Dec 31st, 1999

The car is parked on the Napier waterfront & I’m in the front listening to the thud of bass. People movement. A day that has been foreseen for so long. I drove up alone in two stretches, a break at PN, the exultation of geography, the Manawatu Gorge. I realised why mother begged the kids to look we had to be her eyes, it was our duty to experience & appreciate simply because we could…
…just saw Aurora and her flatmate Cassie, here w/ Aurora’s band-boy, we get ice cream and now I have chocolate topping on my beach pants. Symbolise that!
Sunlight is caught up in grey clouds like it can’t kick through. I feel underneath. And, oddly, far from alone.
I’ve referred to tonight’s soloist escapade as a happy suicide. I’m using it, this festival, to reiterate my preference for isolation, to focus and refocus in, to strip myself down. 8 years ago tonight I changed, started on a road that has led here, away from all who I know – alone in a crowd. So easy to interpret life as narrative and see the precursors to this, images and themes echoing back and down through years. 1999 has been a culmination, bringing a new freedom, the entirety of which I am only just beginning to appreciate. I have removed my cultured self by layers, folding each back and sloughing it off, and now I’m learning to live without guides and structures, not of time or need or respect; there is only one more category to lose now and that is Me as Me. Happy suicide; tonight I remove even my self. Like the years, I parcel it up and lock it away and move on, a new cycle, build a door just to open it, and free of feedback I move to dawn.
The Air India hijack continues a week on. Giant speaker stacks are playing ‘party like it’s 1999…’
Party like it’s now.

I kept a journal through 1999. Reading over some of it recently, I realise how much of it is coded so only I will ever see most of the content – this entry contains literally dozens of loaded words, packing in context and references that only I will get. But I want to take a moment on this blog to record that moment ten years (er, and a month) ago when I finished the journal, finished the 90s, and finished an eight-year process of ‘learning to live without guides or structures’. I can’t imagine myself without that process. It was how I created a version of myself I could properly and happily be.
Perhaps significantly, about three weeks after writing the above entry I met Cal for the first time.

7 thoughts on “Dec 31st, 1999”

  1. Funny you should post this today, just last night I was driving home from netball listening to ‘The General Electric’ on the car stereo (loud), and wistfully thought back to when I heard it on Dec 31 1999, driving along the esplanade on the way into town for the big knees up, the late afternoon sun glowing through high cloud, it being warm and still, and people everywhere getting ready for the night.

  2. I vaguely recall New Years Eve 1999. I remember the girl who I was sort of “with”, who was off in another city. I remember being at a party in Brooklyn (can’t remember whose place it was – Campbell maybe? – but vaguely remember how to get there). And being fairly unhappy. Hmmm.

  3. And I was just up the road at Gisborne, in the midst of a relationship breakup, spending part of the night searching for old-friends from high-school I was meant to meet but never quite managing to connect. There was a crazy thunder and lightening storm on New Years day as we drove back on that crazy road between Wairoa and Napier – tired, hung-over eyes and strike after strike of lightening. It was surreal.

  4. New Year’s Eve 1999 I was in London, on the only local hill (by Alexandra Palace) with my boyfriend and a bunch of people I didn’t know, failing to see the fireworks on the Thames. I’d followed him across the world a month before (after a year of separation during which he seemed quite keen) but he was already losing interest again… That year I finished my PhD and got my job at Cambridge though… so it wasn’t all bad… and it all led to my boys, so no regrets, but…

  5. I spent New Years Even 1999 with a group of people who were among my best friends. Although I have not had a falling out with any of them, and I still live in the same city, I think there’s only one person out of the whole crowd who I now see more than once every six months.

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