Did you do something fun?
Last New Year’s Eve I was ill with a touch of flu, in a friend’s spare room in Brighton. The New Year’s Eve before that I was ill with food poisoning, in a wood hut by a river in Mexico. I was hoping that this year I would not be completing a hat-trick.
Sadly, though, I’ve had a few migraines during the last week; and because alcohol seems to trigger them, I spent the evening drinking Coke and water. So, although I had a lot of fun, I didn’t have the nice, jolly, boozy night I was hoping to have.
I went to the Royal Festival Hall to see Super Furry Animals and Deerhoof. It was splendid. Super Furry Animals played three sets, Deerhoof played two. And there was a bunch of other stuff (DJs, Pete Fowler doing a big drawing, pub games, sparkly face-painting, etc.) going on around the building. And there weren’t zillions of people either; only a couple of thousand or so, which made it feel quite like a private party rather than a big “event.”
It was wonderful to see Super Furry Animals again. The last time I saw them was in 2001, I think, as they didn’t play in Berlin very often. And to have them play three sets was fantastic. Lots of older songs in the first set; a healthy portion of songs off their recent “Hey Venus!” album in the second; and then the came back on for the New Year moment and a final set of big, jumpy-around songs.
While those outside the Royal Festival Hall were watching some fireworks, those of us inside were watching some film footage of the band on a cart, then just as we were being whipped up into an “it’s nearly 2008” frenzy by the bouncy music, the theme from The A-Team began, and we then got the 5,4,3,2,1 countdown off Thunderbirds. Crowd goes mental, and the band walk on with the taped beginnings of “Slow Life” kicking in. Gruff Rhys wandering around the stage in a big red motorcycle helmet and a replica World Cup trophy as the rest of the band played. I filmed it, but the sound quality was so awful that there was no point in putting it online; here’s some stills from that video clip.
It was a very enjoyable night. It was also the first concert I’ve been to in Britain since the smoking ban, and blimey: boozy, sweaty people have got REALLY bad breath. When they banned smoking, they really should have made it mandatory for all people to carry mints in their pocket, which is something that I (and I imagine most smokers) already do. This stinkiness, though, is probably old news to you Brits.
After all that fizzy pop and sparkling water, by the end of the evening I was in need of a very big burp which just wouldn’t come out, so I was ready to burst all the way home. And that journey was quite a hassle. The first couple of tube stations I tried were closed, so I wandered around central London with thousands of drunk people, loads of police officers, cleaning vehicles and street sweepers.
The tube journey was quite a busy affair: policemen arresting a couple of blokes on the platform; a bunch of teenagers smoking weed on the train and getting chastised by an Australian woman; a man sat there, chatting away to his girlfriend, for all the world behaving like his face wasn’t cut up and covered in blood.
I finally got home around 3am, drifted off to sleep for a few of hours, then woke up with another fucking migraine, and I moaned and groaned until daylight. When I slipped off back to sleep I dreamt that I was, for some unexplained reason, replacing Jimmy Page at Led Zeppelin’s reunion concert, and despite my protests at not knowing how to play any of their songs, I was still forced to wing it. Thankfully, I woke up before I had to go on stage. I fear the reviews would’ve been awful.
Happy New Year.