This is Christmas

Issue 1081

This is Christmas

In this week’s Big Issue…

What a cover! If this doesn’t lift your spirits, you’re a hardhearted swine. We’ve been running a competition for a number of months, with the support of our good friends at FirstNews, inviting under-16s to design the cover for one of The Big Issue Christmas editions. We were overwhelmed, happily, by the volume of entries. After a very tough day going through them, we settled on Dylan Allman’s picture. It knocked our socks off. Dylan said he wanted to make his local vendor, in Haverfordwest, smile. We’ve got dozens of the best of the rest – in fact as many as we could fit – in this mag too.

There is so much packed into this edition that I’ll be as brief as I can…

We have a great interview with Dolly Parton. She details her working week. It’s not quite nine to five (sorry about that one…) She recently dressed in fancy dress, she says. As Dolly Parton, a scary Dolly Parton. A funny and poignant piece.

Our Letter To My Younger Self is with the iconic Manic Street Preacher, Nicky Wire. It’s a belter. A big influence on contemporary music, he talks loyalty, Morrissey, Ever Decreasing Circles, Richey and the moment he’d most like to go back to.

Stuck wondering what books to get sons/daughters/nieces/nephews/grandkids for Christmas? Fear no more. We gathered as many of the kids books published in Britain this year as we could, put them all in a room in the wonderful surrounds of Motherwell library, got children from every class of Cathedral Primary School in the town and told them to choose their favourites. Find out what the kids really like and ease your Christmas problems. is the best new website of 2013. A simple idea, it is a place for people to fondly remember (or otherwise) their fathers. Ted Kessler, the man who started it, writes a piece explaining why this kind of nostalgia has currency. Go and check out the site, if you haven’t already.

John Bird’s column this week tackles the handout culture, and explains why the hand-up not hand out ethos of The Big Issue is more important than ever.

Brendan O’Neill, meanwhile, gets stuck into the ‘neurobollocks’ ideas that we’re hardwired to behave in certain idea.

Elsewhere, we have vendor Eddie Wisker from Cambridge from Stoke Newington. Marriage break-up last year lead him to homelessness, but he’s working like billy-o to get the money together to pull himself out.

We also have stories of vendors moving on – the successes they have scored and what their plans are. We have Michelle Dockery explaining what she’ll be doing on Christmas day. There is much else.

Incidentally, news of Nelson Mandela’s death broke after we went to print, in case you thought the lack of any mention was curious.

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