Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Memories

I thought it might be appropriate to spend a moment or two reminiscing about the ghosts of new year's past. I could, I suppose, instead reflect on 2008 specifically, but what's one year among many? Here are some details of some memorable New Year's Eves.

Musical New Years
As a musician, there have been a number of years that I end up performing on the last day of the year. A few stand out in my memories. There was the time that my high school-era band played at the huge party of our now dearly departed friend Tim Kerrigan, which was in 1988. That was perhaps the biggest backyard party I ever played... there had to be close to 300 kids there, and it was one of the first times I actually had a small taste of the rock star life. Back then, I was much less hesitant to play while intoxicated than I am now, and one indication of that was waking up on January 1, 1989 and having no idea where my guitar and amp were (they were fortunately safe, as I found out the next day when I went back to the house to retrieve them).

Years later, on 12/31/02, I played a private party with my band at the time, Liquid. We were set up in a garage (classy!), and our audience milled around in the driveway. It started off pretty dull, but as the evening progressed, the female friends of the hostess began getting progressively more and more drunk. Ultimately, while we played our cover tunes, the gals began doing amateur strip teases in front of us. By the time midnight rolled around, I'd seen more intimate body parts of strangers than I had in the last porno I saw.

Last year, I spent New Year's Eve 2007 performing live in SL. Since the evening fell on the night when I had my regular weekly show, I was asked to play. Having nothing else to do that night (I'd long since stopped going out on that evening), I accepted the gig, and ended up having one of my biggest audiences ever in SL (I've had larger ones since, but it was pretty cool at the time). I got to countdown the new year for the East Coast folks (being three hours behind them was advantageous for this), and it turned out to be a really fun night.

Rocking Crystal Sands, 12/31/07.

Non-Musical New Years
Some of my earliest New Years memories are pretty great. When you're ten and you have a legitimate excuse to stay up until midnight, you cherish it. My mom used to make something she called "Children's Champagne". It was rainbow sorbet with 7-Up poured over it. I've made it for my own kid in more recent times. I might make it tonight, actually. Sounds kinda yummy.

As I got older, I started doing adult-style New Years, well before I was legally (or mentally) an adult. Honestly, I really used to enjoy going out on New Year's Eve. I did. I don't now, but I did once. I definitely recall having a great time on 12/31/85. I was a senior in high school, and my friend Joe Arseneault had a huge party every year, since it was both his birthday and New Years rolled into one. Joe had a keg of beer, or perhaps several of them, and we knew in some aspects things would be changing quickly as we got toward the end high school and moved out into the world. So, with all of our good friends around, we drank and smoked and laughed and danced and sang. Good times, for sure.

Two years later, in 1987, was the beginning of my current trend toward disliking the New Year's "go out and party" experience. My band did go and play at a party in Redondo Beach, but we were ridiculously loud and the cops shut as down relatively quickly. We ended up hanging out in a depressing environment comprised of a few guys who were passing around a cocaine-lined mirror in their dingy apartment, talking about "the good old days" even though we weren't yet 20 years old. Bleh. That entire point in my life was an immense bummer; my folks had divorced, I had no permanent place I called home, and I was neither fully committed to work or school. Not a good time, really.

Two years ago, I was convinced to go hang out with some old friends for New Year's, but the problem of being spread around the greater Los Angeles area can be a bummer. We started out at a friend's party in Orange County, and then relocated to another pal's house closer to home, in Lomita. But all in all, I found myself yawning throughout the evening, and since I also don't really enjoy drinking anymore, I found myself at several points wishing I was back in my own home. Often, you assume it's the people or the situations that have changed, but ultimately it's a better bet that you're the one who has changed. I think that was the case with me.

So, for the most part, I've abandoned the idea of New Year's being an excuse to go out and drink, and all the rest of it. However, ending on a bright note, for the past three New Year's Eves, I've greatly enjoyed being on the phone with my darling Kat at midnight, to start the new year by wishing her a happy one. And this year, for the first time, I get to have her next to me when the ball drops at midnight. For that, I am thankful.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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