Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell is candid about his encounters with street life as a young man.
“My personal experience with homelessness was very real in terms of knowing a lot of people that were on the streets,” he says, speaking over the phone after parking his bike by the riverside near his home in the Basque Country. “When I was a teenager – it’s been well publicised – I was a heroin addict.
“Anyone who knows about scoring heroin, you’re going to end up interacting a lot with people who are down and out, who are on the fringes of society within the city. That was when I first encountered The Big Issue as something that existed to try and help those communities of people out.”
He’s no stranger to supporting The Big Issue, having busked in support of the social enterprise in 2011. Now Borrell and Razorlight are back, playing a special one off show with Muse on May 10 to raise money and awareness around the issue of homelessness.
“When you get to know a lot of people through using heroin, you get to hear the stories people had and the shit they’ve been through, and everyone who’s a junkie as a teenager has been through some shit as a kid, otherwise they’d be playing football in the park with their mates. But The Big Issue made that real to everyone, and any organisation that’s doing work like that will have my support.
“Homelessness is a particularly weird thing for people, because it’s like there’s this sort of collective blind spot to it. But it’s just there every day.”