New Year’s Eve, London, 2010, can be described in one word: mental. Frances and I had plans to go down to the river and watch the fireworks. We made it to Victoria Embankment shortly after eight and already then the masses of people plugged the streets. We were hungry and had hopes of soon finding something nearby, before finding a decent vantage point for the show. Not going to happen. We became part of a frustrated number of people attempting to traverse the ugly mob, disappointed by the ignorance of people who sit down in groups, in the way of all foot traffic. It took us a good hour and a half to make it from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square. By the end we didn’t want anything to do with it.
I wanted to capture the madness with my camera so looked for a place I could compose the shot and use something to stable the camera in the low light conditions. I chose a lamp post at the end of a street and held my camera up and against the post. Doing so I felt something on my hand and was disgusted to find wet paint from the lamp post; only then did I look around to the other side where there was a sign that read “Beware: Anti-Climb Paint”. Thereafter we saw it on every single lamp post around! The photo didn’t turn out and I had greasy paint all over the side of my hand and camera. Real pleasant. I managed to clean it off and we went direct to the next restaurant we could find; laughing along the way at the thought of all the individuals at the limits of their inebriated wisdom, inclined to climb poles.
We found an Italian place that had great food and served as the perfect escape with a sheltered view of the horde of oblivious, littering zombies that continually marched by. We stayed there until it was time to find some place not too crowded to catch a glimpse of the fireworks. The Underground was closed from midnight to 12:15, so we failed to beat the crowd to the subway and had to endure the ride on the car stuffed full of people, all on their best behaviour. It was a relief to reach the more distant stations and actually be able to breathe.
New Year’s Eve in London is definitely an experience, but not one I would recommend. We still managed to bring in the New Year with big smiles, laughs, and positive thoughts; however next year’s venue will likely be something more peaceful. Happy New Year everyone; best wishes for 2011!