31 December, 2005

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31st December, 1986:

"...Went into town to spend some of my Christmas money. Bought two Asterix books, Whizzer and Chips and some mystery book or other. Read all afternoon. Had a nose bleed last night from 3am to 4am - yes, another one. Exactly the same tea as last night: mince, potatoes and toast. Didn't like it any better. Allowed to stay up to watch Big Ben. This is my last entry for 1986. I hope the new year will be like this one, hopefully better. Classic comment..."

31st December, 1987:

"...End to an exciting, tragic, sad, happy, joyful year (delete as applicable). Read an entire Dr Who book before spending the afternoon on my bike. Mince, potato and baked beans for tea. A new phone is being fitted tomorrow, so for the first time we will have two in the house - one in the hall and one in the kitchen. I don't see the point of this. It's not as if people will be able to make two calls at the same time. Had to go round to our gran's this evening, where I still am, at the precise hour of 10.30pm..."

31st December, 1989:

"...End of the decade. I feel I need to cling on to what of 1989 remains. Been such a nerve-wracking, anti-climatical, adventurous and enjoyable year that despite all of the frequent bad, undesirable events I'd still want to live it again. I don't speak with much hope for 1990, or the new decade. But of course there's always hope, and my life has in its way only just begin. But one sixth of it is already over and it's not a bad thing to look back and say I did enjoy it, never mind what happened. Amid reviews back to 1979, Clive James and Big Ben, I wonder where I will be at the end of 1999..."

31st December, 1990:

"...The diary labels today as Week 1. For heaven's sake! There are just over two hours to go. We all went down to London, primarily for shopping but after lunch we had to go round the National Gallery. Bought 'Revolver' from HMV, so it wasn't all wasted. Returned on a half-empty train arriving in Loughborough at 6.30pm. All in all, pathetic..."

31st December, 1992:

"...Of all the places to be tonight, we're at dad's brothers house. Which has meant casual swearing aplenty. The journey took ages - spent most of it asleep. In no mood to look back at the year. That can be done another time..."

31st December, 1993:

"...Been thinking about what to say here for ages. I've just finished re-reading this whole diary - I did it a month a day - and it's struck me how it's been a lot more honest, emotional and thoughtful diary than every before. And that's deliberate, not least because - hey - it's much more interesting to read. But it's 10.07pm and I've felt genuinely sad today, particularly this afternoon looking through The Guardian's review of the year. The only person who's spoken to me today outside family is Kate, and she was just about to go out. Everyone's out except me. Is that deliberate? This is the first year ever when I can say that this time next year I have absolutely no idea where I will be. This has never happened before. Fear of the unknown is one of my weaknesses and I don't want to leave my friends because I need them and love them all. I feel constantly in their debt for putting up with me. Especially three of them. This is possibly the year which I grew up, but I'm not sure because I don't know what being grown up is, and don't particularly want to. Yet I have so many good and bad memories that were created naturally and I don't want to force 1994 to be the same. But whatever will be will be - Christ! - starting with a bloody driving test on Wednesday. I'm deliberately going on writing because I don't want to end because that will mean the end of this year. I don't want to go away from all these pages, these memories, these people. But it's only another day tomorrow and everything starts again and it will show its own things and surprises and losses and gains. I've got to face it and stop writing. Because there's a whole lot more - in 94. See you later. I hope..."

31st December, 1994:

"...Why am I at university? At the moment it's plain to see I'm getting nothing out of it whatsoever. Coming back here has reminded me or how much I enjoy this place and all its associations, people, places and memories. Like this evening when I finally went out of a New Year's Eve and saw a load of people that were important and who were valuable tokens of a happier time. I'm in a vacuum of bewilderment that I can't see a way out of. People don't want me here, of course, they've all got separate individual lives to lead now, new commitments, relationships, goals, pleasures - all out of my reach. Fuck knows what's going to happen in 1995. But for the first time in my life I can find nothing to excite me about the future and go into it wearily, ignorantly, helplessly, pitifully. I'm ashamed but not enough to fucking do something. But...that's always the way of things. Aaaaahh!..."

31st December, 1995:

"...Party at Burton Street, courtesy of an invitation from David. On the way I was propositioned by some kids who wanted me to go and buy some beer for them. This was as ludicrous as it was embarrassing. I felt bad enough doing it for myself. We were the first to arrive even though it was later than before (9pm), and it took ages for things to get going and for any kind of mood and atmosphere to kick in and hide away in. Mainly because there were so few people there. Old faces surreally walked in then straight out again. People began to form their own cliques in their own rooms. Talked a lot to a scattering of names who it was good to see again, but things escalated towards 12am, as did the noise and the red faces. The last song of 1995 was 'Whatever', the first song of 1996 'Cigarettes and Alcohol'. There's something that'll datestamp this party for all eternity. Then everything somehow went weird. More people arrived after midnight than before - that's not right. An overload of unwanted baggage from the past washed in, including several shamefully drunk people I hadn't seen since secondary school. I don't think they knew who I was. Food and mess were everywhere. Fights and threats were brewing. So it was time to leave, and I wandered back through the streets about 1.45am. Cold, wet, misty, portentous. Crept in here as silently as possible and slept until 10am. Look at all this space in this new diary. All these bloody lines. Never fill them all..."

31st December, 1997:

"...Actually New Year's Day as I write. Was down at the Black Lion again, as it turned out at the invitation of Luke and ended up seeing in 1998 amongst the drunk and vomiting revellers there. Weird how the last 48 hours have seen me renewing contact and conversation with a collection of people I previously hadn't been in touch with for ages. Coincidence or conspiracy? The fact that such an extreme bout of socializing collided with the passing of another year is not entirely unconnected of course, but it has created a bizarrely sentimental and significant mood to these last days of 1997 - one entirely unlike the majority of those days that went before. I've enjoyed all of the respective meetings and reunions with faces and names from the past, but it's been different than before. My closest and dearest friends are still those with roots and residue in this town, my home town. But strangely I don't - or rather can't - envy them or their lives so much anymore. Am I finally beginning to be able to let go?..."

31st December, 1999:

"...Re-read all the New Year's Eve entries since 1989, when I caustically declared 'I don't speak with much hope for 1990, or the new decade' and wondered where I'd be exactly 10 years on. Well I'm still here, writing the entry on the same bed in the same room. Incredible how that 10-year is now just memories, regrets and reminiscence. Incredible the way it resonates in the entries I pen each New Year's Eve, and how of course they nearly all bemoan and decry and wail and gnash and flail at this bastard world. Why not? It's the truth, it's how I felt at the time. I find myself reluctant to change or do anything than grin and bear it because I'm afraid to - the normality of sorts and the routines/rituals which I have evolved are reassuring. But what sobering thoughts are conjured up when I review what other people have done by my age - and that's anybody, famous or not. At least I know what I'll be doing in 12 months time. And if that's enough, enough to cling to, to see me through another year, then fair enough. It's just started pouring with rain and this entry has gone on for too long. On it goes, then. I'll see you in the new one, same as the old one. Happy new year..."


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