Book Now For Next…Autumn?

London, Observatory

The paradox of London, as noted elsewhere on this site, is that while the wealthy properties might now be owned by SE Asians who visit twice a year, leaving richest parts of the city feeling oddly dead, the rising number of tourists and general visitors means that an immense amount of planning must go into the simple act of going out.

This week I attempted the following:
To get into a cheap restaurant that never took reservations before but now does (Sorry, Sir, full up all day, try tomorrow)
Book a fancy restaurant for a friend’s birthday next month (Sorry, Sir, nothing until after Christmas)
Book an online cinema event (Tickets went on sale at 11:30am, sold out 11:31am)
Book a play (Entire run sold out)

Don’t even think about Wimbledon, the Olympics or the Proms (unless it’s something very avant-garde). I saw an ad for a singer I quite like – she’s not that famous or popular, I thought, but worth catching, so I went online to look at the tickets. There were plenty left, but her three-night show is not this autumn – it’s October 2012. The oil might have run out by then. We could all be fighting each other for food. Who knows where I’ll be?

Christmas in Oxford Street started in the sweltering early days of September. Stand-up comics who once played in pubs are now performing at stadiums. People are queuing outside Apple overnight. The tubes are rammed with people carrying gigantic boxes. My next year’s diary already has a lot of dates filled in it. Usually I can’t even think about organising what I’ll be doing tomorrow. How will I cope with a world where a simple meal must be planned three months in advance?

I know there are ways around this – get online updates from companies, keep the eyes peeled for announcements, keep your finger hovering over that SEND button, but – really?

4 comments on “Book Now For Next…Autumn?”

  1. Wayne says:

    Well Christopher, its not just London. I live in a sleepy seaside town and the same is true here… Try to get a ticket to see something at the sea front theater and you walk in to the ticket office the day they go on sale and your out of luck. Online sales have taken priority. They even charge a booking fee at the ticket office, I treated my Mum to tickets for a well known act and had to hand over an extra £10 as a booking fee….Got the last three tickets the day they went on sale.

    As for Meals out… Forget it! at least in the Summer. Then in the winter most places are shut.

  2. Alan Morgan says:

    I’m sure there’s still tickets going all season at the Kirkgate Arts, Cockermouth – just up the Northern Line. Right up. You just have to be prepared to leave central London. All that within the M25. Or the home counties. Much of England indeed.

  3. Stephen Groves says:

    Hi Chris,
    We will be ordering books before their written next.


  4. Helen Martin says:

    Spur of the moment decisions are disastrous. A couple of Saturdays ago a friend had tickets for Westside Story. He and his friend decided that they would go early and have dinner downtown because there was also a hockey game, a football game, a major concert and a dance presentation. They found a place to park the car (I’d have used a cab or the bus)and then tried to find dinner. They weren’t looking for fancy, just pleasant, but either they were booked solid, there was an hour’s wait or they were closed. They ended up in the food fair at a nearby mall. The downtown was wall to wall people. That should be good, but it’s unnerving when you’re not expecting it. Yes, get away from downtown and there’s more space and choice, but fewer performance venues.

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