What’s the old joke? It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. Ba dum tss. Hmm, yeah, that went well. The last time I sat down to write this page, towards the end of November, the Oxford–AstraZeneca jab had just been declared 90 per cent effective – good news, given that we’d already ordered millions of the things. The R number had dropped below one – the first time since August – and gyms were reopening. So were stadiums and Selfridges. A barber was going to be allowed to cut your hair, and we could all see our families over Christmas. Bubbles in our bubbles among the baubles. The tide was turning. Whisper it, I wrote, but it looks like we’re almost out of the woods. The home run, the last lap, not quite yet, but soon.
I won’t tempt fate this time around.
So, what’s up this issue. Things to get you through the twilight zone – books, podcasts, music, virtual members’ clubs – and places to consider visiting once we’re sunning it in the upland pastures on the other side: restaurants, exhibitions, a fancy hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva.
There’s also a piece on London’s most spectacular staircases, which we’d love to claim was planned as a metaphor for our collective circumstances looking like they are on the up. Something about stepping out and feeling the spring in our step, after a year in which it’s felt like we’ve been taking one step forward and three steps back. Actually, we just thought it would make for a bit of an arty picture story. And that the headline would write itself. One Step Ahead; One Step at a Time; Every Step You Take, Every Move You Make…etc. etc.
And so, with Puff Daddy’s cover of The Police’s aching power ballad providing a particularly pertinent backing track, we say ‘enjoy the issue, watch your step, mind how you go, see you in the summer,’ surely.