Remember when the apocalypse was supposed to happen exactly a year ago? I mean a bunch of silly, sensation-hungry people misinterpreted a Mayan calendar to predict the end of the world, even though Mayan people kept telling them they don’t even believe in a linear time-space continuum where a world can end in the first place. But with all the media hype it was a bit difficult not to be caught up with the fashion and consider the possibility.
Up until a year ago today there was a few years when the “2012” thing regularly came up in deep and meaningful conversations: If the world did end that soon, would you be happy with how you spent your life so far? If the survival of other living species required 90% of humans to be eliminated by a natural disaster, would you be willing to sacrifice yourself? Why does it feel there’s more excitement than fear around about this whole thing? Are we deep down inside so fed up with our repetitive daily existence that we secretly hope that an external force put an end to it all and we could either be done with life or exchange the normal stuff to a Resident Evil -type, exciting and adrenaline-filled fight for survival?
To be honest, this day last year felt just a little disappointing to me. It was a cold, overcast day and I didn’t have much to do apart from walking to the local library to read newspaper stories about silly people who gathered on a mountain top to be the first to be raptured. I’m not saying an apocalypse would’ve been preferable, but at least a little different.
This year it’s different. I’ve been out every single night this week: I did a volunteer shift at King’s Head Theatre on Upper Street Islington on Sunday and got to see a modern adaptation of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. On Monday I went to Soho Comedy Club to see some established stand-up comedians try out new jokes for a £5 door charge. Tuesday night I went to Brixton for a beautiful open mic night hosted by Carl Chamberlain; there’s one more of those this year on Christmas Eve. On Wednesday there was a performance art event at the Flying Dutchman, where a new poetry/performance event will be launched in February. I’m performing at the launch party so keep an eye on more info – I’ll definitely be mentioning it a few times. The last two nights I just went clubbing.
After all that a bit of grocery shopping and maybe watching a film on TV sounds like the most blissful way to spend a life. I don’t want the world to end, even if life does get repetitive every now and then. Existential crises come and go, but it’s fun and rather healthy to play around with the idea of the world ending and to keep asking the big questions this possibility arouses. Let the mountain rapture people have their fun.
King’s Head Theatre is showing a version of Dickens’ Christmas Carol for another two nights, 22nd and 23rd. There’s still plenty of seats available, and a drink at the homely theatre pub after a Christmassy show will be a great way to get into the holiday spirit. I’m going there tomorrow, and hope it’ll lift not only the usual Sunday evening blues but also my holiday cynicism a little bit.