The start of the year was uncharacteristically mellow for me. I brought in 2015 in London sitting around the idiot box with family and a recently single friend, drinking champagne and admiring the grand fireworks display over River Thames on television. The ticketed viewing of the spectacular pyrotechnics from the embankment on a cold winter night did not seem like an exciting idea, and we managed to (falsely) convince our children that staying in was an attractive prospect.
I noticed that day on TV that there were more Chinese watching fireworks live from the embankment than any other race. This wasn’t surprising at all, as there seemed to be more Chinese in London that time of the year than in mainland China itself, celebrating Christmas and buying out Chanel, one sanctioned bag at a time. They thronged the Winter Wonderland at the Hyde Park, the fashionable floors of Selfridges and the festive Regent Street and were undoubtedly the first to purchase tickets to the fireworks extravaganza. With so many Chinese around, there really was no point in attempting anything in London unless one wished to be 197th in line to buy a ticket, any ticket, even a ticket to get inside a morgue.