The ‘Mad Dog’ Craig Scott talks violent Yogis, Bieber balls, wigless Wonkas, and a New Year to forget… in chilly Cordoba!
FOR some folk – New Year’s Eve must be magical. Take the millions of Brazilians, for example, who celebrate at Copacabana Beach, sipping Apple Martinis and dirty dancing till dawn.
Or, for that matter, the hordes of New Yorkers who flock to Times Square – to witness the “Midnight Ball Drop” (which I am told, has nothing to do Justin Bieber finally reaching puberty!)
Where I come from, New Year’s Eve is never this much fun. No – imagine an endless night – which you spend shoulder-charging your way through a sea of zombie-like pissheads. There’s no Chinese Lanterns or sexy sambas “Oop north”…… just pissed-up bank workers having knee-tremblers on Lidl carparks. And forget vibrant firework displays over Sydney harbour, the only thing zipping through Lancastrian night skies – are empty bottles of WKD! “Ouch!”
My worst NYE experience came in 2008, when I counted down the chimes from Blackburn A&E. Although I’ve never dabbled in mind-altering drugs, the scenes from that waiting room are what I expect a “bad trip” to look like. Under fluorescent lights, I saw a rat-arsed Yogi Bear threaten paramedics, and a manic Minnie Mouse screaming for the morning-after-pill. Even weirder, was the sight of Willy Wonka’s wig falling off as he went for a cat scan!
Last year, I was living in Córdoba and looking forward to my first ‘normal’, and dare I say it…..”enjoyable” New Year’s Eve. Haha, FAT CHANCE! Unbeknown to us, the Spanish don’t do NYE pub crawls – it’s all private parties and town square get-togethers.
We walked through the city for hours, and found nothing but boarded-up bars and restaurants with “Cerrado” signs showing. It was as if the whole city was hiding from us. Considering I was doused in cheap, Christmas cologne – and smelling like a whore’s handbag – who could have blamed them?
Apart from the occasional tramp, swigging Lambrusco straight from the bottle… the streets were eerily empty. Then, somewhere in the distance, I could just about make out hearty laughter and joyous singing. Like a Spanish torpedo – homing in on an illegal, Moroccan banana boat, we hot-footed towards Plaza de las Tendillas – Córdoba’s main square. Somewhere en-route, however, the sub-zero temperatures began to affect my brain. Becoming increasingly paranoid, I imagined getting ambushed – and dragged by my Zara man-scarf towards a giant Wicker Man.
I pictured the Mayor – Rosa Aguilar, setting fire to the effigy, while crowds of Cordobés went wild to The Macarena! Terrified…I’d plead for mercy and scream that sacrificing me – to The God of Tourism, wouldn’t bring the EasyJets back. “All inclusive is cheaper!!!” I’d bellow……..but they wouldn’t listen. Eventually, I’d die, alone… and wishing I was back in Blackburn A&E.
In reality, however, nothing remotely this interesting happened. We eventually made it to Tendillas, just as people were packing up and going home. As we trudged back to the car – sober and slipping on grape juice, I promised myself “never again”.
So, as depressing as it sounds, I’ve decided to stay-in this Feliz Año Nuevo. Shock horror! But wait….a quick glimpse at the Radio Times reveals a not too shabby line-up. From seeing fellow northern simpleton – Karl Pilkington – letting the wind of America’s iconic Route 66 run through his…..erm, head…. to Jools Holland’s “Hootenanny”, and a Match of the Day special – where my beloved Bolton, will, no doubt – slip to another wrist-slitting home defeat – this time at the hands of the even less-fashionable – Wolverhampton Wanderers.
To end the night – I’ll probably switch over to More4, where gay British comic Stephen Fry will be counting down his 100 Greatest Gadgets. As Fry is a self-confessed “gay cruiser” who “loves sex”, I sincerely hope these “gadgets” don’t buzz or lurk beneath the counters of Soho sex shops. After all, who on earth needs to know which gizmos the witty, QI host – rams up his pompous, Eton arsehole? Seriously – I’ll choke on my rum punch if his No.1 gadget turns out to be the “teleporting gimp mask”- used to flee the UK in 1995 – during his well-publicised nervous breakdown.
I don’t know whether “opting out” of NYE is a sign of contentment, or further proof that I’m becoming a miserable, old Victor Meldrew. Oh well…..at least I can say I’ve been there, done that and got the sick-stained t-shirt!