It is time. It is finally time. The year 2020 is gone. Forever. In its place, we have 2021, gleaming with possibility, optimism and a little bit of caffeine sweat from too many lockdown coffees. Join us now as we raise one of those pointy plastic flutes and say to the world: Happy New Year from the slightly beleaguered but somehow-jolly-despite-everything people of London!
As we do this, there’s plenty to reflect on. The chefs, virtual club nights, online galleries and DIY meal kits that have kept us sane. The National Theatre and The Globe, who saved our collective cultural bacon with their free streaming productions. Soho embracing Gallic chic with pavement tables. The indefatigable Dominic Cools-Lartigue, who went from restaurateur to non-profit feeder of London’s poorest. The Royal Ballet setting up shop next to the Regent’s Canal in Hackney. Hopefully we covered the best bits as part of our ongoing Love Local campaign.
All the shuttered restaurants that got their kitchens cooking for doctors, nurses and paramedics, the vulnerable and the alone. The gin-makers who brewed hand san. The fashion labels sewing masks. John Boyega for speaking out at the Black Lives Matter protests and the millions of ordinary Londoners who just tried to get on with their lives, while maybe looking out for each other a little bit more.
Some things we’ll want to keep. The takeaway pint-in-the-park ritual (cans are so 2019) will stay. It’ll be even better when public loos are open again so that we aren’t all just weeing everywhere like incontinent stoats.
We’ll carry on ordering from great local restaurants if we don’t want to get all dolled up but still want to eat something amazing. We’ll carry on getting fancy meal kits and pretending we can cook. We’ll sack off cornershop wine and get bottled cocktails delivered by a nice woman on her bike. Just as importantly – and pray God this actually happens – we’ll carry on supporting each other and the people and places that make our magnificent, enigmatic, redoubtable city great, even in the most difficult of times.
What will Londoners be doing this NYE? Giving thanks for what we have, thinking about what we’ve lost, looking forward to the future. Happy New Year, friends!
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