At the dawn of a New Year it is the perfect time for a look back over a phenomenal 12 months for The Big Issue. Vendors made a splash at Westminster and John Bird’s poverty-prevention mission gained momentum. The snap election mobilised our Activist Army, our literacy campaign inspired #whybooksmatter. And our horror Trump cover scooped awards from the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors) and PPA Scotland, where we also won Consumer Magazine of the Year. We explored the planet, from wily cuttlefish to Street Cat Bob’s Japan takeover, and talked to the stars, from Liam to Brandon, Patrick Stewart to Russell Brand. Joe Wicks got us fit, and we mourned the death of our old friend George Michael.
But what Big Issue features got you talking 2017? We run down what YOU liked most on bigissue.com over the past 12 months.
Politics and the media went head to head to settle the Brexit question once and for all in a debate that will define the era. Representing politics: Malcolm Tucker, former communications director at No 10 Downing Street. Representing the media: local, national and online broadcaster Alan Partridge. The article appeared in an October issue guest edited by both characters’ creator Armando Iannucci.
The incredible tail of A Street Cat Named Bob soared to even greater heights in 2017 as the film version of the bestselling book was released around the world. A series of articles by James Bowen (with a little help from his furry friend) charted the pair’s globetrotting journey promoting the film, including meeting Big Issue Japan vendors, and also brought in a collection of stories from readers sharing how their own pet had helped transform their life Bob-style.
When staff in a coffee shop in Waterloo station refused to serve a customer who wanted to buy coffee for a homeless man, the story went viral. While this wasn’t the coffee shop company’s policy, it sparked a debate about how homeless people are viewed and treated by wider society.
— Adrian Pinsent (@Filmquotebloke) July 18, 2017
Although the remake of Baywatch opened to mixed reviews, our interview with star Alexandra Daddario proved popular, including as it did the definitive guide to how to run down a beach in slow motion.
A star was born when Tom Burke pulled on a long overcoat and became Cormoran Strike, hero of Robert Galbraith’s series of detective novels. Galbraith is of course better known as Harry Potter author JK Rowling, and on playing the part, Burke told us wisely: “If JK Rowling is happy, I’m happy”.
Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond revealed his biggest regret to The Big Issue: his “daft” decision to quit as SNP leader in 2000. Even though Salmond lost his seat at the May election, he proves that he still knows how to make a splash, with his chat show at the Edinburgh Fringe leading to a slot on Russia Today.
Council tax arrears became the single biggest issue clogging up British courts as fees and fines caused debt to spiral. The result is often homelessness so, in a special report, barrister Alan Murdie exposed the chaotic and faceless system in all its gory glory.
Benedict Cumberbatch was shouted down after speaking out for refugees and homeless people. But he told us he had no regrets: “I understand why some might think I should be housing people instead of complaining about a government not doing it. But I was trying to raise awareness that we can do more as a society, because I do feel we are able to do more than just recovering bodies.”
Our most read Letter To My Younger Self came from author Neil Gaiman, in which he ignored advice given to him by Stephen King to enjoy his success. Instead, said Neil, he still worries about his work: “Fear is probably the driving force that keeps me writing”.
When the surprise general election was called by Theresa May, most people predicted doom for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. But he began to steadily rise in the polls and in the days before the vote, Corbyn chose to sit down with Big Issue editor Paul McNamee for an interview screened live on UNILAD. The shock vote and level of youth turnout surprised everyone – except us. Our interview was watched by over 750,000 – mostly young – people. Did we almost swing the election? Who knows, but we’ll take the credit anyway…
Our last issue of 2017 and first of 2018 is out now! Featuring McMafia star James Norton (watch him wish us a Happy New Year here), our artist of 2018 Otis Redding and eight reasons to be cheerful for the year ahead. If you can’t find a vendor you can pick up your copy here. And there’s a lot more to come in 2018, so catch up here at bigissue.com and keep buying, taking and reading your Big Issue every Monday.