Cheers to (the back of) 2021. A sweet so-long to the rollercoaster, never-ending year that proved to be.
Having said that, it wasn’t all bad, was it? The vaccine was administered, half the year felt semi-normal for the first time since March 2020 and China announced that pandas are no longer endangered. And we were treated to some pretty significant cultural moments, too. If Bottega Green and Balenciaga hot pink dominated catwalks, power couples commanded our Instagram feeds (Oi oi, Bennifer).
We were collectively forced away from dancefloors but eventually made a triumphant, if bittersweet return to the rave, as the sugar rush of amapiano took over the post-lockdown party scene. South Korean TV reigned supreme, and it was a massive year for blockbuster entertainment, thanks to the re-opening of cinemas, and Dune, House of Gucci and No Time To Die.
And as we leaned into the power of saying “no”, fashion predicted a hardcore glamour revolution, only to succumb to The Boaring Twenties as we returned to the office in September, celebeauty brands in tow.
Now, with the benefit of a little hindsight, we’ve got a few bright ideas about what the future might hold for 2022.
Indie sleaze is set to knock Y2K off the nostalgia fashion trend throne (finally). Francis Bourgeois-mania will lead to a rise in normcore, old school hobbies like stamp collecting and birdwatching. Besties will be the new boyfriends. DJs will finally learn the art of TikTok, and we’d bet our bottom dollar Drake will be the latest artist to jump on the amapiano bandwagon. It’ll be a precarious year for film, and book clubs will replace nightclubs. Meanwhile, a new wave of young male novelists are gearing up for one hell of a year.
Sound bonkers? Good! Away we go…
Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Fashion!
Experts have predicted the return of the noughties since, well, the noughties. Not really. But after four or so years, it bloody feels that way. Dior saddle bag-swinging pseudo-It Girls have been sniggering into white wine spritzers, burning fag holes into Juicy tracksuits and throwing butts at unsuspecting heads for quite some time. Nostalgia’s fine, but when it lasts as long as the decade itself, it’s time for change. As was the case for tabloid-hungry twentysomethings of 2000 – 2007, the party is over and the hangover has kicked in. But don’t hit snooze.
We’re about to welcome a smellier, skinnier, Stella-stained era from the tail-end of 2007: indie sleaze. It was a time of Cory Kennedy, Pixie Geldof and the foul-mouthed chants of Azealia Banks’ 212. The stink of Old Blue Last, roll-ups and Cobrasnake. Gigs, making out and not giving an ounce of shite. And the clothes we threw on our backs played in tandem: American Apparel, zip-up hoodies, the pinch of too-tight Converse, smutty slogans, disco pants, fish nets, leotards and T‑shirts with philosophers on it. Less bowler hat than the previous indie era of Hedi Slimane’s Dior Homme and The Libertines, think of indie sleaze as the last couple at the party snogging in the corner in cut-off Levi’s. Or the Skins lot (which turns 15 this month…).
Make way for an era of mop-haired hedonism, making out in filthy bars and waking up in someone else’s tent. And if you’ve still got last night’s make-up on, all the better. Just don’t forget your Fujifilm FinePix.
Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle! Lifestyle!
The Bestie Boom
If 2021 was the year of chic divorces, this year is all about cherishing those who pick up the pieces after a messy break up: your besties. Remember those Claire’s broken heart necklaces you shared with friends at primary school? Well, they’re back in sleeker iterations, as are friendship rings and matching tatts. And you can forget about romantic getaways. In 2022, we’re travelling with BFFs in tow, à la Dua Lipa’s pre Christmas country retreat.
You can thank Francis Bourgeois for this one. After he warmed hearts by unashamedly showcasing his love for trainspotting on TikTok last year, seemingly mundane hobbies that provide wholesome joy are poised to take over. Rug making? Too trendy. This is the time for stamp collectors, bird watchers, model builders and metal detectors to shine. Bring back bygone pastimes and revel in your newfound humdrum eccentricity. There are no guilty pleasures in 2022. Just good ol’ fashioned fun.
Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music! Music!
Drake will jump on the amapiano hype
Drake’s always tried to keep his finger on the pulse by dabbling in genres – from Afropop, to reggaeton and UK drill – right as they’re having a massive surge in global popularity. So it’s weird that we haven’t yet heard Drizzy’s take on amapiano – the South African party sound that’s been red hot since 2020. It’s definitely on his OVO team’s radar. My guess is he’s already got a whole bunch of tunes in the vaults and one of them will drop any time now. Maybe it’ll be alright. Maybe it will be terrible. Either way, it’ll be sure to rack up tens of millions of streams.
DJs will get good at TikTok
For the majority of the 2010s, underground club DJs were addicted to having crap press shots. It could have been a stubborn attempt to prove that they’re all about the music and not the image, and therefore anything other than leaning against a concrete wall for a moody black and white shot and appearing slightly disinterested in interviews was deemed as trying too hard. But the era of not caring whether or not people come to see you play is over. DJs like Jyoty and VTSS are having loads of fun on TikTok, and more will follow suit. Brace yourself for this year’s #Dekmantel dance challenge.
Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film! Film!
Fans of Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Edgar Wright, Pablo Larraín, Chloe Zhao (wearing her Nomadland hat), of any other “grown-up” filmmaker and of musicals (anyone?) – look away now. For you, the UK box-office charts for 2021 make for sobering reading.
The Top 20 was dominated by blockbusters and comic-book adaptations, by family films and deathless franchises.
Between No Time To Die at #1 and PAW Patrol: The Movie at #20, only A Quiet Place Part II (#14) offers anything like non-“event” filmmaking. West Side Story, House of Gucci, Last Night in Soho, Spencer – even in a partially locked-down pandemic year, their ticket take was at best, heroic, at worst, meagre and worrying.
It’s in part evidence that even slightly older movie-goers are still wary of returning to the pictures. And of the fact that even a cinematic titan like Spielberg can’t reboot a wide love for musicals. These days, the only Sharks or Jets we like are being ridden by Jason Momoa or blasting off to Pandora.
Little wonder, then, that in 2022, the theatrical experience will be dominated by big-screen spectacle and proven IPs. That means superheroes (and supporting baddies) galore (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Batman, Aquaman 2, Thor: Love and Thunder, Morbius, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Flash) and franchise returns (Avatar 2, Jurassic World 3, John Wick: Chapter 4, Top Gun Maverick, Mission: Impossible 7).
As forewarned by 2021’s box office hits and misses, in the bums-on-seats-takes, even Baz Luhrmann’s keenly-anticipated Elvis might be outgunned by DC League of Super-Pets. Yelp.
Still, at least cinemas will be actually, properly open all year. Won’t they?
Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books!
Book clubs become the new night clubs
Arguably, books have never really gone out of style. Reading’s cool factor as a hobby, however, has definitely been drilled in over the last couple of years by the likes of Kaia Gerber, Kendall Jenner and Grimes, who have regularly flashed their favourite tomes via Instagram and beyond. 2022, though, is all about expanding our love of reading by bringing it full circle, swapping the usual weekend bender for the more wholesome activity of book clubbing – a much cheaper but just as culturally enriching activity. Take a leaf out of Worms’ book, one of London’s hottest literary mags and communities to get started. Or look to Noname Book Club, dedicated to the voices of Black writers and writers of colour. Anyway, who’s to say you can’t get pissed at a book club? Make it your own and drink every time you read the word “and”. You get the message.
Young male novelists make a comeback
Last spring, The Guardian published a piece on a pretty polarising topic: the worrying scarcity of young male voices in fiction. Female novelists dominated the field in 2021, many of them rightfully scooping up literary prizes, while the rate at which men published new work stagnated – bar Paul Mendez’s debut Rainbow Milk, Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Costa Book Prize-winning Open Water and Brandon Taylor’s Filthy Animals. 2022 might just spell a new dawn for irreverent male writers with fresh points of view. Here are some we’re pretty excited about: Sean Conroe’s thrilling take on masculinity, Fuccboi, award-winning poet Seàn Hewitt’s memoir All Down Darkness Wide, Ryan O’Connor’s Glaswegian-set The Voids and Liam Konemann’s debut coming-of-age story, The Arena of the Unwell – honorary mention to Kenny Imafidon’s hotly-anticipated personal manifesto, That Peckham Boy, due for publication early next year. Happy flicking.