• The rise of Red Ed. What next for Sheeran, superstar of the austerity generation?

The rise of Red Ed. What next for Sheeran, superstar of the austerity generation?

Issue 1152

The rise of Red Ed. What next for Sheeran, superstar of the austerity generation?

In this issue…As the hour gets close, we talk to Red Ed. Sheeran is a curious pin-up, and a very modern one. Not so much sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll, now is the age of conservative approaches and fiscal responsibly for young pop stars. Ed, who scuffed around homelessness, looks at what carried him to the top, and what may lie ahead – massive Wembley Stadium shows, for one thing.

He’s cover-star in the week of our summer festivals guide. Everything you need to know about outdoor festivities through the season is here. The new breed will probably keep the noise down and tidy up after themselves…

Our Letter to My Younger Self is with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, formerly head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Given that big role, he says, amongst other things, that he wishes he had been more broadminded.

Two great pieces of writing from John Bird and Samira Ahmed, both celebrating big British talents using comedy to illuminate bigger truths.

John celebrates Al Murray and his cracking book Let’s Re-Great Britain. As Murray’s Pub Landlord alter-ego takes on Nigel Farage in south Thanet, John details why “this serious, liberally minded comic means business.”

Samira looks to Jonathan Pryce and how his recent performance as Shylock speaks to “some of the worst atrocities of modern times.”

Vicky Carroll talks to Jade McQueen, beauty queen. Jade will be competing in Miss England later this year. As a child, she went through homelessness, living in a hostel with her mum and brother. She’s lifted herself up and out, but when she went to try and help a rough sleeper recently, the reaction from the public left her stunned.

Our featured vendor this week is Simon Bradley, who works by Birmingham New Street Station. His life spiralled just a year ago. He went from having a home, an office job and a partner to being on the street. The Big Issue, he says, has been his chance to get himself going again.

Also, with nobody shedding tears over Wonga’s recent financial heartache, Jack Peat wonders where the new leaders of last resort will appear from, and whether they’ll be better or worst. Take a look too at Melissa Harrison’s piece on searching out curious memorials to lives lived – to “the dignity of all our human triumphs and tragedies.”