I'm lucky. Even if the world ends on New Year's Eve, the Turkish shop at the end of my road will still be open

All this millennium nonsense was designed, I feel, to show me up. Yes, I take it very personally - it has all been done to expose me as a terribly superficial person with some sort of attention deficit disorder. I can barely remember what happened last week, never mind 1,000 years ago. The millennium - it's all a blur to me.

Nonetheless, this is the season of goodwill and lists to remind everybody what they have been doing for the past year. I am always amazed that people know what books they have read this year or any other year, but then, these aren't normal people; these are people who read professionally. They don't get given an old paperback by a friend that was actually published a few years ago; they don't half-read things and then skip to the ending; and they never, ever read anything trashy.

Journalism becomes one great horrendous dinner party cum Radio 4 quiz at this time of year, with everyone full of witty answers about the most important car/cricketer/scientific advance of the year. The millennium deal just makes it a thousand times more annoying, because we now have to have books and artists of the century. No one can seriously cover the entire millennium. I mean, who was the sports personality of 1209?

We also have to prophesy what the new decade will bring. Everyone has suddenly turned into Russell Grant. Never mind that we don't even know what to call the next decade - the "nothings" seems to be the preferred term - all sorts of normally sensible people have gone totally nuts trying to predict what life will be like in the 21st century. Was I alone in being somewhat disturbed by the usually sane science correspondent of Channel 4 News explaining how, very soon, not only will all mobile phones be connected to the Internet, but that we will all have mobile phones actually implanted in our heads?

Calm down, will you? I'm sorry, although it would cut down bills, even my head is just not big enough. I will accept that my life will be lived totally online when my computer can cook the kids' tea and change the cat litter.

I would also believe that, very soon, we will be harvesting crops on Mars if every probe didn't commit suicide as soon as the scientists were looking the other way.

The worst thing, though, is the government edict that says we must all become deep and meaningful and think about 1,000 years of solitude or something. This is fine if you believe that on New Year's Eve the world will end, but most of us don't - though we enjoy the doom-mongering stories.

One of my friends is buying lots of tins in case the millennium bug affects food production - but then, she lives in Australia. I am lucky because I know that, even if every single plane falls out of the sky, the Turkish shop at the end of my road will be open. "You want some cheap cigarettes, darling? I make you a very nice price."

What I am hopeful about, however, is a popular and truly organic revolt against all this significance imposed from above. Loads of people who are perfectly cheerful most of the time are definitely just going to go to bed on the fateful night. Others complain with good reason that it is not the actual millennium anyway or that they are not Christians and have become conscientious objectors to the whole New Year's Eve bash.

Many quite rightly see it all as a new Labour invention that they want nothing to do with. As for the Dome, every little snippet we get about what will go on in there sounds more and more embarrassing. A drum-and-bass, hip-hop national anthem, a grumpy old Queen, Peter Mandelson in a disco wonderland and Tony Blair and his immaculate conception leading us like grinning idiots into the future.

The soundtrack to this nightmare is still being argued over. Every poll of pop stars of the millennium reveals not only our dreadful taste, but also that most of us can't remember much unless it happened a couple of months ago. Thus Robbie Williams rules, while the likes of Sly Stone are lost in the mists of time. As with Diana's funeral, some music has to be found that speaks to everyone. Can't Elton just rewrite the words to "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" or something? Or there is always T. Rex's sublime song with a chorus that is now going to sound so dated: "I'm your toy, your 20th-century boy."

What I do find most hopeful about all these shenanigans is that wherever, in the name of some sort of civic pride and responsibility, there has been an attempt to be deep and meaningful, it has all backfired. Thus we would rather listen to the "Hamster Dance" than either Cliff Richard or John Lennon. We would rather go to sleep than party like it's 1999.

The Dome is a perfect example of what happens when everyone tries too hard. The Dome has been loaded with so much significance that, instead of it being an airy, light creation, it is terribly heavy. Yet what has captured the public imagination? The beautiful, entirely shallow and frivolous Millennium Eye. Everyone loves this giant Ferris wheel because it doesn't try to tell us who we are or anything about the way we live now. There it is, stuck right in front of the Houses of Parliament, nothing more than a temporary structure, a monument to the cheap thrill of getting as high as you possibly can and realising how small everything actually is. It is about nothing more than going round and round - which is as perfect as it can be.

So may the earth move for you, if not on New Year's Eve, then at least once during the next century.

The writer is a columnist for the "Mail on Sunday"

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