This is the last editorial of the millennium. And yes, I know it’s not really the millennium, but just tell any complaining pedant that Christ was actually born in 4 BC anyway. Failing that, a witty shout of “Fuck off, arsehole” usually does the trick. Regardless, this area will be update-free, since I’ll be busy getting into the Christmas spirit — not to mention the Christmas beer, and at least two helpings of the Christmas dead animal too. I thus won’t be able to reach the keyboard until about the first weekend in January.
We’ve come a long way in those thousand years. Back in 1000, the Internet consisted of a bunch of monks desperately trying to copy out illuminated manuscripts (of Ye Paemaela Andersonne, no doubt), and getting them donkey’d across for a squire to hold them up in front of the user. And you think lag-times are sometimes a bit bad now. But even a lot closer to our present era, the Internet arrived more or less unpredicted: even William Gibson reckoned cyberspace would be full of sleek data cubes, round which we would whizz at the speed of thought. Or at least, he never mentioned it would be full of people arguing about who would win if Buffy and Xena had a fight [the answer, incidentally, is that Buffy has superior martial arts skills, but Xena’s weapons give her the edge there]. I guess he’d forgotten that the street will find a use for technology…
Thus, where we’ll be in another thousand is anyone’s guess. Hell, where I’ll be in ten days is anyone’s guess: quite possibly reduced to my constituent atoms by an errant ex-Soviet ICBM. At least that’ll save me from having to go into work on New Year’s Day — yup, 0900 on 1/1/00, I’ll be at my desk, ensuring that no matter what chaos and anarchy may befall western civilisation, you’ll still be able to buy shares from HSBC, first thing on Tuesday morning. I trust you are all appropriately grateful. This will, of necessity, slightly limit my plans for seeing in the triple zero, though they were never exactly apocalyptic: Chris is coming over, so she and I have agreed it’ll be far better just to curl up on a comfy couch with champagne and watch it all on TV. Who could ask for anything more?
Especially when the alternatives are a) lining the pockets of greedy venues (99 quid? Get out of here!) or b) freezing your butt off down by the Thames watching a “river of fire”. Was disappointed to discover this is simply a bunch of fireworks, I was hoping they would pour ether over the river and toss a match onto it. Hey, what price a few singed eyebrows? It’s only once every thousand years! Much as the latent pyromaniac in me likes the idea of 39 tonnes of explosives going up (never mind the irony of its location within a rocket’s distance of where Guy Fawkes almost pulled off the best bang since the big one), it’s not enough to drag me out. Part of me hopes it rains — this is not quite as cynical and malicious as it sounds, because I know of precisely no local residents who are planning to go, so the drenching will be reserved for well-deserving tourists.
Part of me wishes the 39 tonnes of explosives to “accidentally” go off too, so if I do go out, I’ll be the one standing by the river, flicking lit matches at the barges. However, I can think of far better places to be: warm, comfortable, slightly alcoholic and cuddled up next to my one true love. That is how to finish a millennium.
Have a good festive season, enjoy the extra-long break, and I look forward to the pleasure of your company in 2000.