The 12 Blogs of Christmas: Eleven. Millennium Eve.

First up, esteemed Doctor Who script editor Brian Minchin, needs your help, should you be of a particularly fannish bent. He needs to know, and I doubt we need read anything about the new season into this, the correct spelling of... those alien plants that begin with V, that pop up in 'The Dalek Masterplan', or whatever that serial is called now. You know. It should be obvious, but it's not. All suggestions gratefully received, and hopefully we can get some sort of consensus sorted out.

Matthew Badham has an interview with me up at Down the Tubes. It was done quite a while back now, but goes into some detail about the process behind Captain Britain and MI-13. You can take a look here.

The podcast of the second half of the panel I did with various other comic creators at Sci-Fi London is here.

And my big news this morning is that Marvel have announced that Leonard Kirk and I are teamed yet again, this time on a back-up strip in Avengers Vs. Atlas #3, coming out in March. It's Venus answering her mailbag concerning various super heroes' romantic troubles. And it lets Leonard draw the Agents of Atlas again.

Now, the idea for this particular blog entry... well, let's let Laurie Pink do the honours...

It came from an email that SFX Magazine writer Nick Setchfield sent to me, remembering what we were doing nearly a decade ago, on December 31st, 1999. Here's what he said:

'I wasn't entirely sure that it was going to be extraordinary until the last couple of minutes - we had been mazing our way through drizzly suburbia, and extraordinariness seemed a long way away. I was resigned to remembering the turn of the century as a bleakly amusing sit-com moment, preparing to dine out on the sweetly British anticlimax of it all. I was mumbling a litany of the 20th Century, from Marilyn to penicillin, the Wright Brothers to Apollo, Sinatra to the four minute mile, but it felt as though I was taking the piss, too keen to make something momentous out of the seeming mediocrity of it all. As a kid I'd always wondered where I'd be tonight and I was beginning to feel cheated.

And then we saw the hill, somehow hidden away in the streets. And suddenly, with the century flatlining around us, a magic kicked in. There were silhouetted figures in the distance, bundled up against the dark and the cold, and it felt like the apocalypse with woolly gloves and cocoa. A very Radio 2 kind of apocalypse.

I scrambled up the hill, Mark calling "Come and join us" as if he was some emissary of the saucer people. Yeah, anything's possible now, I thought.

The view was incredible - Bath was a fabulous array of cosy lights, warm windows, bright homes, firefly streetlights hazing in the damp night. Great drifts of mist swept past us as I choked my flu-wracked guts up, my head still buzzing with Vodka. Tom scared the dogs on the hill. Shit. The end of the century. It's something special after all.

Someone had a radio on, and as the millennia did the baton relay, they muttered "Bloody hell - where are the chimes? Why aren't they playing the chimes?" I didn't care. I had Big Ben in my spluttery soul. It was a new millennium. I could only imagine it as a new century for the moment, but that was cool enough.

We swigged champagne from plastic cups, Mark pledging to down champers every day of his life from now on. Viv gave me my first kiss of the next thousand years and I discovered that the torch I'd borrowed from Dave was powerful enough for Bat-signal fun in the sky. Fireworks erupted across the horizon, gunpowder blossoms in the rain. All my cynicism had been coughed up, or sneezed away in the tattered loo roll I'd swiped from Steve's and Viv's, the same loo roll that was drifting like albino confetti from my pockets. This was good.

Paul and I discovered a dark pagan bush that we could have sworn wasn't there in the previous century. Perhaps reality was pulling off wonderfully subtle sleights of hand all around us, in the same way that mass consciousness was laughing at the pedants and saying "No, the new millennium begins here and now..." and making it real.

We left the hill, Paul bravely yet insanely bombing away over the treacherous mudslide of the field, laughing at the laws of physics as his coat tails reached for flight before gravity grabbed him back to the streets. It was Steve who fell over, mere feet from the gate and the reassuring world of concrete and tarmac beyond. And at the sight of my chum's mud-slicked arse and elbows I pissed myself for the first time this millennium.'

And that made me think of asking a bunch of other people, again, from the three worlds I move in, SF, Doctor Who and Comics, how they spent that night. Because it's been an extraordinary, and traumatic, ten years, and it seems to have flown past. Let's start with the Who folk:

Russell T. Davies: 'December 31 1999 - and doesn't that sound like a million years ago? - I had a stinking cold. My ears and head were stuffed full, like I was trapped inside a sleeping bag. So we went to my old mate Alex's for dinner, visited the neighbours at midnight, fireworks went off in the rain... and all I wanted to do was go home. Then I did. And that was it! December 31 2009, I'll be in Manchester, with my old fella and two mates I've known since school, Tracy and Bobby. We'll play cards all night, which we've done for the past 7 or 8 New Years. We play a card game called Beanie, which has evolved rules so strange and obscure that we're like those twins who grew up in a cupboard and invented their own language. Last year's game had to be abandoned at Level Ten, because everyone was so drunk. I've never forgiven them. This year, it's Beanie: The Revenge. I am so going to win. Ha ha, I'm so looking forward to that now!'

Steven Moffat: 'Ha! And I REMEMBER!! And there's a PHOTOGRAPH! Well, somewhere. Sue and I went to Rowan Atkinson's Millennium party, 'cos that was the year we did Curse Of Fatal Death. And he'd styled the whole party after Doctor Who! You entered the big tent though a Police Box! And I got Sue to photograph me leaning out of the TARDIS - looking, it must be said, a bit pissed. Ahh, how the fates were gathering...'

Noel Clarke: 'Ten years ago on new years I was fresh off my first acting job and hanging out with my buddy Geoff, walking the streets of London as best we could in the crowds. It was a bit of an anticlimax as he was single and the girl I was with was laying in bed sick with the flu. We watched fireworks then grabbed our then traditional Burger King which was always the first meal we ate for the New Year, and trudged home.'

James Moran: 'Ten years ago, I was celebrating my first Christmas together with Jodie, who had just moved in with me. I was considering giving up writing, because I felt like I was fooling myself, just a talentless loser who would never achieve anything. My writing was bringing me nothing but rejection letters, and I worked full time in a depressing, soul destroying company. But I was in love (still am), happy, and optimistic about what the new Millennium might bring. Jodie convinced me to keep sending my work out, and so I did. I had no idea what was in store for me... Whatever happens, whatever you do, NEVER give up, and ALWAYS put your talents to good use. You're amazing, every single one of you, and you all bring something special to the world.'

Murray Gold: 'Good lord. I was on Primrose Hill I think. With my then girlfriend- the ex-future Mrs Gold. I was watching the lights in London to see if the Millennium bug would turn them all off and throw us into medieval turmoil. Ah yes, the Millennium bug. Was mentioned in Nostradamus don't you know. Of course we'd never fall for a cataclysmic prediction like that again, would we? This year, I'll be in New York with my Mum and Dad, some friends, and, quite possibly, the next ex-future Mrs Gold. Happy days. :)'

Gary Russell: 'My Millennium Eve was spent on a very cold but cheerful Devonshire beach, watching fireworks with friends and giving my boyfriend of the time a lovely big public snog (as someone not fond of PDAs, (I think that's 'Public Displays of Affection'-Ed.) I don't
think he was too happy but at the same time, snogged me back - awww, bless!) So it was very romantic and I can truly say I kissed someone as fireworks exploded overhead. We'd made an easy decision *not* to do anything in our hometown of Londinium - I could only imagine wincing in shame if the Thames fireworks had gone tits up and anyway, I preferred being out of the city. New Year's Eve is my fav 'festival' (I'm an avowed Christmas loather) so I always try to do nice things then. Millennium aside, this was one of my fav NYEs ever. And no planes dropped out of the sky, despite what the Millennium Bug leaflets warned us about, so that was a bit of a bonus! PS: And Vaaga Plant, Varga the Ice Warrior, I reckon.'

Lindsey Alford: 'Millennium was spent on Stanage Edge with my sister and friends, watching the fireworks over Sheffield. I think there was some vodka involved too. And a woolly hat. Ten years! Was that really ten years ago!?'

Brian Minchin: 'I shall be with Lindsey Alford in Berlin on New Year's Eve, arguing over the correct spelling of 'Varga plant'. Any help much appreciated. Or alternatively, I shall be meeting a deadline for my Doctor Who novel while Lindsey necks Gluwein in the square below.

Lindsey Alford: '...and I shall be in a techno club with several topless German blokes, and a glow stick, while Brian meets his novel deadline.'

Simon Guerrier: 'Ten years ago I went to the Fitzroy Tavern for Christmas drinks with some other Doctor Who chums - including you, I think. It was a good boozy night and we discovered that I didn't live all that far from some friends. They invited me there and then to a dinner they were having in the first week of the new year, at which I was promised Pretty Girls. And that worked out rather well - I met some of my best friends at the party. And also the Pretty Girl who's now my wife. She doesn't like me to mention that this is all down to Doctor Who.' (That's not Millennium Eve, though, is it?-Ed.) 'It's sort of the Millennium. And it's 'Varga'. I think.'

Louis Trapani: 'On Millennium Eve, I with my brother watched the celebrations across the world as each time zone welcomed the new Millennium. We had just lost our father earlier that year and felt it was the dawn of a new day, a new age, offering new hope. Having lost my brother since, that memory will always be with me. This year, I will be spending the holidays with family, taking nothing for granted.'

And here's one visitor from telefantasy that's not Doctor Who, the showrunner of Robin Hood, no less...

Dominic Minghella: 'Following my brother Anthony's death I have been digging out old video footage, and came across something special I didn't know I had caught on film. (No, nothing like THAT.) It is a moment on Millennium Eve in which my daughter Louisa took her first steps. We just happened to have the camera running. Now, I watch the film with her and she is nearly eleven, improbably tall, impossibly beautiful. Still a bit wobbly on her feet, mind. This year we'll be in our house in Italy. It is very low-key and the perfect antidote to London. There is no commercial nonsense in the Umbrian countryside. But they do like their fireworks. At Capo d'Anno (New Year) the whole valley lights up and it is magical.'

Thanks, everyone. Next, let's check it with the folk from the world of science fiction...

Geoff Ryman: 'I spent the Millenium in the best house in London. Christopher Wren lived there, it's next door to the Globe, it looks directly across the river at St Pauls, it's on many many floors and has two different roof gardens at two different levels, one looking out directly over the Thames. The just-inside-the-front-door room has the original wood panelling on floors, walls, ceiling.

My Dad had died in 1998 and my Mom was rebuilding her life. She came over for the Millenium celebrations. We ducked under the house's low wooden beams, had some liquid cheer, and Mom bonded with my host's mother, long long chats. About 10 minutes to midnight we all climbed up the metal staircase to the river-facing platform, and the fireworks started.

Fireworks are like ice cream or sex. You sort of remember them, sort of don't. I believe these were pretty darn good, great flowers of light. But they'd said it would be a river of fire, something clever on the surface that would ignite or something silly. And it never happened. And so, curiously, a sense of disappointment.

Partner, me and Mom stayed way late, and thought we'd go out and get a taxi. There was no Millenium bridge across to St Pauls then. We were on the wrong side of the river. We walked to I think Southwark tube, to find an American-sized wheatfield of people all in rows waiting outside. So we walked. It was freezing, my Mom is Californian and she was in her 80s. I have never seen so many glass bottles underfoot in my life. All of London had been drinking a toast all along the river. Clink clank rattle smash, stale booze smells everywhere esp on shoes, good shoes, which were getting scratched by broken glass. The crunching sound was a bit like walking on Canadian crunchy snow.

Singing groups of other otherwise professional looking folk marching in tipsy unison, drunken juveniles heaving in corners, ebullient groups of nurses weaving unsteadily in amorphous groups, kids still skateboarding under the Queen Elizabeth Hall ... and closed footbridges. To our dismay, bridge after bridge was closed. So having been East we had to walk way further West than we needed or wanted to. It was fun seeing London -- and its people --- all lit up. But that was the longest 3.00 am walk I've done in ages. Mom was a trooper, very proud of herself for staying the distance. We stumbled in about 4.00, frozen but entirely sober by then. So one benefit. No Millenium hangover.

Mom is still with us, though she no longer travels these days. My partner had a series of bad luck accidents including two cases of deep vein thrombosis and two hip replacements and he could now no longer walk that distance either. Air had not come out, the Cambodia novel was still in research phase, I was working full time in the Cabinet Office on internet issues. I was still going regularly to Paris and hoping to go to Brasil... it really was ten years ago. My current students were children. The Labour Government was popular. It was yesterday.'

Lois McMaster Bujold: 'Since I have reached the age where I pretty much don’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, I have to mentally reconstruct Christmas 1999 by deduction. My son would have been suffering his last year of high school, and my daughter would have still been living in town, so we doubtless had dinner here. In which case we had garlic mashed potatoes, in which case the disposal choked and backed up the sink drain with the peelings. (The best solution, after many other high- and -low tech experiments: a plunger.) At any rate, that’s a strong statistical likelihood.

Better documented is what I was working on: my computer file records reveal that I started Chapter 26 of The Curse of Chalion on December 21, 1999. (And Chapter 27 on 12/29.) It likely still had its working title, or rather, file label, of Cazaril in Castile at the time, as the final title was scraped up later, at submission.

I do remember watching some of the Millennium New Year’s around-the-world celebrations on the TV. The world almost managed to make a clean sweep of no war fighting anywhere for one golden day, and I was sorry it just missed. Try again next Millennium, I guess.

Happy Holidays to all!'

Jon Courtenay Grimwood: 'Ten years ago I was, 1) thinking of moving out of London, 2) making up a long-standing quarrel with my family, 3) desperately scrabbling to finish writing a novel while, 4) eating too many mince pies and drinking too much alcohol. This year I'm, 1) wondering whether to move back to London, 2) missing my kid who's moved to the Far East, 3) desperately scrabbling to finish a novel while, 4) drinking too much alcohol and eating too many mince pies... There's probably a logic in there somewhere!'

Sean Williams: 'I can't remember exactly what I was doing on Faux-Millennium Eve, but that may have been the year I spent camping with some mates in the Adelaide Hills, being nerdy and *not* taking drugs while everyone else raved on. Maybe that's why I can't remember. This year Amanda and I have managed to shunt our families to the Eve and Boxing Day, so (after a small amount of work in the morning, as always) we'll have a picnic with the kids and then go for a swim at the beach. Then we'll have some friends over for laid-back drinks in the evening. If we can
pull that off, it might be the best Christmas ever.'

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: 'On New Year's Eve 1999-2000, we saw the calendar turn over at a party at Eleanor Lang's apartment in Battery Park City...then wandered out into the New York City night with our old friend Jon Singer. Lower Manhattan was bubbling with good cheer as we walked between the towers of the World Trade Center and down into Wall Street. Twenty-two months and two world-altering catastrophes later, we walked almost the same path with Jon, again at night, sulfur area lights cutting through the wreckage's haze. The two walks are inextricably linked in memory. May the coming ten years be a better decade.'

Marc Gascoigne: 'Millennium Eve ten years ago: in the time it took the bells to chime from one to twelve... I got hit on the head by the spent case of a massive firework; I proposed to Maggie with the immortally romantic line "So, are we getting married this year or what?"; and I magicked up a bottle of champagne I had somehow managed to hide in my coat all evening. Damn, wish I was that good these days.'

Lee Harris: 'Ten years ago, we were free, my wife and I. I remember us walking through York city centre earlyish on New Year's Eve, wondering where to go, and finally settling on a decent little pub near the river. I don't remember much of the evening, as the beer flowed quite freely, though I do remember winning a bottle of champagne for being able to work out the sum of all the numbers on a dartboard quicker than everyone else in the pub. I seem to recall the bottle didn't even make it as far as the pub door. Good times... This year we'll be staying in, as we have for the last 5 or 6 years. Having young children does that. We've lost the freedom to go out when we want, to watch Christmas TV as it's broadcast, and to partake of too much wine, but you know... what we've gained in return is worth so much more. So yes, we'll be staying home - and we couldn't be happier about it.'

John Picacio: 'There's a difference doing what you like and doing what you love. Ten years ago, all I wanted for Christmas was a fulltime career as a professional illustrator. I was working fulltime in a residential architecture office, and making decent money. I liked architecture, but I loved sf/f/h and I loved illustration. When I would leave the architecture office, I would go home and obsess over everything illustration -- drawing, studying other artists, building a portfolio, haunting bookstores, studying book spines and indicia pages for potential clients, drawing some more, etc. It was all I wanted.

"Apocalypse" was spelled "Y2K" back then. It was all the rage in publishing, wasn't it? I didn't have much of an illustration career at that point, but what assignments I did have were Y2K-centric. I'd just finished a Y2K illustration for The San Antonio Current and I'd recently seen one of my first major book covers hit the store shelves -Millennium Rising by Jane Jensen (Del Rey) - a book about the coming of, yup, the Apocalypse.

At that time, I didn't have many friends who pursued what I did. I was flying periodically to New York City, knocking on publishers' doors, and mostly receiving polite rejections. It would be another year or so before I meet core friends like Lou Anders, Chris Roberson, and Alan Beatts who would be some of the most inspiring and best friends I'd ever meet, and even longer before I cross paths with another great friend, Paul Cornell. (Ahem -Ed.) All I wanted for Christmas '99 was to "break in" as a professional illustrator and be a fulltime art pro. If that guy back then saw what I'm doing today, he would be dumbstruck with joy. Today, I still feel like I'm breaking in. Every cover job feels like a new proving ground. Every cover job feels like it could be a new beginning. All I want for Christmas '09 is to get better at what I do. I'm eternally grateful for my friends, and for what I have. May everyone's holiday be as fulfilling. Happy Holidays, and a better 2010 to Paul, Caroline, and everyone out there.'

David Bradley: 'The countdown to 2000 threatened to be a spectacular blowout, a party by which all subsequent parties would be measured... but in the end I spent it playing Trivial Pursuit with elderly in-laws in a tranquil part of Wales. Thinking back, that left me with a greater sense of satisfaction and fonder memories than many of my contemporaries, who paid a fortune for beers they'd thrown up even before the London fireworks went off. This year's Christmas and New Year period promises to be similarly slipper-clad, with my two Grandmothers heading our way. I understand they're looking forward to tuning into Doctor Who, which is just as well since I'd have felt bad turfing them out into the snow for an hour.'

Thanks, everyone. Now let's turn to some folk from the world of Comics...

Bryan Hitch: 'Ten years ago I was trying to tell the millions of mistaken revelers that the real Millennium started twelve months later than they think it did since there was no year zero. I celebrated a solitary and standard New Year with an excellent and hideously expensive bottle of wine and, twelve months later the best Millennium party a lone reveler could manage with one firework, a ballon and two party poppers.'

Mike Carey: 'On Millennium eve, I was staggering drunk through the streets of Worcester Park, carrying in my hands - for reasons that never did become entirely clear - the wing mirror of my car. Maybe I was trying to build a home-made heliograph to signal Happy New Year to people in Cheam.'

Mark Waid: 'This depends on how you're defining "Millennium Eve." If by "the rollover to the year 2000," I can honestly say I was having the time of my life. I was living in New York at the time, and I'd some months before foolishly, stupidly, probably drunkenly promised the lovely young woman I was living with that we'd be in Times Square for that particular New Year's Eve, as was her fondest desire. No, I can't tell you why I ever, ever, ever thought that was a good idea. But I can tell you that as I visited my favorite comics shop in town, Midtown Comics on 40th and 7th a few days before Christmas, it suddenly occurred to me that YOU COULD SEE TIMES SQUARE FROM ITS ROOF. So I rented the whole store for the night of December 31 and we celebrated there, the whole vista before us. I invited a few friends, including Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor, and we got to partake of all the noise and energy and revelry of New Year's in Times Square from two blocks away, with access to bathrooms, food, and full mobility. It was an amazing night and augured a very successful, very tumultuous decade. If, on the other hand, you define "Millennium Eve" more rightfully as the shift from 2000 to 2001--as all educated people do--then I was in Clearwater, Florida, a freshly signed CrossGen editorial contract in one hand and, in the other, a bottle of vodka that couldn't even begin to erase a tenth of the regret already brought by that signature. But the first one's a better story.'

Dan Abnett: 'Ten years ago, I was spending my last festive season in a very large, very old, very haunted house as part of an extended, bohemian collective of housemates. The New Year would see me buy my own very old, much smaller, but still very haunted house to live in with my wife and daughters. A pivotal moment. Oh, and ten years ago I’d just published my first novel. In late 2009, I published my thirty-sixth. I think I deserve a sit down and a mince pie.'

Matt 'D'Israeli' Brooker: 'Ten years ago I spent the new year at my one and only country-house party, outside Oxford. We played "Sardines" and everything.'

Kieron Gillen: 'I was in Bath. We didn't book a party, myself and the two people I combined to create Kid-with-Knife in Phonogram wandered the streets with Vodka, looking for adventures. In Bath on New Years, there's usually a little bit of street elements, culminating in the gathering in front of the Abbey - where Egbert, one of those abstract-first-kings-of-England-sort-of-guys was crowned.

This year, the streets were dead. We seemed the only people wandering around, because everyone else was staying at whatever party they had threw serious cash for. So we had the atmospheric spa town to ourselves.

I ended up at the Abbey, but the moment I remember is after the main-half-of-Kid-with-knife had gone home after vomiting messily all over some piece of beautiful architecture, and other-half-of-Kwk and I stood on the Weir bridge and told each other secrets.

That's the bridge where the ghostly Beth appears in Phonogram: Rue Britannia, by the way.'

Tony Lee: 'It was a simple request; Paul asked me to write a few sentences for my 'twelve blogs of Christmas', something involving my plans for this coming Festive season yet also involving the Millenium Eve Christmas of ten years ago. But I don't think he realised when he asked just how connected the two of these are for me...

As I write this, I'm sitting beside the Red Sea in Egypt, on a well earned holiday. It's my second visit to Egypt; my first, you've guessed it was booked, Christmas, ten years ago.

Christmas Eve 1999 was a time of change. I was living in London, but was seeing a girl named Tanya in Birmingham. The relationship was going strong, it was our first Christmas together and I was planning to move up there, move in with her the following spring. Every Christmas Eve she (and her housemates) would have a party and on this particular year, in the early hours of the following day I returned home to spend Christmas Day with my parents. It was the end of an era, the last time I would do this, for the next Christmas I was indeed living in Birmingham and, even after Tanya and I broke up (deciding that we were better as bestest mates), I stayed living in Birmingham in a shared house with another friend, Craig, still spending every Christmas Eve at the traditional party and then Christmas Day at Tanya's with a growing collection of friends who also had nothing to do on the day itself.

During that time, that decade spent in the Midlands, my mother passed away. And from that point, no matter what happened, Christmas in the Lee household was never going to be the same again.

But the question was to discuss ten years ago as well as this coming Christmas, and once more I'm at a time of change. In 1999 I was looking to move from London to Birmingham and ten years later, (only five months ago in fact) I moved back to London from the Midlands, moving in with my beautiful fiancée Tracy. This Christmas Day will be our second together but the first spent with each other - and the first in a decade that I don't spend in Birmingham; instead we shall spend it in our home, our first Christmas together, opening presents beside our newly bought tree in the morning and then a Turkey dinner with my future in-laws at their house. The following day will be spent visiting my mother's memorial and hopefully not only catching my father, but also some close friends for Boxing Day cheer, later in the day.

As it was ten years ago, this Christmas is a time of new beginnings and upheavals, of new traditions and old friends. But in all this, one thing will stay the same - this Christmas Eve, Tracy and I will be travelling up to Birmingham for a certain Christmas Eve party. It's still held by Tanya, but now her partner Ant is her co-host.

Because although upheaval and new beginnings can be magical, there's nothing like a good bit of tradition at Christmas. Merry Christmas, everyone. And Varga Plant, that's how I've always spelled it.'

David Monteith: 'On Millennium Eve I was in Jamaica in a small town called Black River where
my parents live. What makes it so amazing is that the whole town was on the streets from 10pm till about 5 or 6 in the morning. Music was playing,
shops were open, food was being sold. Brilliant community party feeling. There's nothing like Christmas and New Year in Jamaica.'

Barry Nugent: 'I spent my Millennium Eve having a laugh and drinking way too much with some old mates down in London (not all of us can go flying off to Jamaica). One of the things I remember about the night was discussing an Ocean's Eleven style robbery involving the Bank of England, nerve gas and the Y2K bug. Just another reason why I really should not drink.'

Myself, I'm wondering why there's any controversy at all over the spelling of that plant. But if you have thoughts on the matter, please share them with us in the comments. Tomorrow, in the last blog of the 12, I'll be talking about my own resolutions and hopes for the coming year, and decade. More fun that it sounds. Hopefully. Until then, Cheerio!

22 Response to "The 12 Blogs of Christmas: Eleven. Millennium Eve."

  • Emsie Says:

    Nostalgia! My millenium was very dull really...but these were fun to read ^_^

  • Zander Nyrond Says:

    I've seen it spelt "Vaaga," but personally I incline to Mhuarghealh.

  • echarperouge Says:

    I think it's called a Varga plant?

    Hmm, I can't remember if I did anything special for the millenium, probably spent it sitting around playing board games with my family. The last couple years I've done a New Years re-watch of the TV Movie :)

  • Graham Sleight Says:

    Re Mr Minchin's query: I have it in my memory that they're "Varga plants", which gets 133,000 Google hits; "Vaarga plants" gets 333.

    Also, I've heard of the new millennium starting on Dec 31 2000, but Jan 31 1999? Must be down to the end of time, I guess.

  • rob-t-firefly Says:

    The word he's looking for is definitely "Vervoid." Tell him that Vervoids are the best alien plants ever, and need to feature in new Who ASAP, mostly because I want to see what a modern costume department does with their not-rude-at-all faces.

  • invincor Says:

    The only way to truly settle the spelling controversy is to consult Terry Nation's original scripts, but even then that might not work as he wasn't always the most consistent speller.

    I'd try asking someone who may have already done so, such as Richard Bignell. Another option is to go with what Nick Briggs and Big Finish have already done with it, when they reappeared in "Dalek Empire II: Dalek War Chapter Three," and there it clearly sounds as if everyone is saying Varga with an "r."

  • 0tralala Says:

    You didn't ask Paul McGann!

  • Pia Guerra Says:

    I was absolutely giddy because the week before I had met Ian. He was performing at a benefit show that night and I was invited to a friend's place in town for a new years party. So while he was gushing about his new girl backstage I was getting happily sloshed and jumping on my friend's computer to IM mutual friends about how I was finally getting some... and other things about Centrifugal Bumblepuppy, not sure what that was about, I was pretty drunk. I remember bringing a headset radio and a pack of batteries in case of Y2K blackouts, and there WAS a momentary blackout right after the countdown, but only because a car hit a pole. On the skytrain ride home I was hungover and yelling at some guy for smoking pot in the crowded car.

    That night was the start of an amazing decade.

  • Rob King Says:

    Ah, what a terrific post! Davies and Moffat and just about everybody who is anybody in SF. To think of Steven Moffat toasting "Curse of the Fatal Death" then, and writing the real thing now. Wow. Thanks, Paul!

  • heatherfeather Says:

    First, was the millennium and "Curse of the Fatal Death" really 10 years ago? I feel old.

    Second my NYE was spent watching fireworks while freezing my bum off. At work, I was testing the software applications for the dreaded Y2k bug? Which really should have been made into a DW villain.

    Hope you and your have a Merry Christmas and looks like the DW finale will be epic.

  • Ian Cullen Says:

    Ten years. Wow.

    New years eve 1999 I was celebrating my 30th Birthday at a small party with family and friends. Just broke up with a girlfriend a few weeks prior. But one thing that makes it special is the fact that my parents were still around. My dad was still his sarcastic self. Used to be fun seeing him slowly get more and more drunk to the point of talking to just about anyone. Even funnier still seeing my mothers disapproval.

    I was kind of hoping some planes would fall out of the sky though. Not sure why. I guess I was wanting something really exciting and dangerous to happen.

    New Years Eve 2009. Small group of family and friends. I turn 40. Am not into massive parties. Get bit nervy and too excitable in a big crowd to a point where it all feels anticlimactic. My ideal party would be a small house party. Though I'd padlock the toilets and give folk a shovel so they can do their doings in the yard for a bit of a laugh.

    But this new years I'll be spending with my sister and a few friends. And we're all going for a curry at one of my favourite curry houses.

    From there we'll probably go back to my sisters and all slowly get drunk. It'll be sad in a way too because no parents around.

    Lost my dad in 2002 to cancer. Lost my mum in 2004 to cancer. So we've had several Christmas and new years without our parents around.

    So my big sis and I have kind of tried to make our own traditions.

    But for me. Christmas and New Year has always been more family than friends.


  • John Doyle Says:

    I guess that's the Cybus/Rose&Jackie/Human Doc universe where the New Year is celebrated on Jan 31st, then?

  • Anonymous Says:

    Thanks to a holiday trip arranged many months earlier, my wife and I were in New York a mere four weeks after 9-11 and so got to see the remains for ourself. A little later we visited Patrick Nielsen Hayden - an old friend - at the Tor offices in the flatiron building, from the windows of which you can see Ditkoesque wooden water towers on the roofs of lower buildings. I mentioned our visit to Ground Zero to Patrick and the strange taste it left in the mouth. He replied with one of those lines you never forget:

    "That's because you've been breathing in dead people."

    - Rob Hansen

  • Elisabetta_Italy84 Says:

    wow... can't beleive it has been that long... at the time, I was merely a teenager (15 years old) with an over-protective mum... so, guess what I did? I spent it at home with my family, watching the last re-run of The search for Spok (i've always been crazy for the classical movies of the star trek fandom)-the alpha males - daddy and younger brother, were instead looking at sports on the couch in the living room; i remember I cooked, after dinner, a vanila slice cake, and we had it at midnight with Asti Spumante (first time I got something alcoholic...)...

  • ani murr Says:

    This was great - like getting a peek at a page from peoples' diaries

  • cerebus660 Says:

    My Millennium Eve was very similar to Paul and Nick's: staggering up a treacherous, muddy hillside in Gloucester, with my wife, in-laws and 4-year old daughter in tow. We drank wine, ate Pringles, listened to owls hooting and watched the fireworks below. A hell of a night and, amazingly, we all made it back down without any broken bones :-)

    Word verification: "silly" (Really!)

  • PG Says:

    10 years ago, I was working as a postdoctoral researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. I was the person who volunteered to watch over the laboratory in which I worked, just in case the Y2k transition caused some computer or electrical problems. My daughter was only 2, and my son was only 3 months old. Things have certainly changed since then.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks, all. Zander: you're just toying with him. Hmm, now, where did I put that date in wrong? It's a long post... We have word from David Howe, which I'll include in today's blog. Simon: should I ask Paul McGann? Pia: that's great, aww! Elisabetta: always good to hear from you over there. Do tell me if any other good word verifications pop up. (If it's ever 'undeserved' I'll get paranoid.) PG: Glad someone did that!

  • Graham Sleight Says:

    Paul, re "Where did I put the date in wrong?" - it's in Mr Davies's bit, hence my comment.

    Simon, re Paul McGann - he should have asked Eric Roberts too. Did he really drezz for the occasion?

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Ah, thanks, I've edited it now!

  • Taras Hnatyshyn Says:

    John Peel spells it as "Varga" in the novelization Mission to the Unknown—The Dalek Master Plan Part I.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Well, there you go!