We haven’t seen you on your pitch for a long time. What happened?
I have had a bit of a difficult time lately. I was sleeping rough again at the beginning of this year and then, around March, I got a new flat. But because of that, buying furniture, paying bills and things like that, I ended up broke. I couldn’t even afford to buy copies of the magazine to sell.
And what happened then?
Someone from Big Issue North sought me out and gave me help to get me going again and I’ve managed to build things up from then again. He saved the day really. I was away for about eight or nine months, and I started back on Big Issue North about a month ago.
How does it feel to be back?
It feels great to be back. A lot of my regular customers are happy that I am back. I got a lot of feedback when I returned. I want to thank a lot of people for helping me through the last couple of months. It means a lot. They are nice people around here. They care and they are genuine. In a way I felt like I let them down as well as I let myself down.
Because I was begging for a while and that’s not me. I was desperate, I suppose. I was begging near my old pitch and people were asking me what I was doing and I know people contacted the office about me because they were worried. I just got stuck in a rut and it was hard to get myself out of it but thanks to the Big Issue North office I managed to sort myself out. It feels great to be selling the magazine again, a lot better. It’s a pride thing. I understand why people beg, but I prefer not to.
Where are you living now?
I’ve been on and off the streets for the last few years. But now I am in a council flat and so things will hopefully get a lot better. When you get into a place, money is the biggest problem. Even for people who are working it can be a problem – just having enough every week to budget and keep things going.
If you could have any wish granted, what would it be?
To have a week’s holiday abroad. I haven’t been abroad for years and I used to love doing that. I’ve been to Spain and France mainly. I have been selling the magazine on and off since 2004 and I have not had a holiday in all that time.
Where would you go?
I would like to go to Berlin. I think I’d like it there. There’s a lot of history and I like reading history. It just seems like a nice place. I know it’s changed a lot since the dark days of the war.
Do you ever get bored of selling the magazine?
I’m like everyone else. I do get bored of it sometimes but, like any other job, you have just got to turn up and do the work. If you don’t, you don’t live. And I’m so glad to be back here. It’s better to be stood up than sat down.