking up on the first day of 2021 with a clear head and the realisation that a totally shithouse year lies ahead. Happy F*&%ing New Year!