Because we start putting together the It’s Nice That Annual during the summer, it feels like we’ve been rounding up the year for weeks now in one way or another. I once read that when the restaurant critic A A Gill writes a review he takes no notes at all, and instead lets his mind sift out what it feels is particularly noteworthy and memorable. I’ve taken a similar tack here, which hopefully gives my answers a sense of authenticity if nothing else…
What has the internet taught you this year?
That very often the best creative ideas are incredibly simple – see Jeff Greenspan’s statue intervention in New York.
What’s been your favourite interview/piece of writing of the year?
Two pieces of writing at very different ends of the journalistic spectrum, but both show-stopping in their own ways. Jen Percy’s piece about Afghanistan’s only female warlord is a brilliant, terrifying piece that has stayed with ever since I read it, but the thing I most enjoyed was Caity Weaver’s gonzo journalism, immersing herself in TGI Friday’s endless appetisers.
Which website do you think has really stepped up their game this year?
The Buzzed longform section has gone from strength to strength and flies in the face of everyone’s preconceptions of what Buzzed does best.
Which song/album would be the soundtrack to your year?
Ólafur Arnalds to work to, and Eels’ Beginners’ Luck for play (a song I first heard on Die Zeit’s Spotify playlist for Gym Class Magazine).
Which app could you have not lived without this year?
I’m sure others will say it too but Pocket has genuinely change my life and means I read so much more long from content than I did this time last year.
What’s been your favourite publication this year?
The New Yorker, The Gentlewoman and The FT Weekend Magazine all continue to dazzle but in terms of new magazines I was blown away by Dirty Furniture, a magazine that focuses on a different item of furniture each issue. The first one centred on the sofa and included essays on sitcoms and the Blair government.
What’s the best exhibition you’ve visited?
Martin Creed at The Hayward was joyful and Dan Tobin Smith’s First Law of Kipple at London Design Festival was great too. But my absolute favourite was a small show at the Royal Academy of Honoré Daumier’s etchings and cartoons. There was one image of Hercules looking really downtrodden and knackered, rather than heroic and god-like. I have a postcard of it at home.
One valuable lesson you have learnt in 2014?
I saw a show by a guy called Red Bastard at the Edinburgh Festival which was compelling, confrontational and utterly unlike anything else I’ve ever seen in a theatre. The big point he made is that we’re all aware of the things in our lives that we’re unhappy with or that hold us back and that we really should be brave enough to do something about them. That sounds a lot more wanky than it came across at the time btw.
Do you have any new year’s resolutions?
Inspired by Andy Miller’s A Year Of Reading Dangerously, it’s simply to read more books.
Give us a recipe for an incredible Christmas lunch SIDE dish
I like that the word SIDE is in capitals in this question. I can’t personally vouch for it yet, but am told that a couple of spoonfuls of Marmite in the hot fat takes roast potatoes to a whole new level. Please don’t sue It’s Nice That if we ruin your Christmas dinner though…
About the Author
Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including itsnicethat.com, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.