Rachel Jones looks at what we’ll be wearing, watching, reading, listening to, cooking and playing in 2012.
It’s a year beginning with fact-based films and ending with a very different feel as fantasy flicks come to the fore.
The movie on everyone’s minds is Iron Lady, released on January 6, starring Meryl Streep as tough-as-old-boots Margaret Thatcher.
This biopic of the lady who divided a nation’s opinion as PM has attracted plenty of attention. Streep, renowned for her spot-on accents, may be perfect for the role. It seems Helen Mirren isn’t the only queen of British fact-based drama.
Just when we’ve looked at the career of one controversial figure, we’re offered J.Edgar, due for release on January 20. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the film focuses on the career of FBI director J.Edgar Hoover.
From trade union-busters and crime-fighters to vampires, wizards and little people with hairy feet – the cinema year offers the gamut of genres.
November and December bring us the last film in the Twilight saga and the first of two films focusing on the action in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
For those who don’t know the stories, The Hobbit prequels The Lord Of The Rings (although focuses on a different adventure) and features that most ‘precioussss’ of our literary characters Gollum – as well as that dastardly ring.
And in between these movie giants there’s a summer of blockbusters (new Spider Man and Batman films among them) and some award contenders early in the year. These include The Descendants, starring George Clooney and released on January 27. The film focuses on a land baron trying to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is in a boating accident.
Any film with Clooney is of course worth a mention but this one has also been nominated for a Golden Globe, as has War Horse – the adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s acclaimed children’s book.
Angels, vampires and Nordic thrillers were among the big genres of 2011 – but next year is looking hot for anniversaries.
Industry insiders are predicting a plethora of books pegged to the Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday and other 2012 landmarks.
‘There will be a whole raft of books on the Titanic to mark its centenary in April and one or two which focus on the survivors’ stories, which will be quite vivid,’ says Caroline Sanderson, non-fiction specialist at trade magazine The Bookseller.
April also sees the 30th anniversary of the outbreak of the Falklands War, which will attract accompanying books.
There will be new novels from thriller writer Jo Nesbo, best-selling novelist Tony Parsons and Adrian Mole creator Sue Townsend.
In Adrian Mole’s 30th anniversary year, Sue Townsend brings us The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year (Michael Joseph, March), about a disillusioned wife who climbs into bed the day her children leave home and refuses to budge.
In literary fiction, twice Booker-winner Peter Carey will have a new book out in April called The Chemistry Of Tears [Faber & Faber].
Be prepared to go metallic, tribal or aquatic in 2012. These are the key trends that Southsea personal stylist Louise Potts spotted on the catwalks of the world’s major fashion weeks.
‘There was a lot of metallic, particularly gold and silver,’ says Louise, who runs consultancy ANUYU. ‘It was everywhere – trousers, handbags, there was lot of bling. But it will filter down and become more accessible on the high street. The best thing to do is choose it for an area you want to draw attention to and don’t go overboard.’
The trend for animal prints continues with cow print coming to the fore. ‘This can look great on handbags and shoes,’ says Louise.
She also predicts a high street full of aquatic themed colours and prints, including seashells, tribal prints, floaty feminine styles, bright colours and white.
‘We’re predicting again that Vietnam will be quite big next year,’ says Sian Russell, a travel consultant at Southsea and Waterlooville travel agents Travelplanners.
Her reason for believing this isn’t just that there has been a growing travel trend towards the south east Asian country – there are new direct routes from Heathrow to the capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
‘For short-haul, non-euro destinations are still popular,’ says Sian. ‘People are going for Turkey, and Croatia is still a growing destination. It’s a beautiful place and a growing number of people seem to be realising that.’
Eating out has a more casual feel as we move into 2012, according to News restaurant critic Carol Godsmark.
Neighbourhood cafes, tearooms and restaurants with a more laid-back atmosphere have become popular dining options.
‘More casual eating out places over smart ‘‘best behaviour’’ ones is something that has been on the cards for the past two years,’ says Carol.
Tearooms are in the ascendant and there is a real growth in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.
Eating local, seasonal food is still very important to people and Carol says consumers want to know more about their food and where it is from.
Carol has also spotted something new in higher end dining:
‘Untrained chefs who figure out how to really cook and don’t have any catering school restraints to overcome are consistently making the grade (particularly in gastropubs) and gaining Michelin stars.’
Listen out for the sounds of Michael Kiwanuka and Lana Del Rey, says Wave 105 DJ and Guide columnist Steve Power.
‘Michael Kiwanuka is a British soul act from London. Polydor, the label behind him, is putting a lot of money into him. He has a very laid-back sound, a bit like Jack Johnson,’ says Steve.
Lana Del Rey caused a stir in August, going from obscurity to notoriety online overnight. Her debut single went into the charts before she’d even played a gig, largely thanks to her homemade viral clip that accompanied Video Games.
‘The song is brilliant. She draws a lot of style and influence from people like Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, so she’s certainly one to watch,’ says Steve.
Lana’s album Born To Die is released in January.
On the live front it’s a rockin’ year with Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters all getting on the tour bus. But the big event of the year is the Beach Boys Reunion Tour.
‘There’s a new album of material and the reunion is going to be a big deal.
A tour could be a step too far these days but it will certainly get a lot of attention so we’ll see,’ says Steve.
Graeme Patfield, assistant editor of The News, is a keen gamer.
He says: ‘It’s an interesting time for the games industry as cheap downloadable titles vie with highly-developed cinematic masterpieces for our time and money. But one thing is certain in 2012 – it’s all to play for.
‘This year was all about making the most of existing hardware, with Sony and Microsoft adding motion controls to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 thanks to their respective Move and Kinect technologies.
‘In 2012, both consoles will remain strong – but gamers are now looking to the future and the two ageing consoles are starting to look old hat compared to the jaw-dropping graphics already being seen on high-end PCs.
‘It can’t be long before the two gaming giants start talking about their next-generation hardware, so expect to see announcements of a new Xbox – rumoured to be called the Xbox 720 – and a PlayStation 4.
‘Nintendo’s 3DS is now picking up momentum thanks to some fantastic titles like Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. With a new cheap price point, innovative software and a better focus on the handheld’s abilitities over and above its opinion-splitting 3D screen, Nintendo will start to gain a bigger market share.
‘Sony hopes to hit back with its Vita handheld, a stunning piece of gadgetry already launched in Japan.’
News sportswriter Steve Wilson looks ahead to the sporting events of 2012.
‘The dust has barely settled on the last encounter, but Pompey fans will already be looking forward to April 7 for the next chapter of the south coast derby against arch rivals Southampton.
‘While the neighbours were top of the Championship at Christmas, Blues fans will be hopeful that Michael Appleton’s men are closer to them in the league table in time for the next episode – with optimistic Pompey supporters even targeting next May’s play-off final at Wembley.
‘It promises to be an unforgettable summer of sport, with England aiming to finally realise their potential at a major final as Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine kicks off on June 8 with the final scheduled for July 1.
Fabio Capello’s team are well capable of beating the best in the world – but their recent record at major tournaments leaves plenty of room for improvement.
England cricketers are in action in Abu Dhabi for a winter Test series on neutral turf against Pakistan before a summer that includes Test matches and a one-day series against West Indies and South Africa, with Hampshire’s Rose Bowl hosting a tussle against the South Africans on August 28.
But the dominant sporting occasion of the year will, of course, be the Olympics. The biggest sporting event on the planet visits these shores as the Olympics finally come to London. Backed by a partisan home support, Team GB will be hoping for a medal rush.