It’s party time: How to go wild but not feral


It’s safe to say that our New Year’s Eve parties will be different this year.  For a start, it will be just over two weeks since social gathering restrictions in most parts of the country have been eased if not removed entirely.

But with Covid hanging around like the party guest who won’t go home, and now that we have discovered how virulent the Omicron variation can be, if not how badly or otherwise victims will be affected, it may be a good idea to start the year by making friends, not enemies..

Otherwise, assuming it doesn’t completely kybosh our plans for bacchanalian excesses, we can look forward to the pent-up release from two years of restrictions and self-restraint, although it may be better to do it outdoors.

However, if you are planning a New Years Eve party in your apartment, there are a few basic precautions that will make the whole experience a lot more of a celebration and less of a confrontation for party hosts and their neighbours.

First of all, let your neighbours know you are planning to hold a shindig and give them a mobile number to call if they have any problems.

Even better, invite them to join you.  They can’t complain about the noise if they are among the people making it.

Put up a notice (behind the toilet in your flat is a good spot) asking people not to flick cigarette ends or anything else off the balcony. Your downstairs neighbours terrace is neither a trashcan nor an ashtray.

Speaking of which, provide ashtrays for balcony smokers, even if you don’t smoke yourself.

If you are planning a barbecue as part of your festivities, clean it before using detergent, hot water and elbow grease. 

“Burning off” the last barbie’s stinking fat might be a great Aussie tradition but that smoke and smell is going into your upstairs neighbours’ homes.

Switch off or disconnect the sub-woofer bass speaker in your sound system, or adjust the settings on your amplifier to tone the bass down.

Thumping bass is the sound that travels through buildings most efficiently and guarantees the maximum number of complaints. 

Cut the bass and you’ll be surprised at how loud the music can be before you hear a peep out of your neighbours.

Have a think about where your guests are going to park and discourage them from driving to your block if you possibly can.  Visitor parking tends to be limited and oversubscribed in most blocks.

Or talk to your committee about renting visitor spaces to residents on a one-night-only basis, to pay for a security presence. You don’t want to be responsible for punch-ups when a rogue parker discovers their car has been blocked in by the resident whose space they stole.

A word to potential party poopers. Yes, there are by-laws and even state laws about noise and when it has to stop.

But the police aren’t going to come a-knocking on New Year’s Eve and remember, even fading celebrations get another boost of energy at midnight.

One of the dumbest questions asked in strata is “Do you know how noisy your music is in my apartment?” That can only provoke a puzzled “No.”

Most pharmacies these days provide a range of foam earplugs which can be surprisingly effective.

Finally, are you going to impose your own vaccination mandate?  Some of your guests will want reassurance that everyone else is double-pumped, at least, or they won’t come.

It’s your home so you can make your own rules, and it could just be on a trust basis.  Add to the invitation something like: “we respect your right to choose, so please respect ours to ask guests to confirm their double-vaccination status or not attend.’

Otherwise, chill out, go with the flow, and have a happy New Year. 

This column first appeared in the Australian Financial Review.

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