Battered by Storm Brian and narcissism from Minaj: what the hell happened in November?
And so we careered towards the end of the year, the planet was clinging on and the manipulative shits at the top of the tree in Hollywood finally got what had been a long time coming. In Europe Brexit negotiations got increasingly farcical and, crucially, nowhere near a deal of any sort, and further afield the president of the US and the Supreme Leader of South Korea traded insults on Twitter.
Anyhow. It was nearly the season to be jolly, but we needed to be primed by retailers for the forthcoming consumer frenzy. So, on the 10 November Christmas was officially launched as we woke to meet Moz the Monster, star of John Lewis’ festive campaign. The launch now marks the moment at which it is OK to say the c-word ahead of the 25 December. This year the ad was directed by Michel Gondry and the now-traditional breathy cover of a classic pop song was provided by bearded dad rockers and Radio 2 mainstays Elbow. A few days later, everyone involved was accused of plagiarism.
Here’s what else happened on It’s Nice That in November…
Nicki Minaj popped up twice, first in an effort to “break the internet” on the cover of Paper Magazine having a threesome with herself. It transpires that the internet is still unbroken, so next year Paper must try harder. Soon after she was named as the star of H&M’s Christmas campaign in which she plays a fairy, which is altogether more wholesome and poses far fewer questions.
Petrolheads the world over got to see Lewis Hamilton win the World Championship in Formula One for the fourth time. At the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi the new branding for the sport (if you can call it a sport) was unveiled to a mixed response. The design team at Wieden + Kennedy London, led by Richard Turley, insisted there was more to come.
What you were watching:
OKGO are a band that is better loved for their inventive videos rather than their music. They returned with a new number this month and, inevitably, a promo video that was better than the song. The band also recycled all the paper they used.
Uncle Ginger explored bipolar disorder in a TedEd animation which beautifully conveyed its message using hypnotic shapes.
David Shrigley’s all time Nottingham Forest XI
This month It’s Nice That travelled down to Brighton to see Whitehawk FC play Dartford in the football. We were accompanied by the artist David Shrigley and spent an afternoon learning about his lifelong passion for football, and we chatted a bit about art. David is a lifelong Nottingham Forest Fan so we asked him to name his all time best starting XI for the club.
We would probably have a few players out of position in midfield, but never mind…
Peter Shilton (1977-82)
Viv Anderson MBE (1974-84)
Michael Dawson (2001-2005)
Des Walker (1984-92)
Stuart Pearce MBE (1985-97)
Andy Reid (2000-2005)
“You have to have Andy Reid; he was fantastic”
John Robertson (1970-1983)
Jermaine Jenas (2001-2) (2012-13 loan)
“He was just fantastic for us”
Johannes Antonius Bernadus “Jonny” Metgod (1984-87)
“He was pretty amazing. He could take an amazing free kick."
Stan Collymore (1993-1995)
“He was probably the best”
Marlon Harewood (1996-2003)
“Pierre Van Hooijdonk was probably one of the best we had, but we hate him because he went on strike and refused to play. So fuck him. Marlon Harewood is one of my favourite players of the last 20 years. He was one of those guys, that came through the use ranks. He was very talented but inconsistent. Then one game against Palace he played an absolute blinder, and we all realised he was good. and he was great. Then we got in financial trouble and had to sell him to West Ham. He did well for West Ham and always scored against us.”
Manager. “Joe Kinnear. (laughs) Ron Atkinson (laughs harder) Ok, so it has to be God: Brian Clough.”
Over in New York, we spoke to Paula Scher, the trailblazing partner at Pentagram about her career and life. The interview coincided with the publication of an epic monograph of her work by Unit Editions and and her starring role in an episode of Abstract, the Netflix series about design and inspiration.
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On the site
Eric Olander unveiled his project Craigslist Mirrors. His four-year journey of finding images of people selling mirrors on the website culminated in a compelling glimpse of the second lives of reflective surfaces.
Milan-based photographer Bea de Giacomo published her project Linea Alba a sensative exploration of pregnancy. “Here, maternity has an objective, sculptural, suspended presence, at the limit between the set of an advertising spot and the mystery of life,” says the artist.
Huburtus Design had the unenviable task of designing a book that celebrated The Most Beautiful Swiss Books – a brief that is as meta as it is daunting.
We took Millennial Pink to task
“Millennial Pink has to go.” So started an article by Riposte founder and editor Danielle Pender that we published this month. We still think it’s great, and hope that it signals the death of the colour.
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The legacy of “’The King”
Photographer Hayley Louisa Brown travelled to Memphis earlier in the year to visit the home of Elvis Aaron Presley. While there, she visited a number of Elvis conventions and her photos were compiled into a book and exhibition called Children of Graceland. Here, we share some images of the great work and Hayley has very kindly compiled a mixtape of her favourite Elvis songs and covers. Long live the King!
I missed my cousin Lily’s wedding last year because I was in Memphis, and this was the song they had for their first dance. So every time they played it whilst I was away, it made me think of her and her husband Alex.
I love how well Elvis songs translate to punk. This live version is so good, Jello wearing a cardigan and dancing really makes light of a song which I feel is taken way too seriously in the original version. This one is so fun.
Another great punk cover. The Saints are Australian but this has a real New York punk feel to it. The original of this track is totally forgettable, like the movie of the same name that he starred in, but this one is kinda badass.
I’m not a huge fan of Elvis’s music, but this is my favourite song of his. I read Leiber and Stoller’s autobiography (called Hound Dog) a few years ago, and I first heard this song as a result of them talking about the writing process for it. I love the minimal accompaniment and the range of Elvis’s voice. It sounds so classic.
This one is timeless too, the echoes and the messiness are so endearing. I visited Sun Studios when I was in Memphis and there was a huge storm outside whilst we were on the tour, the lights went out and we were stuck in there until it passed. It hasn’t changed since this song was recorded there either, when it started raining outside, I was taking a photograph by the window and they told me to get away because the cables electrocute people when it’s stormy out. So I guess the electrics are the same, too.
He sings the first verse, changes ‘do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?’ to ‘do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair?’ and spends the rest of the track cracking up whilst his backing singer remains pitch perfect and continues as if nothing is going on.
Some of my favourite songs by The Smiths & Morrissey are covers, particularly the version of Jeane by Billy Bragg and Morrissey’s version of Patti Smith’s Redondo Beach. This live Elvis cover, and the way it seamlessly blends into their own song Rusholme Ruffians, is another example of them totally taking ownership of someone else’s song and making it sound like they wrote it.
They play this one every hour, at least, at Graceland. It’s like the unofficial Elvis Presley anthem. I particularly like the video of this from his 1968 comeback special. The visual of him in the white suit, standing in front of those huge red letters spelling out his name is so striking. The whole thing is quite captivating, whether or not you’re a fan.
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About the Author
Owen joined It’s Nice That as Editor in November of 2015 leading and overseeing all editorial content across online, print and the events programme, before leaving in early 2018.