In New Zealand, New Year’s Eve begins at midday on the 30th. That was today. This is signaled by whoever has fronted with the keg.
Once the keg had been tapped, it’s a bit like the opening ceremony of the Olympics, where they light the cauldron. Faces of anticipation turn to fully-blown alcoholic wonderment as beer froths from the sides of the pump connection, and drips lovingly down the metallic ‘vessel of mysteries’.
These were my New Years Eves of yesteryear.
Soon after, the boy-folk — all of 18 years old — would stand around, shirtless, holding two or three plastic jugs each, incredulous that Odin had stroked his beard so magnificently to create the hop, since traditional notions of a monotheistic religion had been left at the door today.
As had drinking decorum. Since there was so much of the hop contained within the keg, beer could be liberally spilled, and by 2pm some of the boys were in the pool with two jugs apiece, a lit Winfield fag, and the music of an alternative rock outfit to rage to. A ball might even make it into the pool to convert the scene to sport.
After, dripping and replete, a convergence of wet bodies would again worship the keg, the girls stretched out on loungers, talking, smoking, drunk, and happy.
Someone would get the munchies, but the girls had that covered. Someone’s girlfriend, usually the Alpha Male’s, would have brought many salads and would begin to unmount the rear of her 1980 Honda Civic hatchback — potato salad, rolls, potatoes wrapped in tin foil for the barbecue, marinating chops — and the tribe would stare at her in wonder, wishing they actually had a girlfriend.
The barbecue was lit — literally — with a match and Vesta’s flame was stoked with the white magic of turps. Nothing excited the crowd more than the sound of
that made even the 60-something-year-old neighbours pop a stern head over the fence, thinking some kind of teen mischief was going to affect their QV rating.
The chops cooked, the boys ate bare handed then slept, while the girls carried on drinking and dancing, swapping the macho guitar-based rock for Deee-Lite’s Groove is in the Heart until the influx of bogan-chick gatecrashers got the shits and tried to put on Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen in another room.
Someone had drunk too much and spewed on the new duvet cover from D.E.K.A, and the hostess cried; the crying evolving into childhood regression
I never knew my father!
and bogan chick and non-bogan chick alike would gather and soothe and someone would helpfully set up a water bong.
Soon everyone was hugging and dancing again indiscriminately to Boy George, even though they mistrusted ‘cross-dressing homosexuals’, but they knew all the words to that song:
If I looked into your eyes would you say
and the boy of our dreams would finally come over and dance with us, and we’d get together on the dance / patio-cum-spa pool floor, and stay together defacto-styles for at least two years.
And that was New Year’s Eve 1990, and if we’d kept going, we’d be in Capri ;not the island, the rehab centre.
But, of course, we’re not.
We’ve got the New Year’s resolutions of adulthood to thank for that.