A Timeline of Exactly How Your New Year's Eve Will Go

An exact rundown of the party you said you probably shouldn’t go to but you’re going to anyway.
Daisy Jones
London, GB
A smiling man falling in a pile of bin bags on New Year's Eve
Photo: Bob Foster

Oh my god, you guys. It's nearly 2022. You know what that means. Everything's going to get better. Yep, just like it did last year and the year before. As soon as the clock strikes midnight, all the bad shit that happened will magically disappear and we’ll get to emerge anew!

Before that though, there’s New Years' Eve to get through, which is historically the one night of the year in which you're supposed to “have plans”. This year though, it’s the opposite. We have out of control “mutant” variants to deal with and a record-breaking rise in cases. Big, banging NYE parties in England are allowed, but clubs everywhere else in the UK are closing their doors. Like last year, having no plans is the new plan.


The thing is, you probably don’t even need to go out because you already know exactly how your night going to go down. So do we. Here’s a timeline of everything that’s going to happen to you on New Year’s Eve.

6PM to 8PM: The pre-pre-drinks

All big nights out start with the best of intentions. “Latty flow neg!” you message to the group, even though your idea of thorough testing involves shoving the swab up your nostril for two seconds max. “Finally got my booster yesterday so should be fine!” someone else messages, even though it takes at least a week to kick in. “My flat is pretty big so we can be sort of spaced out,” someone else messages, even though you just got a bag in and will, in four hours, be practically swapping bogies. “Great! See you for pre-drinks!”

You know you probably shouldn't pre-drink before the pre-drinks because you'll be vomiting into your hand by 11PM, but fuck it. You have a cheeky little G&T in a can. Apply a bit of glitter while Kim Petras plays in the background. Ask your flatmate if this top makes you look like Kat Slater (“Yes? Good.”) Everyone knows the best part of a night is before it's even happened. 


8PM to 10PM: The pre-drinks

Here we have the small wedge of time in which you’re the Very Best Version of yourself. Tipsy enough to nod enthusiastically at the guy trying to explain the blockchain, but not so wasted that you're furiously wrestling the aux off someone so you can play Anastacia “because she's actually really underrated, guys!” Your makeup hasn't smudged yet. Your outfit is still non-sweaty and on point. This is going to be the best year ever. Fuck Omicron! Fuck nasal swabs and all the rest of it! This is your year!

10PM to 12AM: The main event

It ended up taking you all 50 mins to get here because there was a big discussion about the Uber and who needs to Monzo who and when and it’s “only £2.17 each but it all adds up!” You just stayed quiet the entire time and tried to become invisible and now you’re here, at a house party someone threw together last minute because the club night you optimistically bought tickets for in October cancelled after all its staff got COVID.

You look around at the place you are about to usher the new year in and it’s… fine. What did you expect, a jacuzzi? Lines of coke off strippers’ bare asses? A secret set from Arca? Instead there’s about 50 sheepish-looking people and some Sensations in a bowl and someone’s put a 90s Spotify playlist on. You’re just about to skip Robin S when someone shouts “it’s midnight!” and no-one snogs except some couples.


Photo: Emily Bowler

12AM to 2AM: The main event 2.0

This is the point in the night where you bring up a semi-traumatic event to rant about in the corridor. Your mum's cousin's son's death. Your anxiety medication. The fact that you couldn't swim at school so they made you sit in the shallow pool with a blind kid while everyone else took turns on the diving board (this is a true story about me). 

Things that never bother you in the cold light of day will suddenly become significant issues. “Babe… You're not that kid in the shallow pool anymore, you’re 28,” your new best friend will say and you will nod solemnly into your plastic cup, a single tear rolling down your face. “But I always feel like that, y'know?”

The next day, this is the conversation you will replay and replay and wonder whether it's possible to die, just drop down dead, from cringing. 

2AM to 4AM: The main event 3.0

“Haappy Nwe Yrea m9,” you message the ex before your most recent ex. “Miss you.” The time stamp reads 3.15AM. At one point, you start inexplicably gyrating against a man in blue jeans and brown sheaux who you later find out is someone’s dad. You also took a pill earlier off a guy in a bucket hat and are now just marching from room to room with a hot face and clenched jaw going “happy new year” to people who just nod back.

When someone says they’re having a “little thing” at theirs and that you can play the music really loud and have a go on their electric guitar, you take them up on the offer even though there’s a really, really distant tiny voice somewhere inside your mind whispering “go to bed” and “pandemic”.


4AM to 6AM: Afters

Isn’t it wild that after all that “new year, new me” bullshit, we often purposefully and deliberately choose to spend the very first hours of the year at our most debased and lizard-brained state, on someone’s sofa, in a K-hole or doing something weird like trying to teach a stranger how to belly dance even though you have literally never belly danced in your life?

Anyway, by this point in the night slash day, you will have totally forgotten about the “Omicron wave” and will be curled up in a windowless room with four or six strangers chatting about life, where you thought you’d be at this age and other things that come out during the darkest and most sinister twilight hours of the night. You may have even started telling someone about your lockdown screenplay idea before blacking out. Who knows.

6AM to four days later: The positive COVID test

You spend the first two weeks of January feeling like every single one of your limbs is on fire. Even your eyes hurt. In later years, the start of 2022 will resemble a big chunk of nothingness because you slept for 17 hours a day. You develop weird, wrinkled toes and everything tastes like shit for months to come. Fuuuuck.