Here it was, then – the year 2000. The promise of this moment had hung over my childhood like a neon-lit spaceship from a comic book. It had winked at a little girl in astronaut-speckled pyjamas from the depths of the midnight sky. But now it was here, of course, it was very different. To this 21-year-old, all grown up and grouchy, it was just as Blur had predicted in my mid-teens. End of a century? Oh. It's nothing special.
That night, I didn't party like it was 1999, not even remotely. I sat in my parents' front room crying into an orange juice, three separate twists of fate keeping me away from London, a good friend away from town, and sending another to a hospital where her grandmother's heart had decided to give way on a rather inopportune afternoon. Not knowing what to do, I had joked to my parents that I may as well stay sober that night to drive their friends home. They missed the joke. When midnight came, there were no fireworks for me. There were no bangs, only whimpers.
That year continued in a similarly grumbly vein. A heartbreak from the previous summer still leaving its scars, the readjustment to a new life in London still taking its time. I retreated to the music of my recent past for comfort, before the first song of that century worked its way into my bones.
The song was by The Delgados, a band that made me think of that boy from the previous century. But this time, again, things were different. It came from their new album, The Great Eastern, which I bought in April, and listened to all year. It had a strange, ghostly figure on its cover, with which I felt an odd sort of empathy, drifting between my old life and my new one, feeling on the edges of everything, not really knowing where I fitted in. No Danger was track six, a song which talked about the desire to do something new, the comfort that came with being cowardly (these lyrics beinge full of misty references to heroin, rather than the fags and cheap beers that were my innocent vices), but there were pockets of hope also popping up alongside them.
These lyrics became mine as the year went on. "'We don't know we're strong enough"; "but people, people, we're not in love". I clung to them as I left him behind, and let me come through.