News

Matty's Story

First of all, I would really like to say a massive thank you to all the wonderful people who have bought the Big Issue from me in the last month or two, and of course the amazing volunteers who work in the office in Bath.

My name is Matty James and I am an artist, musician, writer, actor, dancer and a wannabe film-maker.

I sold the Big Issue back in the early 1990’s and the Vendor Support Fund gave me £250 to buy my first electric kiln – I never mentioned before that my actual trade is a potter and ceramic artist. I guess I am a really lucky person as I have been gifted with lots of talents, anyone can become homeless though, and I am grateful to landlords Mr and Mrs Bell who let me live in their property in Frome, Somerset. They did tell me it would only be for a year, and I was fortunate to have a good friend who let me live in one of his caravans. I had been very ill for a long while and had lived on sickness benefits; I also claimed housing benefits too. Most people in Frome know me as the town busker, I did shut myself away from the world though and broadcast my music on Google+ hangouts and YouTube live.

Since becoming homeless all my laptops have died on me due to the cold and damp and lack of power. Selling the Big Issue has got me back into the real world again where I have been talking to people about my film-making projects all about street life in the City of Bath. I have got to meet many of the people who sleep rough and all the people who work in the streets including street musicians, traders, beggars, and of course all of the amazing Big Issue Vendors.

It is not easy to sell the Big Issue, you have to be in a really good mood to do so, and this can be near on impossible if it is pouring down with rain and hard when people ignore you. I wanted to sell the Big Issue part-time though as my music is very important. I have a massive following on Google+ of nearly 80,000 followers and I set up many websites and communities including the U.K music community. I have had a large break from the World Wide Web and I have used the computer in Julian House in Manvers Street which is my c/o address. I sometimes shower there too, and I am ever so grateful to the Genesis Trust and the Lifeline centre where I now go to music group on Thursday afternoons. There are so many great volunteers and workers who do so much, and when I write on many of my blogs and websites, I’ll be sure to mention their great work. I also have about 20 YouTube pages through which I hope to soon be showing my videos to the world.

I have applied for a grant from the Vendors Support Fund and I was successful, all I need to do is give them a small percentage of what it costs. A special thanks to Lucy, a volunteer in the Bath office, who has made it possible as she has done the paperwork for me to get a power pack so I can power up my music amps, laptop and also L.E.D. lighting as I am writing this under candlelight which for me is near on impossible as my eyesight is not so good.

So hopefully soon the people of Bath will see more of me playing music and less of me selling magazines, and to tell the truth I will miss all the wonderful people who have took time out to listen to my stories as one day I hope to concentrate on writing film scripts and also make more music. I won’t say any more except I want to be the one helping others with my time and hopefully with my money. You really don’t know what will happen in life, all I want is my time to come. Please wish me luck and thanks to all who buy the Big Issue magazine.

National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

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