January 1st, 2011

Marking The Transition

My friend Judy- a New Yorker in exile- writes to tell me she saw the New Year in playing parlour games at a friend's house in Nashville. She bullied and cajoled her friends to put the TV on so she could watch the ball dropping in Times Square, which happened, of course, at 11 o'clock Tennessee time.

The first time I saw the ball drop was- I think- in that very bad attempt to revive (and Americanise) the Dr Who franchise, with Paul McGann as the Doctor and Julia Roberts' little bro as the Master. The ball was linked to a Doomsday device- and obviously the Doctor disarmed it with seconds to spare. But why a ball? Why have it drop? How old is this tradition? Is there some sort of roulette symbolism going on?

Here in Britain the birth of the New Year is signalled by the midnight chimes of Big Ben. I didn't listen in this year. In fact I was in bed- but only just. I timed things so I was slipping between the sheets a minute or two before the fireworks began.  I used not to be this way, but fireworks make me nervous. 

Weatherwise the first day of 2011 is much like the last day of 2010, but not quite as gloomy.