Big Issue Vendor

Tony Mortimer: “Stay Another Day is about my brother’s suicide”

East 17's Tony Mortimer reveals the real meaning behind their Christmas hit

“I feel so reflective around this time of year, about life in general. I think Christmas is a time for that. I make sure none of my family are alone. If it’s their choice then fine, but if not then I’ll make sure to go and look after them.

“My kids are grown up now, and at times I even reflect on years gone by with them. I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year.

“I think we still get our values pretty much right at Christmas. You’ll always get the Scrooges that hate Christmas, but they are the minority. We enjoy the shopping, the lights, everything about it.

“My Christmas definitely doesn’t revolve around The X Factor – I don’t watch it. I don’t think that’s part of Christmas – they’d love it to be part of Christmas, but it’s not. I think that show is just a blip in the mix. It’ll be around for another year or two, then it’ll go away.

There was a time when that song just didn’t go away, it was a nightmare

“Christmas is a chance for relaxing and winding down from work. And concentrating on your family and trying to get that bond going. It takes work to keep a family happy, and I think Christmas is that time. When the kids were young we used to go away on holiday, but now we just spend time chilling out at home. As you get older, time together becomes rare.

“I got over hearing Stay Another Day all the time at Christmas – I’ve accepted that. There was a time when that song just didn’t go away, it was a nightmare. Now I’ve got over it.

“It’s so odd that it’s a Christmas song. I wrote it about my brother’s suicide – so it’s about the end of a relationship, and missing someone. That’s what it’s based on, and I think people like that. It might have been a hit because people felt sorry for me or whatever, but it’s also a very nostalgic song for Christmas, for looking back over the year and times gone by.


There are currently around 2,000 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.

“I don’t know why it’s as big as it is, but I’m so grateful – my god am I grateful. I could have ended up like so many other stars that squandered their money.

“Doritos! I really wanted to do the Doritos advert. I wanted to lighten it up a bit, because it’s a bit of a sad song, and I wanted to put a fun tone to it. I thought, ‘Yeah, let’s do this, let’s take the piss out of myself a bit.’ It’s therapeutic, and I enjoy Christmas a lot more now since I’ve done it. I love Doritos anyway.”

“I did ask them for free Doritos – ‘Instead of paying me money, pay me in free Doritos for the rest of my life, that way I know I’ll never be hungry!’ But my manager was like, ‘No, let’s get an advance.’ He won.”

East 17 Stay Another Day video