Jonathan Pie, Street Cat Bob’s memorial & Imelda May all starred in Big Issue videos this year
When James Bowen unveiled a new memorial to Street Cat Bob earlier this year in London, only a handful of people could be there. But The Big Issue was at the scene and we allowed tens of thousands of people to see the statue and memorial bench through our online coverage.
The video was among the most popular videos we released this year. It was a collection that also featured political comedy from Jonathan Pie, interrogations for Line of Duty, and feminist book recommendations by philosopher Amia Srinivasan.
These are our top 13 videos of 2021…
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1. Jonathan Pie on homelessness: ‘We can solve it tomorrow. It’s easy’
As fictional political correspondent Jonathan Pie, comedian Tom Walker’s online videos mercilessly skewer the political and media classes. He spoke to The Big Issue about why it’s easy to write about homelessness.
2. Street Cat Bob memorial statue unveiled by James Bowen
A memorial to Street Cat Bob – featuring a life-size statue – was opened in London in July. James Bowen unveiled the moving tribute to the cat who helped him overcome homelessness and addiction.
3. RJ Mitte interview: Disability doesn’t mean weakness
Breaking Bad is one of the most popular TV series of all time. Like his character, Walter White Jr, RJ Mitte lives with cerebral palsy. In 2021 film Triumph, Mitte plays Mike, a high schooler who wants to join the wrestling team. He found a lot to relate to. “You know, when you have a disability, there’s these assumptions that you’re weaker, that you’re slower, that you’re fragile, and you can’t live a normal life, or you can’t live the life that you want to choose,” he said. “In this story, Mike makes his life the life he wants. He makes his life his. And I think that’s something that is such an amazing triumph, that can echo past people with disabilities, that can echo to so many people.”
4. Line of Duty interview: The Big Issue Interrogation with Vicky McClure and Martin Compston
Vicky McClure and Martin Compston are the beating heart of Line of Duty, the biggest, most talked-about show on British TV. The duo have quizzed guest lead actors Lennie James, Keeley Hawes, Daniel Mays, Thandiwe Newton and Stephen Graham in the iconic glass interview room. But McClure and Compston have never interrogated each other. Until now.
5. Insulate Britain protesters fear prison as High Court hearing begins
Insulate Britain activists entered the High Court for a contempt of court hearing in November “nervous and terrified” they would be sent to prison. Nine of the group’s activists face contempt of court charges for blocking the M25 on October 8, in defiance of an injunction. Our reporter was at the scene.
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6. Books about feminism recommended by Amia Srinivasan
Amia Srinivasan is one of the most exciting young philosophers at work today. Her latest book, The Right to Sex is a work of feminist theory that centres on the politics of sex, in the wake of #MeToo. These are her recommendations for books about feminism, focusing on the US Women’s Liberation Movement.
Today, she’s one of Ireland’s most successful artists, but Imelda May’s singing career started on a chunky brown Fisher Price cassette recorder. May remembers growing up in Dublin and sitting with her ear against the record player listening to Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Tina Turner and Janis Joplin.
8. This is Britain: Why can’t Dover afford a Big Issue seller? & Why can’t locals find a home in Margate?
There’s an emergency on the high street. Insufficient affordable housing. Appalling levels of child poverty. In September, we visited one of Britain’s hardest-hit areas, where things are reportedly so bad they can’t afford a Big Issue vendor. This two-part video investigation takes you into the heart of the issues facing Kent.
9. The Big Conversation: Chris Packham interviews Professor Brian Cox for Earth Day
To mark Earth Day 2021, The Big Issue brought together two of the UK’s most important minds: Chris Packham and Professor Brian Cox. In a wide-ranging conversation Packham interviews Cox about life on earth – and possibly beyond; how humanity can unite to tackle climate change; and the impact of the pandemic on the public impression of science.
10. Mogwai interview: Stuart Braithwaite on getting to number one after 25 years
For the first time in their 25 year history, Mogwai hit number one in the charts this March. That day, guitarist Stuart Braithwaite took The Big Issue inside the band’s most exciting and tense week ever.
11. Gloria Steinem on being called ‘bitch’: ‘I learned to say thank you’
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Address to the Women of America, legendary feminist Gloria Steinem reflected on how far we’ve come – and the challenge still ahead.
12. Michael Trucco: Midnight Mass turned me into Sexy Ned Flanders
As moustachioed, slubby dad Wade Scarborough, Michael Trucco stepped way out of his comfort zone for Netflix’s latest horror sensation Midnight Mass. His square-jawed, leading man looks hidden under intense prosthetics, Michael Trucco earned himself the nickname ‘Sexy Flanders’ after Homer Simpson’s hi-diddly-ho-ing neighborino.
13. Aloe Blacc interview: The Music That Made Me
Aloe Blacc is a platinum-selling singer, songwriter, producer and artivist who aims to use his voice to bring about change in the world. With his huge 2010 hit I Need A Dollar, Blacc captured a hand-to-mouth experience familiar to many. He joined The Big Issue on The Music That Made Me to explore the artists who inspired his transformative, emotional approach.
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