We are the Young Bohemians (Ringing in the New Year with Style)
There is nothing which like New Year’s to be mildly disappointing and overwhelming unnecessary, or at least I had always thought. Many a year I have sat in my PJs ringing in the New Year in a rather bored “I’d rather be asleep” way, but this year, for some strange reason I felt a compulsion to do something different, something better, something more…Bohemian.
Now, I don’t mean “boho” like all the trendy fashion sites keep going on about, you know all this tasselly, drapey, ripped up for no obvious reason type items of clothing, no, I mean Bohemian as in The Bohemians as in Bohemianism. If you don’t know about these rather eccentric, artistic, possibly dangerous, challengers of societies status quo, let me explain.
“Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may or may not be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which often were expressed through free love, frugality, and – in some cases – voluntary poverty. A more economically privileged, wealthy, or even aristocratic bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as haute bohème – literally “high bohemia”.” – Bohemianism, Wikipedia
The Bohemians, particularly the Bloomsbury Set – whose members include the likes of Virginia Wolf and E. M. Forster – have always been of interest to me, well more of a fascination if we’re being honest. This group of creatives building their own world were they could express themselves in the best and truest way possibly. They were queer, polyamorous, gender fluid – if not nonbinary – people who rejected the ideas of their parents (often the upper and middle classes of Victorian England) to be free in a society that would deny them.
As a teen I idolised the lifestyle of these creatives, their friendships and the buzz of artistic energy that must have poured within these circles. I craved the stimulation and drive that being around other creative people gives, the conversation and passion that they have, and it wasn’t until I went through Uni, oddly, that I really found “my people”. People who inspired me, drove me, pushed me to be better in every way I could. Of course there had been a few before this, but to finally find like minded people who truly understood the need to create at all costs was like the sparks of a fire being set.
And it wasn’t as if they were all there in one place. It was like a slow gathering of minds, finding each other in the strangest places and knowing that we needed to be together. There is something to clicks between you when you meet someone who you know should be part of your life, and not in a “romantic” sort of way, but in a way that you know it’s going to be so much more fun with them around no matter what happens. Some people make you happier just by being there. That’s worth any sort of effort to keep.
But what does this all have to do with New Year I hear you ask!? Well it was the first time when I decided to gather all of these wonderful people together. Of course not all of them could come, it is a busy time and there are other demands we all must bow to, but those people are no less included than those who attended.
What followed was a day, a night, and a day of joyous conversation, stimulating amusement and wonderful, beautiful friendship. People who had never met before clicked instantly, it was as if we all worked on the same wavelength despite differences in age, upbringing, and even language. Passion for life surpassed social boundaries.
There is nothing like getting ready together than then having the evening stretch out before you full of possibilities. Curling hair, doing each others makeup and advising on outfit choices is a long standing tradition for any good party, and I think it adds something more to a night. It’s a bonding ritual, intimate in it’s very nature. Helping someone into their dress or getting them into their waistcoat and cufflinks allows for closeness and a good giggle if the zips being a bugger. Exchanging compliments, throwing little positive comments at each other the whole time makes this human equivalent of social grooming (coz that’s what it is), an emotional experience and boost as much as a physical one. I do think it strengthens friendships, and I may do a whole piece on the role in plays in society, but that is for another time.
Of course the theme of “Let’s party like it’s 1929” added to the proceedings, and it didn’t hurt that everyone looked utterly spectacular in their own wonderful way. But what was more inspiring and beautiful than the clothes was the spectrum of personalities that flurried through the group, giving openings to all to talk, discuss and laugh together. It is not often a group can work in so many ways, giving a space of comfort and creativity to everyone but think to a certain degree we achieved it, especially given the inaugural nature of the meeting. I’ll be honest though, a few well chosen – and well made if I do say so myself – cocktails does wonders to get a mood going.
Party games – including pin the moustache on Poirot and damn good murder mystery – some excellently made bunting (well done Aly), as much jazz as I could get hold off and a mountain of finger food placed as squarely in the mood for fun.
By the next day a group of firm friends had rung in the New Year and now sat blinking in the morning light over tea, coffee and excellent Dutch pastries (thank you Theo). We had returned to the 21st century, mostly unscathed and surprisingly un-hungover ready to face the year ahead in good spirits and with something of a positive attitude – though how long that will last who knows, it may already be gone. I cannot say that I was not a little bit pleased with myself for bringing this group of bright young things together, because I’m really f***ing pleased with myself. What had emerged from a crazy idea in the back of my head was now a group of people who I never want to be parted from.
Honestly that all sounds incredibly gushy, but the spark had been lit, and, on a visit to the zoo a few weeks later – yup, that’s right, the first thing we did was go to a zoo and get all excited about lemurs, or at least I did, lemurs are great. What did you think I had a lemur onesie just for the hell of it? I mean really, you all should know me better by now. Apologies, this is a tangent – I had it confirmed, we are Bohemians.
I’m aware that what I have done here is write 1000 words about how great my friends are, but what is the point in having a platform if you don’t use it to show off how great your pals are every so often? Especially when they make you the best version of you, you can be.
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If you want more please check out my last articles:
- Bags of Personality (Or How I Learned to Stop Throwing Things Out and to Love Bespoke)
- Let’s Talk about Gender Presentation and be Empowered
- The Doctor’s New Clothes
- An Ode to the Onesie
All photos by Meggo Photography
Written by Holly Rose Swinyard