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The Noughties: a fond(ish) farewell

December 15, 2009

by Toby Young
from the Telegraph

I was in a French ski resort on January 1 2000 and the first thing I thought about, when the fog of the previous night began to clear, was the Millennium Bug. Deputy US Defence Secretary John Hamre had predicted it would be ‘the electronic equivalent of the El Niño’.

Just how many planes had fallen out of the sky at the stroke of midnight? I plugged my laptop into a phone socket and heard the sound that will forever be associated with the turn of the century: ‘Eeeeee, orrrrrrrrrrrr, ooo-a-ooo-a-ooo-a-ooo-a.’

There was a pause. Had I got through? No, I hadn’t.

‘Eeeeee, orrrrrrrrrrrr, ooo-a-ooo-a-ooo-a-ooo-a.’ Dear God, how I came to hate that sound.

When I discovered that absolutely nothing had happened I felt vaguely disappointed. On the face of it, that makes me sound like a depraved nihilist – I was upset that a global disaster hadn’t occurred – but it was a sickness shared by many and, though I didn’t know it at the time, symptomatic of the decade to come. more

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