Fireworks, 1942, My Spiritual Checkpoint. (2008)
For a change this year I spent New Year’s Eve on the foreshore of my hometown Burnie, Tasmania. While the lengthy stares from primitive locals and a muddy mix on the Bon Jovi cover band (Bad Medicine) were downers, the midnight fireworks were a plus. It doesn’t matter where you are, geographically or mentally, fireworks are always a good idea.
The ripe whiff of gunpowder and atomic whip cracks send your spirits down a psychedelic wormhole into the victory lap of your childhood. Pixel grenades paint bomb the dimensions in rainbow basted electro pastels. There’s a synergy in the synapses, as the cartoon factory of your memories explodes inside a mirror ball of kaleidoscopic buckshot. Your gaze centred on a Vegas-orange solar waterfall, your arm around a companion, your mouth cool with beer: For a burst of time your life feels dynamic – your plans achieved, your slate cleared – with official pardon from the cosmos, this is your delegated ‘night off’ from yourself.
The neon green forest of exploding peas showers down on the sea, followed by the sub-bass catapult of laser-red super whistles. This is the atomic kick start to the best year of your life. This is a fully loaded robo chimney-sweep blasting away the cobwebs of the past. This is some Michel Gondry inspired visual representation of your mind map – the ideas and dreams that are spiraling out of your brain at the speed of sound. The options, the choices, the realities.
New Year’s Eve always makes me dramatic. I think I might have a touch of synestheasia, because I visualise being at the end of the year as if I am standing on the end of a platform. It’s a vector graphic, like being inside a vintage computer game, or on the set of Tron. Standing on the end of the platform feels like being on stage, and on the strike of 12 I get the urge to throw my head to the heavens and scream – ‘this year we’re going to fucking make it!’ This is something I did for NYE 1998. Who was I talking to? Myself – and probably God. New Year’s Eve, plus beer, makes me very dramatic, and competitive. It’s me against the world. Again.
For me, New Year’s Eve is like finishing a level of the 80’s computer game 1942. After you’ve shot the last couple of planes down, you cruise back down to your landing pad. Here, you are given the chance to relax your sweaty grip on the joystick and have some lemonade. The screen shows the percentages of how accurately you’ve shot down planes, followed by how many stages you have left to complete. You are then sent skywards with a characteristic loop the loop, and given a few precious seconds to cruise solo over the ocean, before the first wave of gun ships swoop in.
New Year’s Eve is an important spiritual checkpoint. It’s necessary for me to be able to breathe an air of relief over the past, and wipe an excited sleeve over the window ahead. I need to light the fuse of my optimism, and send a disco dandelion of mini-suns cannoning out over the horizon. It’s a delicate, beautiful sprawl of colours and energy – a vibrant pulse for the galaxy of my personality.