How old are you?
I am 57 years old and Pappi is one year old.
Where are you from?
I am from Romania. I came over to the UK years ago but I have been back and forth to Romania. When I have money I stay here. It can be difficult to sell the magazine. I have had problems before with people who have tried to stop me selling. One time, in Manchester, a man came up to me on my pitch and he said to me that I had to move on. I said: “Why? I am poor like you.” And this man hit me in the face. He was an aggressive man. But I am normal. I must protect myself. So I punched him back. When I was younger, I used to be a boxer. So this man didn’t hit me again, although I got into trouble for hitting him. I am a Christian. I am a good man. I do not like trouble. I have respect for people. I am trying to sell again now, and hopefully I will not have problems.
How long have you sold the magazine for?
I have been selling again for six months. I like it when I have contact with the people, when
I have conversations. I like speaking English. I like English people. I like England.
Why do you like England so much?
I came here because I like the English language. I like Elvis Presley. When I was young, I always wanted to go to Memphis, to Elvis’s home, Graceland. He is my idol. He is a superstar. I used to buy the same clothes as him and I used to have my hair like his. Many years ago I tried to go to America with three friends but I had no money, no transport, no visa, so I could not go. I was arrested for trying and I was in jail for a year. I cannot get to America but at least I can live in England.
Did you have a job in Romania?
I used to own a business in Romania. I used to have a lot of money. I had five houses. But when I was 31, I went to Germany for a year and my mother made big problems for me. While I was away she and my stepfather sold my businesses. They sold my homes. They took everything and I was left with nothing.
Where do you live now?
I stay in a bedroom in a shared house.
Are you happy?
I am not happy. I am alone. I tried to find an English woman for a girlfriend. But it is difficult. I think there is no chance. I go to church every Sunday and I spoke to someone there and asked them to put a personal ad in the paper for me. It says: “I am Gregory and I hope to find a beautiful lady.”
Tell us about Pappi.
I love animals. I bought Pappi in Romania when he was only two months old. He came with me from there. He has his own passport. He is my family. He gives me love.