Sunday, December 13, 2009

End of the noughties

It's nearing the end of 2009, and the MSM are at it like Santa writing up lists. Time's Top Ten of Everything 2009 is out. Foreign Policy magazine has its inaugural Top 100 Global Thinkers too. Both are fairly Americanocentric, and FP's ranking seems a bit rank with Ben Bernanke, Dick Cheney and Pope Rottweiler scoring above their dues.

And it is nearly time to pull the sheet over this foul decade that was the start of the 21st century. The Guardian gets it about right with a compilation of the People Who Ruined the Decade. There's a few UK in-jokes there too, but the theme is dead right. The noughties have been a bit shit.

2000 AD kicked off with an anticlimax and went downhill from there. I witnessed the omens on the millennial New Year's Eve celebrations in Gisborne, hyped as the first landmass (give or take) that would see in the 21st century. We were part of an international media event.

Helen Clark's Labour party had just stormed into power. There was optimism in the air. The Gisborne Council had local and central government funding out the wazoo to celebrate the coming new improved era.

Along with the throngs that congregated in the township centre, I witnessed the underwhelming lack of fireworks along with thousands of other expectant revellers. One mediocre pop and that was it.

Dame Kiri was due to welcome in the dawn at the beach. There were hours to kill, so the pack of us headed round the town's bars, which saw fit to milk it and charge Auckland prices.

Later on, coming down at the beach just as dawn's left hand was lightening the eastern skies, we sat with thousands of others waiting for Kiri. The sun breached the horizon. No Kiri. The MC said that Kiri would be there soon. Half an hour later, with the sun a good two fingers above the seas, and still no Kiri. Bugger this, we said and off home we went.

Says it all really. In between then and now, I've helped carry two coffins, lived in two countries (three if you consider Auckland another country), and ended up in 2009 some 200 metres from where I was in 1999. Everything's the same but completely different.

Call me a pessimist, but there'll be a time when we'll all look back at the noughties and say, "Those were the good days."

Dick, Cunt and Arsehole of the Decade, George W Bush. DimPost got it almost right when he chose Radiohead's Idioteque as the song of the decade. Not enough paranoia though. My song of the decade is DJ Shadow's remix of The Gloaming.