Your vendor needs you…

Issue 1086

Your vendor needs you…

In this week’s Big Issue…

It’s the final push. Several months ago we launched a competition inviting readers to design a mobile shelter for vendors. The responses have been staggeringly good and inventive. We carry some this week and one of our judges, everybody’s favourite TV architect Gentleman George Clarke, invites anybody who hasn’t entered yet to get their skates on. We close at the beginning of February.

Keeping a vendor focus, we cover the memorial event held in Birmingham for Ian Watson-Gladwish and Wayne Busst, our vendors so brutally slain on the city streets one year ago last weekend. Ollie Bains, a vendor in Birmingham, writes in memory of his friends and explains why he decided to carry on working selling the magazine.

And more, of course…

Our Letter To My Younger Self is with soul legend Bobby Womack. Yes it is. Bobby details early days, what brought him to write Across 110th Street, and what Sam Cooke told him about the benefits of staying in motels. Worth diving into.

The death of Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street has already brought much discussion on assisted suicide. Eamonn Forde, in a bravura piece, explains that the great drama and heart at the core of Corrie is something of worth that we should all salute.

John Bird looks to another street that is driving national conversation – Benefits Street. He considers how that show illustrates difficult truths about the benefits system, and also how fashion and poverty have moulded ideologies at different times.

Rachel Johnson, meanwhile, struggles with going dry in January and wonders what all this abstinence will really mean anyway come the end of days.

The coveted Big Issue My Week slot is taken by ballet superstar Fernando Montaño, the Colombian Billy Elliot. From real poverty, via a dance scholarship in Cuba to the Royal Opera House with Vivienne Westwood as his mentor. Now that’s a story.

Elsewhere, our vendor Angus Stirling in Edinburgh, a scholar of Scandinavian languages, explains why he’s writing an English language course for our Roma vendors, James Purefoy talks serial kilers, and author Hannah Michell looks at North Korea from the other way round.

If you’d like to subscribe to The Big Issue, or if you wish to buy a copy but can’t locate a vendor, email

The Big Issue

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