If the end of the year lists are anything to go by—end of year lists as far as the eye can see, end of year lists on top of other end of year lists, end of year lists of other end of year lists, Here Are The Best End Of Year Lists Of The Year—if the end of year lists are anything to go by, it's coming up to the end of the year. Goodbye, 2015. Farewell to you, the year. Did you have a good one, VICE reader? Hold that thought then delete it. I don't really care if you had a good one.
The end of year is a good time to reflect, obviously, on the year gone by: of the music and film highlights, of the highs but—more inevitably—the lows. Think back through the year. Summer was great, wasn't it? That smeary, sweaty heat, dust in the air and sunlight dappling through the leaves, Coronas in public parks, standing outside pubs in your bare feet. And that holiday you went on, drinking only blue alcohol, pink with the tan and wearing vests, shouting on Spanish strips and having a quad bike tequila hangover on a beach. Spring was so fresh. Autumn so crunchy. All those good times. But still: You can't quite forget that time in May when you said a joke in a packed elevator at work ("Oop! Like sardines!" wasn't it?) and nobody said anything to acknowledge that you'd spoken. Or that time you slipped on a crushed beer can on some concrete and a whole primary school class out on a trip saw you split your trousers. That time you crafted a really good opening line on Tinder and a screenshot of it got widely disseminated on nail polish emoji Twitter. You just can't move past the bad times, can you? Like winter, it's coming: New Year's Eve. The end of the old times and the start of the new. The perfect excuse to do shots and forget every error, every fuck-up, every slight of 2015.
Thing is: It's December 28 and you've forgotten to fucking plan anything, haven't you? Every year. Every fucking year. Relive the hell of NYE and adjust your night accordingly. Here's everything that's going to happen to you.
THE 'SIX FACEBOOK INVITES AT ONCE' NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY RUSSIAN ROULETTE (S.F.I.A.O.N.Y.E.P.R.R.)
The scheduling conflict between Christmas and New Year really is a top-to-bottom shitshow that should be addressed by the government, because you spend 20+ days of December planning for Christmas—all that excitement, all that gift-wrapping, all that tree carrying—and then you're stuck in a fuzzy sort of overfed purgatory, the gray days of December 27 through 30, cookie after cookie, growing too fat for even your oversized Christmas sweater, and then boom: like waking up on a hangover with the startling realization you are two hours late for work, you remember with a jolt that New Year's Eve is coming, and you empirically have to do something.
Having to do things is, I think we can all agree, bad. Having to do things is possibly one of the worst responsibilities humans have in their lives. This is why people have children: to get out of doing things. This is why people get dogs, or save up deposits on houses. Doing things is so bad it makes us do enduring, long-term mistakes. Doing nothing is preferable. Picking up butt-warm dog shits with an inside-out bag over your hand is not fun, but it's preferable to going out, to doing things, to talking to people.
But on New Year's Eve, everything goes out of the window. There is an odd duty to New Year's Eve. Unless you are legitimately married and with children—unless you regularly say adult things like, "I have more than one weather app on my phone, I really like knowing about the weather," "It's time to balance the checkbook," and "Merino wool is truly the only wool for me"—you basically have to go out. And so here's the rub: Everyone has to do something, which means the quality of everything peaks and troughs at once. It means the club nights are spectacular, but the house parties are quite often shit. The human slurry of normal people who don't go out every Friday dilutes everything down to a digestible level and hides it all behind a perky Facebook invite. Is this an actual party you're being invited to? Or is it six girls in cardigans watching television and going home, after a glass of white wine each, at 12:15 AM? It is impossible to know.
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SOMEONE SIDLES UP TO YOU WEARING A PAIR OF "2016" NOVELTY SUNGLASSES, THE "1" IN "2016" RENDERED MONSTROUS AND BULGING BY THE MISPLACEMENT OF A LENS
They say "wahey" and they mean it.
AGAINST BETTER JUDGEMENT YOU ARE CONNED INTO BUYING A PITCHER BECAUSE "YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO THE BAR AS OFTEN"
There is this myth with pitchers, and that myth is: It is possible to have a good time while drinking them. Because with pitchers, more than any other drinking, you are chasing the fun dragon: consuming too much liquid too be comfortable, but with too low an alcohol content to get you actually drunk, thus necessitating a second pitcher, and then you have fucked it—flying right on through "bored pre-drunkenness" into "full-on shouting" without stopping at "actually having fun." The most fun part of being drunk is the shit-chatting stage and the stage where you're confident enough to talk to strangers. Everything before and after that—the boredom, the being aware of how much a round costs, the smell of the pub carpet; the crying, the vomiting, the kebabs—are actually terrible. You've pitchered your way from one bad bit to another.
When you consider buying a pitcher, just consider: are you "Crazy Chick"–era Charlotte Church? Are you the most perfect pissed angel to ever walk the earth? If you are not "Crazy Chick"–era Charlotte Church, you're not going to have any fun drinking pitchers. She was the only person capable of doing it, and even she couldn't keep it up for long, turning through pop stardom through parenthood and now into earnest left-wing blogging. Is that what you want from your New Year's Eve? Do you want to wake up and write an earnest 800 words about Jeremy Corbyn? Nobody wants to get that pissed, ever.
HAVING A REALLY REAL CONVERSATION ABOUT LAST YEAR
This is the trap with New Year's Eve goads you into: Everyone is all reflective and nostalgic, and someone goes, "So how was 2015 for you? Good year? Bad year?" and you suddenly look into middle distance and realize: You're in the same job, you're living in the same black mold–infested house, actually you technically got demoted, didn't you, in February, when that intern got made your boss, and you've still got the same problems last year's resolutions were meant to fix—still spending too much, drinking too much, still floating in a fug of satisfaction-free millennial sub-angst, angst not enough to make you do anything about it, angst just enough to make you sad, and God it's 2 AM and you're sobbing about your job to a bewildered looking stranger who only wanted to get to the punch bowl, snot all down your face, tears all down your front—
HAVING A REALLY REAL CONVERSATION ABOUT THE COMING YEAR
—oh God and now it's 3 AM and you're thinking about the year to come, this is like a panic attack now, fuck what will even change in 2016, what will even get better? God it's like: You think of New Year's Eve like a line, you know, like a clean break, but really it's just the same old shit, again and again and again, nothing comes good unless you make it come good, the only way to fix things is with work, oh Christ, adulthood is huge, adulthood is enormous, adulthood is just you overboard in the middle of the sea, the ocean is deep and dark beneath you, there's no one around for miles, oh my g—
YOU GET A 4 AM TEXT FROM YOUR MUM THAT SHE SENT AT MIDNIGHT AND ONLY JUST CAME THROUGH NOW AND IT'S REALLY SWEET AND LIFE-AFFIRMING AND SAYS HOW PROUD SHE IS OF YOU
Aw, thanks mum.
YOU GET A TEXT FROM YOUR MUM PISSED OFF THAT YOU DIDN'T TEXT HER BACK IN THE SECONDS AFTER SHE TEXT YOU SO "ME AND IAN ARE GOING TO SLEEP, NOW. DON'T WAKE US UP WHEN YOU COME IN."
YOU WAKE YOUR MUM UP COMING IN
Oh god you vomited too loud and now she's yelling. "I HOPE YOU DON'T WANT A BACON SANDWICH TOMORROW, BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT GETTING ONE." You just want to go to bed. You just want to go to bed. The last two jokes really rely on you staying at home for Christmas and then just sort of staying there for New Year, too.
YOU ACTUALLY WENT TO HAVE NEW YEAR'S EVE IN A BIG CITY—YOU'VE GONE BACK TO SCHOOL OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT—AND THAT LAST TWO JOKES REALLY DIDN'T HIT WITH YOU AT ALL, I MEAN THEY VERY MUCH SHOULD BE DISMISSED
Basically if you spend New Year's Eve in a city instead of a satellite town or village then there are just like six more clubs to get turned away from in the drizzle and it's way harder to get a cab home but, on the perky side, there are lots more places open until dawn.
YOU HAVE TO PAY $20 TO GET IN YOUR USUAL BAR
Mark's on the door in a big black North Face jacket and he's asking you if you've got a ticket or if you want to buy one on the door. "Mark," you're saying. "Mark: it's me." Mark knows you. Mark, from behind the bar. "Mark, don't you remember that time I testified in court for you about that time you punched that kid? I lied and told them he didn't have teeth when he turned up." It's $20, he says. There's buffet.
Pub buffet, n., the artistry thereof: there is no artistry in pub buffet. There is no determining "a" or "the" in "pub buffet." "There is buffet," Mark says, solemnly. "We done buffet." A cheese sandwich splits and wilts. An egg somehow grows more congealed in its mayonnaise. A pork sausage delicately balanced on a cocktail stick and pinched into a half-grapefruit wrapped in foil. Buffet.
Inside, the party is vibing: There's Pete, in his corner with his stout; there's Seany, pride of place on the fruit machine; and then there's about 200 fucking people in the fucking middle of the pub are you fucking joking. They keep ordering a "Woo Woo" or a "slimline G&T" from a stone-faced landlord. They keep being loud and happy. They keep going "FIVE… FOUR… THREE… TWO…!" They keep having fun. They have ruined your local with their once-yearly dose of fun. They have fucked New Year's Eve with their insatiable appetite for being normal.
YOU HAVE TO ORDER YOUR DRUGS AT 4 PM AND EVEN THEN YOUR DEALER IS PROBABLY GOING TO IGNORE YOU
I mean at the best of times the dude in the blacked out Audi who you text once monthly for some "extremely peng dizz" turns up an hour, an hour-and-a-half late, and you always seem to have to trudge from one car park at the side of an overpass to another car park at the side of an overpass to meet him, but I mean this is really taking the piss now: you try and stock up at 4 PM, like a good and honorable citizen, and he doesn't even respond to your text until 10, and even then he's somewhere taking a massive bag of cut-down coke to some house party full of posh kids. It's 2 AM when he turns up with most of a bag of baby food in a Ziploc with a little bit of drugs in it, and he wants double because there are "more police about than usual." The party is essentially over and the high you get is comparable to drinking a can of Tizer really quickly while spinning around. And yet you retreat to the bathroom with it in secret, you dirty little piggy, don't you? Yes you do. And you wake up with a sore throat and red eyes and a silent little promise to yourself to give up drugs this year. And you never will.
YOU HOLD ON TO THE DOOMED HOPE THAT A NEW YEAR WILL SOMEHOW BRING WITH IT CHANGE
What frail and useless hopes we all cling dear.
YOU STRUGGLE WITH "PEAK MANAGEMENT"
The thing: Nobody wants to be fall-down drunk before midnight, but then nobody quite knows what time to stop and go to bed with the parameters of the entire night changed and shifted forward—idling on the driveway of drunkenness before midnight, but then hell breaks loose and the rules go out of the window in the hours afterwards, and so now where does the night end: 3 AM? 7 AM? In two days' time? Never?—and so post-midnight you're just on it in an effort to get royally, celebration-worthy drunk, so drunk it is an event, and then oh: Oh shit, no, you're vomiting red wine into a sink on your while a line of people call you a "dickhead" or a "red vomit dickhead." It's 2 AM and not a single taxi will go near you so you have to stumble-walk home in the cold and in the drizzle. Wake up fully clothed in a stark bathroom and the taste of regret on your tongue and down your throat. You fucked it.
OH, THE EVER DESPERATE FUMBLE FOR A KISS
It's five minutes to midnight and you've spent too long in a toilet cubicle pretending to have a shit in case anyone looks under the door but secretly very much doing cocaine off the back of your phone instead, and you've burst outside and the DJ is winding through the first few moments of The Final Countdown, and all the couples are doing that gross couple thing they do—arms around each other's necks, gazing into each other's eyes, smiling, the disgusting happy fuckers, smiling—and all your other mates seem to have pulled and now no: you're stuck darting like fish through the sea with various other desperate gakked-up singletons, arms glancing off each other, pulling potential targets into and abruptly out of the kissing orbit, Tinder irl, hyper Tinder, and now everyone's counting—five, four—and you're still standing on your own—three, two—and now you know with a grim inevitability that everyone around you will kiss across midnight and you won't, and so you just consolidate the fact that you will start the year in a similar way to that in which we all die i.e. truly alone, and you give a weak cheer, and a confetti canon goes off on and over you, and the only four people who know the words to Auld Lang Syne start singing it, and you're folding your arms and being pulled into a begrudging dance circle, and that's it, that's you, happy 2016, this trough can only be followed by a peak.
YOU, EATING A STREET HOT DOG, WATCHING THE SUN RISE THROUGH THE GRAY AND THINKING ABOUT YOUR LIFE
5 AM and you've somehow found some dude with a boxy food cart selling burnt onion and a supermarket value sausage in a burger bun, and it tastes like heaven would taste, and it tastes like death, and the orange lamps and black mist and drizzle of deep night give way to a grey smoky sunrise, and it's just you and the pork and the sun, the streets littered with polystyrene chip cartons and passed-out girls, and you just gaze at it and think: Yeah, maybe, when I walk home and get to bed around 7 AM, woken by the dim puttering of my family and friends, maybe this is a New Year, a New You: a chance at something else, something better. Or maybe you'll just waste another year away getting shitfaced and watching Family Guy on iPlayer. Could go either way. The point is there is a chance at something else, at least. The point is Happy New Year.
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