By the time you read this, it probably will be 2001, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, and writing this in a time zone seven hours behind GMT. Any British readers will likely be safely ensconsed down the pub already, having learned from previous years' blow-outs, where after 9pm, every venue larger than a telephone booth is packed-out, with the doors manned by gorillas trained in the art of extortion. It's been at least four years since I've bothered to brave New Year's Eve out in London, and I don't think I'll be doing it in Phoenix - not with the local paper having felt it necessary to remind the population that it's illegal to fire your weapons in the air at midnight. I'll be staying well away from the windows too.
It has been a momentous year, full of upheaval, at least for me, even if the predictions of doom (largely from the computer industry) about Y2K failed to materialise (largely due to the computer industry - hey, what are the odds against that?). There are still the few who reckon that 2001, being the real end of the second millennium, will be the real test, but no-one is paying them much attention. Which is, in many ways, more worrying than last time round, since I tend to think that when disaster finally does strike the human race, we're not going to know about it in advance. It will come from an entirely unexpected source, such as a lethal disease carried by vegetables. We can only hope.
No, the upheavals this year were more of a personal nature, and have been well documented on this site over the past months. If you'd told me five years ago that I'd finish the millennium living in Phoenix, without a job, and responsible for two kids and a web-site, I'd have laughed. A high-pitched, slightly hysterical laugh, but a laugh nonetheless. Yet like a jigsaw falling into place, all the various pieces of this lifestyle have turned up, and it all makes perfect sense now. On that basis, I should probably refrain from making predictions about where I will be in 2005, but I suspect the answers will be a) somewhere in America, b) working three days a week, and c) just about to wave the second kid off to college. And the web-site will probably move, Demon having finally buried themselves with the Have I Got News For You fiasco - which I promise I will get round to detailing sometime before 2005.
2001 is closer to home, so predictions ought to be more certain, yet apart from Millennium Dome souvenirs becoming immensely collectable and valuable (please...?), I have little to offer. Tony Blair might win a general election (largely due to the lack of a credible alternative - we're getting more and more like America in that regard), but I probably won't hear about it. The only news stories from Britain to reach this side of the pond involve the Royal Family or Madonna, so anything short of Godzilla rampaging through Piccadilly Circus will probably not make the cut here.
Perhaps the most dispiriting thing is that we will have to endure a lot of fuss about Stanley Kubrick's movie over the next twelve months. While an undeniable landmark in science-fiction cinema, it remains one of the most hugely over-rated films of all time, with a last quarter that makes sense only if you are on heavy medication, and a first three-quarters that make you wish you were. But Arthur C.Clarke was right about one thing - the big, black monoliths have arrived. They can be found on the doors of the pubs mentioned above, barring the way and saying things like, "Sorry mate, those are trainers." Clarke just forgot to mention the bow-ties and ear-pieces...
Have a happy new year - if you haven't already had it!