Colin, Manchester Oxford Road and Home

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How’s life Colin?
It’s not too bad at the moment. I’ve got a few health problems but I’m getting through it. I’ve been diagnosed with type two diabetes, so I’m on tablets and there are certain things I can’t eat, like curries, which I love. And I need to eat lots of fresh veg and start looking after myself really. I’ve got to cut down on my drinking too. Once a week now. That’s it. I can do it though. 

How old are you?
I turned 50 last September. The staff at Home, the theatre where one of my pitches is, held a party for me. It was really good. 

Do you still like selling the magazine?
Yes. I like getting out and meeting people. And I’m always giving people directions from my pitch, and sometimes they’ll come and say thank you and buy a magazine. I’m the tour guide to Manchester, me.

Where are you living now?
I’m still living in a flat but I’ve had a few problems. A couple of weeks ago I had a letter through the post saying that they were commencing court proceedings for eviction because they said I was £226 in arrears. I called them up on the Monday and I questioned it. In the end it turned out I only owed £83. Apparently it was a problem with the computer and it sent the letter out automatically. I was really stressed out over that for the whole weekend. I’ve started paying off those arrears with the money I make selling the magazine.

Have you seen more begging in Manchester lately?
Yes. There’s been quite a lot of begging, even near my pitch. There’s a lot of drugs around at the moment. I don’t get any trouble though – I keep myself to myself. I’ve talked to some of the beggars and said to them why don’t you come and sell the magazine instead, but I think it’s their lifestyle, isn’t it? If they want to beg, they want to beg.

What do you hope for in the future?
Well, I’ve just been in touch with my dad who I haven’t seen since 2010. He lives in Birmingham and I’ve been missing him
and I would like to go and speak to him and sort things out. I’m hoping it will go well. 

What was your childhood like?
It was quite hard. My dad left home when I was six or seven and my mum was ill a lot when I was a kid. She left me with these people to look after me when she was in hospital and I didn’t like them. There was one night they had fish and this woman, I don’t think she liked me, took the head off the fish and put that on the plate and said: “Eat that.” That’s all she would give me. I used to run away from them. Then my mum died when I was 11. I think that all had a big effect on me.

You took part in Manchester Day a couple of weeks ago. How did that go?
It was brilliant. I really enjoyed it. I saw a lot of my friends and customers on the route. It’s about time I did something like this. The public loved it.  

Do you have a message for your customers?
I just want to say thank you and keep supporting us.

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