The Big Issue : Edition 542
8 THEBIGISSUE28JUL–10AUG2017 I APPRECIATE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO APOLOGISE TO THE MEMBERS OF BAFTA FOR INFLICTING ON THEM THE MOST ATROCIOUS COCKNEY ACCENT IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA. Actor Dick Van Dyke, 91, apologises for his cockney accent more than half a century after his role as chimney sweep Bert in Mary Poppins. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is giving Dyke an award for excellence. – The Guardian (UK) “Why are you wearing brown? Why did you pick that? Of all the colours in the world, why did you choose the colour of poo?” A young boy critiques his dad’s choice of business suit. Overheard while walking to work, by Anne of Lindfield, NSW. EAR2GROUND PHOTOBYGETTY RETURN TO VENDOR WRITER AMY HETHERINGTON » PHOTOGRAPHER PETER HOLCROFT MICHAEL I’ve been selling The Big Issue for one year now. Oh, it makes me very happy. I have hundreds of wonderful customers, and sometimes the money just pours in my hand like water. Shaizy is one of my best customers, she is a wonderful person. She likes talking all the time. We talk about everything – the weather, how the weekend’s going, and she sometimes buys me a coffee or food. She works at Bridge Housing. They used to buy a subscription, but now I go to their office instead, sell the magazine and chat to them individually. I’ve got a huge customer base. I’m very popular in my area. The police all buy, the Salvation Army, Red Kite, hundreds of different charities, the cafes. I probably know half of Redfern. I’m so popular I can probably run for the council now... I’m not joking! The Big Issue is important because it helps people. It’s given me a job. I like work, I’m a workaholic. I usually work in my area six days a week. Plus, I get to know customers, and I help many people; when I’m not on the job, I take them to Centrelink, to The Big Issue if they need a job, to the social worker... I take them wherever they need to go. M ICHAEL BRINGS A BIT OF SUNSHINE TO REDFERN, SAYS HIS REGULAR CUSTOMER SHAIZY. SHAIZY I volunteer at a charity that provides home-cooked Indian food to homeless people, called Guru Nanak Free Kitchenette Sydney. It’s run by Mum and Dad. That’s how I came across Michael, just chatting to him, seeing if he wants to attend one of the food drives, and I saw he was selling The Big Issue. I wasn’t really sure how The Big Issue operates, so I looked it up on the website and saw that homeless people actually make a living out of this, which for me was: “Wow, this is amazing, because it’s actually empowering them and giving them a way to come back on their feet.” So I spoke to my boss at Bridge Housing, and instead of subscribing, we started buying The Big Issue directly off Michael. He comes up and speaks to the staff. We talk about his place, about the plants that he grows outside his window. I encourage him to grow plants he can eat, like herbs and stuff, but he likes looking at nice flowers, carnations. He’s a happy guy, I think he tries to be very nice and happy to everyone else. Even though he might not be having the best day, he’ll always say “I’ve been good, I wish you a great day, too, Shaizy” and he has a big grin on his face.