Remember booking stuff? Well, it’s back. Restaurants, bars, exhibitions, trains, a weird countryside B&B, gigs, plays, maybe even – gasp – a holiday abroad… In 2022, I want an inbox full of ‘Your booking is confirmed’ subject lines. I’m going to go and see ‘Francis Bacon: Man and Beast’ at the RA at least twice. I saw the last big Francis Bacon show in London and then booked to go and see it in Madrid, which was ace, because there was only one other person in the gallery. I might do that again. Meanwhile, I’m going to book a train to Cambridge and book to see an Ai Weiwei show at the brilliant Kettle’s Yard. While I’m about it, I’ll book somewhere for dinner.
Here’s the thing. Booking ahead is great. Actually doing stuff is great too, of course, but nothing else delivers the mini endorphin rush of booking something. Whether it’s a huge festival or a table for two in a local curry house, it always feels like a little lottery win. If I can book tickets to the revival of ‘Jerusalem’ in April, I’ll feel like this year hasn’t been in vain. If I can wander round the Royal Festival Hall with a floppy pint before one of the not-quite-loud-enough acts at Grace Jones’s Meltdown, I’ll have had a happy summer.
There was a time, not so long ago, when booking seemed to be falling out of favour. You went places on a whim and queued. Sometimes they’d let you leave the queue and they’d text you. Joy. But the forward-planning landscape has changed. And that’s a good thing, because who likes queueing? Now my ResDiary email is digital gold dust as I sweep past the poor saps being interrogated by front-of-house staff: ‘…sorry, have you booked?’
The point of a booking is that you’re investing a bit of your present self in something yet to come. It’s a keyhole glimpse into a brighter future. And that, in a city which always offers endless possibilities, is a great and glorious thing.
So go nuts. Repeatedly hit that big red ‘book now’ button. See the ‘please complete ALL the fields’ error messages glow like runway landing lights. Every lame advert – whether for SUVs or bladder-leak protection – urges us to be ‘spontaneous’ or we’re failing to be fun. Well, sod that. This year, we should all have a plan.
Looking for some inspiration? Check out the London events we’re looking forward to in 2022.
And these are the 22 best new things to do in the world in 2022.