London saw in the New Year in its usual style with huge crowds and spectacular pyrotechnics, and with the usual caveats, a good time was had by all.
Trafalgar Square is the only place to be on New Yearís Eve. Apart from 1996-7 - thanks to a bent copper, and 1997-8 - when I was playing at Hastings, Iíve been here every year since 1985-6. Every New Yearís Eve I say I wonít come again...until the next one.
According to reports, there were 3,000 police on duty, and less than a hundred arrests during the celebrations. That canít be anything but good news.
I arrived in the West End around 8.30 when the crowds were already beginning to gather; in addition to security there was plenty of other support, including a mobile ambulance, but this year a distinct lack of public toilets, something the Mayor might like to bear in mind next year.
Spirits were a little dampened due to the rain, which fortunately was not heavy, and had eased off well before midnight. There was water in the fountains again, and as with previous years the ban on bottles had been relaxed, but fortunately there were only high spirits rather than drunkenness.
I suspect the gent with whom your intrepid correspondent was photographed below would not have been bothered by an alcohol ban because Mohamed and his friend who took the shots, Mohamed, e-mailed them to me in Arabic. Or perhaps it was Farsi. I forgot to ask them where they were from, but Happy New Year guys.
Fireworks on the Thames, New Year 2011-12.
Your correspondent with Mohamed taken by his friend Mohamed and donated to the public domain just for you. (Hope Iíve spelled your names right, guys).
[The above was published originally January 1, 2012. The third photograph was shortly removed (though not deleted from the site). The first is actually a screengrab from a BBC news report on New Yearís Day].
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