Of all the grandiose millennial festivities -- the million-dollar domes built on the banks of the Thames, the islands rented for massive parties, the Y2K survival shelters constructed in remote locales -- the Millennium Lunch Club has to be the most frivolous. And yet it is surely the simplest.
Conceived by two Brits -- James Flint, author of "Habitus," and Philip George, president of the Gaia Society -- the Millennium Lunch Club is a kind of informal celebration in honor of the year 2000; it's so informal, in fact, that you can participate anywhere, at any time. All you have to do it sit down for a meal in a public place at any point during the month of August while displaying a sign that says "Eat, Drink, Think the Millennium." Flint and George are providing a printable table display on their Web site; in an open letter to the press they are also encouraging magazines and newspapers to print the sign in their upcoming issues (not likely) and restaurants to sponsor whole Millennium Lunches (equally doubtful).
As the Web site explains, "The Millennium Lunch is an excuse for multiple acts of imagination (combined, of course, with those of mastication and digestion). It's an excuse to do something you do every day, but to do it with conscious intent, perhaps even with flair. This is about celebration, but it's also about aligning your stomach with a great cultural moment and -- for the short space of one single lunchtime -- turning your life into art."
Is this a prank poking fun at overwrought millennium parties? Or is it a sincere -- if odd -- attempt to unite the plebeians of the world? Neither Flint nor George responded to e-mail questions on Tuesday, although Flint's biographical sketch posted on the site seems to clarify everything: "He'd like to invite the world to lunch because ... well, you work it out." If nothing else, the Millennium Lunch (go ahead -- call it the Munch) is a lot cheaper than a Times Square hotel room on New Year's Eve.