diamond geezer

 Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Writing yesterday's post it struck me I'd never seen in a New Decade (or a New Year) in Trafalgar Square, so I decided to put that right. I was not alone. The square and the surrounding roads were packed, but not quite crushed, with tens of thousands of people. I hardly heard any of them speaking English, so I suspect this is where ticketless tourists and foreign visitors come to see in the New Year, thinking it's the closest they'll be able to get to the fireworks. A small cheer went up two minutes early, but was collectively quashed, and I was most impressed when the crowd's big cheer was correct to the second.

Friends and families turned to one another to celebrate the arrival of 2020, someone released a bunch of multi-coloured helium balloons and numerous lads lit up the enormous spliffs they'd fortuitously brought with them. Simultaneously countless phones were raised to record the spectacle in the sky, only for everyone to realise the awful truth that nothing of the fireworks was visible bar a glow above the rooftops. A slow stampede began, with revellers surging towards a corner of the square they hoped would provide a better view, generally without any success.

What everyone present did experience was the racket of the pyrotechnics ricocheting off the surrounding buildings, unexpectedly astonishingly loud as if the centre of London was under attack. This thunderous assault lasted all of ten minutes, after which the crowds dissipated back to their hotels, or filtered off into non-ticketed bars, or streamed towards any tube station they believed to be open. I was home before one o'clock and watching the fireworks on catch-up with a mug of hot chocolate. On the small screen they were very much quieter but also very much more impressive than they'd been in Trafalgar Square. Been there, done that, do not recommend.

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