2021 has brought more unexpected twists and turns. As it rolls to a close, the JPIT staff reflect on the things which brought them some joy this year (and offer some recommendations!).
Wishing you a joyful and peaceful Christmas, from all at the Joint Public Issues Team.
Favourite read: The Positive News Website!
Favourite podcast: The Unbelievable Truth (BBC Sounds)
Favourite headline: Builder of ‘Britain’s biggest model railway’ kept it secret from his girlfriend
Favourite campaigner: Jackie Weaver – campaigning for more effective democracy, one parish council meeting at a time
Favourite place: Parkrun every Saturday morning at 9am – it’s great to be back!
Favourite book: Beyond a Boundary by CLR James. A masterful memoir on cricket, colonialism, race and politics in the 20th century.
Favourite podcast: Too many to pick one! For politics and current affairs – The New Statesman Podcast. For faith and politics – Politics in the Pulpit! For fascinating conversations with interesting people about their deepest values – The Sacred. For cutting satire – The Bugle. For pure surreal nonsense and light-hearted fun – Three Bean Salad.
Favourite Twitter account: the parody skits from the likes of Matt Green, Michael Spicer and Rosie Holt have been very amusing interruptions to what is often quite a bleak scroll…
New hobby: spending hours in the kitchen learning how to make roast dinners and delicious curries (without using sauce from a jar!).
Favourite TV comedy: Ghosts for a comedy (BBC) and Vigil for a drama! (BBC)
Favourite place: The Old Airfield Campsite, Bransgore, The New Forest
Favourite book: Elif Shafak: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World. A profoundly moving book about friendship and death on the margins of society.
Favourite album/song: I would never have said I was a great fan of Danish Black Metal but Ella by Myrkur (off their album Folkesange) is a beautiful and evocative reimagining of traditional Nordic folk music…
Favourite place: This year I discovered Cragside in Rothbury, now a National Trust property but the UK’s first ‘green energy’ house. The house illuminated by hydro-electricity and powered by hydraulics was built by William Armstrong (who also invented the Armstrong Breechloading Gun, just shows we are all contradictions!).
Favourite book: Jason Hickel’s ‘Less is More’. A cunning blend of History, Economics, Environmentalism and potential apocalypse alongside some hope
Favourite film: Dune – Dad and daughter’s first Cinema trip to see a grown-up film together; pure post lockdown dad joy!
Favourite TV show: Lego Ninjago; the only thing that helped my 8-year old son survive the trauma of home-schooling
Favourite campaign: Commission on Social Security: People who use the social security system designing a new social security system, and doing a better job than anyone else so far. Read about it here!
Favourite book: Voices on the Move (Domnica Radulescu & Roxana Cazan)
New skill: House hunting (not sure it’s a skill I’m mastering)
Favourite campaign/campaigner: ☹ (it’s been a tough year for campaigns)
Favourite place: Screen 5, Row P, Seat 10 Odeon Cinema
Favourite book/read: Lost Cat by Mary Gaitskell – I found it in a dusty bookshop this summer and read it in an afternoon. It is a sharp but hopeful reflection on love, loss and welcoming the stranger (both human and feline).
Favourite podcast: Surely everyone has said The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill?
Favourite headline/most memorable news event: Antonio Conte joins Spurs!?!?! Maybe Cat Smith resigns from the shadow cabinet…
Favourite album/song: Apparently ‘Happier Than Ever’ by Billie Eilish is my most played song this year. I don’t know if that very cool?
Favourite book/read: This year I discovered my new favourite author: Lisa See. I have read two of hers so far my favourite being The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.
Favourite podcast: I’ve listened to lots of great podcasts this year but The Intelligence by the Economist or No Such Thing As A Fish.
Favourite social media channel: The pandemic introduced me to the joy of TikTok which I have been enjoying this year. Seeing clips of adorable animals, book recommendations and home DIY tips is endlessly entertaining!
Favourite place: This summer I visited Scotland for the first time and visited so many beautiful places including going swimming in the stunning Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye.
Favourite book: The Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman – I got totally lost in the characters!
Favourite TV show: The Dog House on Channel 4 – quality cute animal escapism
Favourite headline: ‘Polling Booth set up in car park after church warden overslept’ (how British…)
Favourite place: Feeling a bit chilly paddling in the Cornish sea!