Big Issue Vendor

The people of Norwich miss Big Issue vendor Simon’s hearty laugh

Simon and his customer Mary are the stars of the latest edition of The Big Miss You Podcast

Norwich is the setting for the latest edition of The Big Miss You Podcast – out today – and vendor Simon Gravell says it’s the “the nicest place in England to sell the magazine”.

In more normal times, Simon sells The Big Issue outside Topshop and is a fixture of the city, known for his flamboyant jester’s hat.

His regular customer, Mary Benefiel Dunn, contacted The Big Issue to let us know that since the current lockdown started, she has been missing Simon and his ability to cheer her up with his hearty laugh.

“Everybody loves Simon,” Mary tells the podcast. “I look forward to bumping into him and it always cheers me up.”

Simon slept rough for seven years, bringing his tent all over England, before settling in Norwich.

His positivity is remarkable. “I’m not going to tell you how bad my life’s been, I’m going to tell you how great I want it to be,” he says.

This week’s podcast is also visited by comedian and polymath Robin Ince, who explains what Big Issue vendors mean to him as a “professionally nomadic” gigging performer.

“All the vendors I’ve met have so many stories,” says Robin. “Anyone who isn’t getting The Big Issue every week – you’re missing out.”

To keep our vendors safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, The Big Issue cannot be sold on the streets right now. You can find out more about how you can subscribe, and continue to support the magazine here.

The Big Miss You Podcast is our way of celebrating the personal connections between vendors and readers of The Big Issue, while they are unable to meet in person.

The Big Miss You Podcast comes out every Thursday and is available through Apple, Google, Spotify and all good podcast providers. It is produced by Laura Kelly, with additional reporting by Liam Geraghty.

If you would like to send a message through the podcast, please get in touch at