23 reasons to be cheerful about 2023
1. THE BOMBSHELLS ARE COMING
Good tidings for those bored of Chalamet/Styles style, #dreamboat floppy fringes and boys with Murakami books they haven’t read poking out of their coat pockets: 2023 is the year of the bombshell. And we’re not talking ‘Spare’ here. We’re talking blue eyes, blonde hair, 60-mile smiles and subtlety left at the door. Kim Petras in the pop charts. Erling Haaland on the football pitch. Leo Woodall — the Essex boy from The White Lotus! — on screen. And before all this their goddess mother, Pamela D Anderson, who’s got a book and a doc out really soon.
2. THERE WILL BE THREE LONG WEEKENDS IN MAY
What with having to listen to his media-shy second son talk at length about his frosty length, it can’t have been the most fun year thus far for our still-wet-behind-the-ears (and what ears they remain!) new king. But however you feel about Charlie Windsor, come spring you’ll be thanking him because his coronation means that May, already the best month of the year, will now present the opportunity not to go to work for three whole Mondays and instead sleep off the effects of three Sunday-roast-cum-impromptu-all-day-and-all-of-the-night binges.
3. FASHION IS SET FOR A MAJOR SHAKE-UP
Not to be dramatic, but 2022 was pretty huge for fashion drama. Creative directors of luxury houses chopped and changed so often it was hard to keep up. In London, Riccardo Tisci left his role at Burberry to be replaced by Daniel Lee, formerly of Bottega Veneta, while LFW rising star Harris Reed was snapped up by Nina Ricci, and Maximilian Davis debuted at Ferragamo. Not only will we get a peek into the brands’ new directions, we’ll get some answers to our burning questions, too: who’ll replace Alessandro Michele at Gucci? What’s next for Raf Simons? And will our London faves Grace Wales Bonner or Martine Rose clinch the top job at Louis Vuitton? We’ll soon find out…
4. YOU CAN WATCH A LONDON ARTIST GO TO THE MOON
For Rhiannon Adam, the 37-year-old Hackney-based artist and photographer, 2023 is the year she’s going to go stratospheric... literally. She was selected from more than a million people to join the DearMoon project — a lunar tourism mission funded by Japanese billionaire and former punk rock drummer Yusaku Maesawa. Plans are to launch the SpaceX starship later this year, the same vessel expected to take later crews to Mars. ‘Everything I do is connected to our relationship with the world and the way we interact with it. So, space is hugely influential in that respect… The transformative nature of that experience and questioning why we are fighting ridiculous wars and spending time destroying ourselves when we are so alone in the universe.’ Is she excited? ‘Once you’ve been to the Moon, Bali is hardly going to cut it.’ Well, quite.
5. YOUR CAN REVISIT YOUR 2010S NIGHTSTAND FAVOURITES
Admit it: those ‘modern lit classics’ you’ve been meaning to read for the past five years have proved more useful as coasters. So catch up with a trio of big book adaptations coming to London stages and screens this year. First is Hanya Yanagihara’s beautifully tragic A Little Life, opening at the Harold Pinter Theatre in late March, with James Norton and It’s A Sin’s Omari Douglas leading the cast. Want another bite of the Big Apple? The New York Times’ Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman is in Trouble catalogues the messy breakdown of a marriage through the ultimate anti-hero, Toby Fleishman — soon to be played by Jessie Eisenberg in a new Disney+ adaptation released in late February. Meanwhile, Candice Carty-Williams’s stellar debut, Queenie, has been greenlit by Channel 4, though details are sparse on casting and dates. Might just have to read the book first.
6. YOU CAN LIVE IN THE POST NEPO-BABY AGE
Well, hopefully. With New York Magazine’s endlessly discussed cover having landed in time for Christmas, we hope the children of the privileged few talked through potential responses to the tsunami of sneering with their famous families, then concluded it’d be best if they all got gigs in telesales and let the less fortunate/more talented take over all the fun jobs in 2023. Either that or their folks bought them new, wrong-side-of-the-tracks identities so they could pose as hard-done-bys who got lucky.
7. ENGLAND WILL (HOPEFULLY) WIN A WORLD CUP…
Post their storming of the Euros, the stage is set for the Lionesses to triumph again in Australia and New Zealand. Also: the games kick off early morn, UK time — England/ Denmark starts at 9.30am on a Friday — which means some long pub stints ahead.
8. YOU CAN DINE ON 3-D PRINTED MEAT
Time to tuck in to what looks, tastes and feels like the real thing without ever harming an animal. Plus, the 3D-printed fine cuts are now served up by Marco Pierre White. ‘Redefine Meat is a game changer which is on all of my menus,’ he says. ‘It’s extraordinary. I can’t imagine another plant-based product being so close to the real thing, and the truth is, we all want something that’s real and this is real, very real. It’s like eating meat. But the only way you’ll be convinced about it is by trying it.’
9. YOU WON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE BLATHER ON ABOUT CRYPTO
‘I’m tethering my Tosscoin to a Polkadot Shiba Inu.’* Really now, my ex-friend who can’t shut up about the small fortune (£3.50) you made on the crypto markets? Good luck after last year’s crisis, with the collapse of crypto exchange FTX and the arrest of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. You’re on the wrong horse — regular old money is making a comeback. *Only one of these isn’t a real cryptocurrency
10. BUSES ARE BASICALLY TURNING INTO UBERS
Yes, yes, we know there’s an inflation crisis. Thankfully, TFL’s new all-electric ‘tram-style’ buses to be trialled on route 358 are arriving just in time to slash your cab fund. Phone chargers, leatherette seating, mood lighting and panoramic foot windows? All we need now is the driver to change the station to Magic FM.
11. YOU CAN FINALLY PRINT THE PERFECT EYEBROWS
If you’ve never managed to cultivate the glossy, thick-but-not-too-thick perfect eyebrows you know you deserve, this is the year you can give up coercing them to be something they’re not. The Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas saw L’Oreal reveal Brow Magic, a hand-held gadget of joy in collaboration with pioneer in printed, temporary tattoos, Prinker. Using no fewer than 2,400 teeny, tiny nozzles, this will be the first electronic, at-home brow applicator able to deliver customised, flawless arches in seconds.
12. DATING WILL BE A DIFFERENT STORY
’Appy days!’ Sliding into DMs got a whole lot easier last year thanks to Instagram’s ‘Story-liking’ feature. Now you don’t even have to communicate with your latest crush, you can simply like their Story to indicate your romantic desires. Gen Z is ditching the likes of Tinder (which turned 10 last year) for the rising star newcomer dating app called Thursday, which, as the title suggests, can be used only on Thursdays. For those seeking IRL meet-ups, speed dating groups are cropping up across the capital. For the LGBTQ+ community, queer matchmaking service A Whole Orange hosts a range of singles mixers, coffee mornings and even zine workshops.
13. YOU CAN GO TO THESE GRAND REOPENINGS
If your new year’s resolution is to gain some self-culture, head to the National Portrait Gallery and the Young V&A, two of the city’s world-famous galleries reopening their doors this summer. Gaze at portraits of everyone from Shakespeare to Stormzy or head to Bethnal Green for a play date. If all else fails look to Poon’s, the iconic Chinese restaurant, which after an XYZ hiatus will be serving up its divine wind-dried meats and steaming hot pots once again. For Poon’s deets, turn to Dates for the Diary, Set Menu, page 31
14. VR IS ACTUALLY GOING TO BE A THING
After 1,345 beyond underwhelming false starts, it’s finally time to get your head in the VR game with the release of Apple’s mixed-reality headset and Sony’s PS VR2. Both of these new products can measure and react to your own emotions in real time.
15. YOU CAN SEE THESE GUYS AGAIN
LUKAS MATTSSON, SUCCESSION
Logan selling out Waystar Royco to this Scandi-Elon, self described ‘slab of f***ing gravlax’ is a delicious season-four prospect for two reasons: one, we get to look at Alexander Skarsgård longer (told you it’s the year of blonde bombshells!) and two, the fate of the Roy nepo babies is now as precarious as the blue tick moderators over at Twitter. Or anyone over at Twitter.
ELLE ARGENT, HEARTSTOPPER
If Netflix’s best show last year has a Super Hans — ie a character who steals every scene — then it’s Charlie ’n’ Tao ’n’ Issac’s trans BFF, who has the best lines, clothes, glasses — best everything. Yasmin Finney (who plays Elle) is popping up in the new Doctor Who, too, so expect to be discussing her with your mum come Christmas.
THE FRONT MAN, SQUID GAME
Aside from having the coolest mask in the business, there weren’t any TV characters about whose backstory we all wanted to know more than the guy with a proclivity for listening to Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E FlatMajor while loads of people get shot by a giant doll. Side request: can Gi-hun please keep his Gerard Way circa 2011 dyed red hair for season two?
‘I think it’s cool we’ve got the first hypeman who’s clinically depressed,’ said Dave’s manager/bestie when Davionte Ganter revealed he was bipolar in one of the most moving sitcom scenes ever. His season two arc ended in triumph, so we can’t wait to see more, or what adages he’ll add to the lexicon (though, ‘C’mon man, does molasses drip on trees?’ will take some beating).
16. ONE OF OUR (AND YOUR) FAVOURITE DESIGNERS IS GOING CLUBBING
Designer Christopher Kane can plot much of his life through his memories of clubbing. There was Sadie Frost’s in Glasgow (‘I was underage, it was wild, an experience’), then G-A-Y/Heaven in his Central Saint Martins days (‘liberating and thrilling to have finally found like-minded people’) followed by joyful nights out at Nag Nag Nag, Boombox and — where else? — the Joiners Arms in Hackney while his fledgling label took off. It’s the reason he’s now trying his hand at putting on London’s new favourite club night, More Joy Disco, at Koko this April, joining forces with Sink The Pink’s Glyn Fussell. ‘It’s a place for outsiders, creatives who want to leave their worries at the door and just have a good time.’ @morejoydisco
17. YOU CAN GO FULL BRITPOP
On Friday 7 October, 1994, at Alexandra Palace, Blur, supported by Pulp, played a show that a) saw Damon Albarn get hit by an egg thrown from the crowd, and b) is now commonly considered to be the starter pistol for Britpop. The same evening, down the road at Wembley Arena, Robbie Williams was performing in his last tour before leaving Take That. Who — aside from Robbie Williams, maybe — would have thought that, 29 years on, he, Blur and Pulp would all be playing gargantuan live shows at Sandringham Estate, Wembley Stadium and Finsbury Park, respectively? It’s time to start bulk buying orange Hooch, ask your cool uncle if he still has his Adidas Sambas and get ready to bellow along to what is still some of the best music ever. Parklife!
18. YOUR SEVEN-YEAR ITCH WILL DISAPPEAR
2016 was a vintage year for album releases, if you count Rihanna’s Anti, Frank Ocean’s Blonde and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool. Since then, RiRi has birthed a billion-dollar beauty empire, dropped the title single for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and landed the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show slot. Mr Ocean, meanwhile, has been busy making high-end cock rings and at last is headlining Coachella this summer (deferred from 2020). And then there’s Radiohead, who have been teasing a reunion 20 years after Hail to the Thief. Is the stage set for new material from each? Only time — and our end of 2023 Spotify round-up playlists — will tell.
19. YOU CAN MEET A NEW DINOSAUR
Let’s talk big units — specifically the bony old ones that greet you at the Natural History Museum. If you thought beloved, dearly departed London legend Dippy the diplodocus was enormous, brace yourself for the boggle of all gigantic boggles. Twelve metres longer and four times heavier than Dippy, titanosaur is the biggest creature ever to have walked the planet and will be squeezing through the museum’s doors this spring. While you await its arrival, here’s a little preliminary quiz: if a diplodocus was called Dippy, it follows that a titanosaur should be nicknamed what? Opens 31 Mar (nhm.ac.uk)
20. YOU CAN EMBRACE (OR LIGHTLY CUDDLE)AWWW-CORE
Remember the toys you discarded faster than this year’s dry January once you first caught a glimpse of Westlife? Dust ’em off because Barbie (below), The Little Mermaid and Trolls are all returning to our screens to deliver a dose of doe-eyed nostalgia to us, the usually cynical masses.
21. THE DAY OF RECKONING IS COMING FOR YOUR LANDLORD
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Your landlord, quivering with fear if Shelter’s hotly anticipated Renters’ Reform Bill is passed in May. Expect an ombudsman to help enforce renters’ rights, a register to keep track of dirty deeds and a law banning ‘no fault’ evictions.
22. DRINKING IS ABOUT TO GET SPECTACULARLY SIMPLE
This decade’s equivalent of a skinny bitch, the tipple of ’23 is a deliciously simple but effective mix of tequila, sparkling water (Topo Chico, ideally) and fresh lime. Keep them coming.
23. YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY GET TO VOTE FOR THE LEADER OF THIS COUNTRY
Will there be an election this year? You might think young Rishi would be keen to put off calling one until the last possible second (17 December 2024). But Sir Keir is good to go. The public would surely like to have a say in at least one in every three PMs, what with this being a democracy and all. After all, once dear Harold has loosened his grip on the news cycle, the papers will need filling…