Derek Clarke, 39, outside Waterstones, The Hayes, Cardiff
“I split up with my girlfriend and that hit me hard. I lost my job, and my flat”
I’ve been selling the magazine here for the past year. It’s been going really well, especially over Christmas. I’ve got lots of customers I speak to here in Cardiff and they keep me going. People might not realise it, but even if they don’t buy the magazine, just saying hello and having a little chat is a big thing.
I actually used to sell the magazine when I was homeless in the city many years ago, and it helped me get myself together and off the streets. I had moved on from it and I’d been doing well – had a job as a care nurse, had a nice play to stay.
Selling the magazine has given me a sense of stability, and helped in getting my self-esteem back
Then a couple of years ago, I split up with my girlfriend and that hit me hard. I lost my flat, my job. And I was back to square one.
But selling the magazine has given me some money, some sense of stability again, and it’s helped me get my self-esteem back because I’m working for myself. It’s been a massive boost, and I’m determined to make it work for me again.
I’m originally from Dublin but I left about 20 years ago when my mum passed away. I packed my bags and came to London. I stuck it out for a few years there, but London wasn’t really my kettle of fish.
Cardiff has been home since then – it’s a bit like Dublin, a good-sized city with friendly people. I like going for walks along Cardiff Bay, but it’s the buzz and the atmosphere of the city centre – the people, and the buskers always playing music – that I love.
Cardiff is a bit like Dublin, a good-sized city with friendly people
I am a big fan of music – all the guitar bands of the Sixties and Seventies and the singer-songwriters like Nick Drake, Neil Young, Nick Cave. My other great love is boxing. I used to box back in Dublin – at the St Dominic Savio club. I started when I was about nine or 10 and carried on until I was 17. I got a bash to the eye socket and had to give it up. Otherwise I might have gone on to do it professionally.
You never can control what happens in life. But you can get back up and try again when things go wrong. So that’s what I’m doing – hoping 2018 will bring better things and I can get myself sorted again.
My favourite album… Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison. The fact it was recorded in prison makes it a special album by one of the true greats.
My favourite boxer… Floyd Mayweather Jr. He’s one of the great boxing champions – he retired undefeated and he always had a touch of class about him.
On my pitch… I’m here outside Waterstones, Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm.
Waterstones, The Hayes, Cardiff, United Kingdom