Steve Braunias: Five things to look forward to in 2022


1 The world

Give Elon Musk the Moon and the stars and wherever else he wants to fly his toy rocket to – who needs the universe? New Zealanders, soon, surely, are about to enjoy something better: the known world, good old planet Earth, available at an airport near you. It will be so good to get the hell out of the Hermit Kingdom. These two long pandemic years trapped at the end of the atlas have presented many challenges – you know, life and death, that sort of thing – but not being able to go anywhere has kept us on a short leash. The point of being a New Zealander is to travel. Fingers crossed that 2022 will allow us to exercise our rights to wander, to roam, to move, and then come back but not have to MIQ it or any of that jazz. Take two passports, one for state and one for the vaccine, and wake up in another country. It’s that simple. We’re all sick to death of each other – in a good way – and we need somewhere else to look at and explore. Imagine it. Paris! Seoul! Whatever the capital of Mexico is! Pack your suitcase now. We’re leaving! Maybe, I don’t know. The signs aren’t good.

2Lorde's 2022 New Zealand tour

Yes, very well, if you want to be all pedantic about it, it’s not til next year. But tickets are selling fast – some concerts have already sold out – and you ought to make it your New Year’s Resolution to snap up the few remaining tickets. This is Lorde. This is the composer of Royals and Green Light and that one with the video which stars my girlfriend (Solar Power).This is the incandescent pop star made in New Zealand who returns to perform in New Zealand for the first time in ages. According to her site, you still have time to book shows at Days Bay, Wellington, February 22; Electric Avenue Festival, Christchurch, February 25; Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, March 3; and Outerfields, Auckland, March 4. She’s awesome and she’s an event – imagine seeing her at Days Bay, it’d be the best garden party since Katherine Mansfield came to town.

3 House of the Dragon prequel

The night is once again dark, and full of terrors – hurrah! I came late to the Game of Thrones to happily, avidly binge on it during the Great Auckland Lockdown of 2021. God it was good. The nudity was good, the killings were good, the dialogue was better than good; what writing, and what filming, the whole of it a spectacular, brooding, malevolent vision of life as something brutal and short unless you were rich and, like Lord Tyrion, very short. The prequel, House of the Dragon, is due sometime in 2022. It’s set to be the TV event of the year. All I know is that it’s got dragons in it. Enough said.

4 The epic saga of Christopher Luxon

I mean – I don’t know if it’s going to be an epic saga. But I’ve got a good feeling about this guy. National’s new leader has so much life, zest, and randomness about him. “We will be out there in the world happening to our future,” he said of National, but really he said it about himself: he’s truly out there, he’s happening, baby! He has a big year ahead of him and it’s sure to have twists and turns, triumphs and disasters, zingers that rattle Ardern, and shots that he fires into his own foot. So he doesn’t appear to have a fresh idea in his head. So he seems like a bit of a flake. But he’s got that thing we all ought to possess – ambition – and New Zealand could do with some aspiration.

5 One more lockdown

No, seriously! It’ll be fun! I’m thinking mid-year, June, for just a month; nothing much happens in June anyway, and it’ll be nice to head home again and take it easy. I’m thinking of a new Covid scare but more of a false alarm. Nothing serious, just a precautionary lockdown. It’ll feel nostalgic. It’ll be like a kind of tribute lockdown to the real ones of 2020 and 2021. Time off school, time off the office, time off the motorway; a chance to hang with your family, go for nice walks, drop baked goods off at the neighbours. A petite lockdown, four weeks tops. A faux lockdown, no hospitalisations or anything harmful. A cheeky lockdown, just enough to exercise the wrath of anti-vaxxers so they can perform some comedy protests in public, and get Bishop Twit, Brian Tamaki, banged up by the cops again and put in the cells in just his underpants. That’s the thing about lockdowns: they have special qualities. One more, please!

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