The Big Issue : Edition 548
BRAND NEW DAY PHOTOBYLOUISEHAYWOOD-SCHIEFER describes himself as more addicted, more narcissistic, more driven by lust and the need for power and recognition than most people. And revels in the admission. “I don’t feel like I’ve exposed anything. Sometimes I think the choices are vulnerability or ignorance. The exposure offers the opportunity for connection. Me and those vendors connect because when I came into the room I said, ‘The reason I’m an addict is because when I was a kid I felt worthless and I can return to that feeling of worthlessness in a moment if I’m not careful’. For me that’s not weak to say that. It’s honest, and honesty is a value – it’s a strength.” This year Brand married Laura Gallacher (he divorced Katy Perry in 2012), and is now a dad to 11-month-old Mabel. In Recovery he writes about her birth in a way that touchingly parallels his own kind of rebirth. “It’s made me realise that you can’t spend your time wrapped up in yourself and what you want because now there’s this little baby,” he says to me, animatedly. “Watching my daughter deal with the survival instinct – ‘feed me, pay attention to me’ – it’s fascinating. Not to mention what it’s doing to my heart – I can feel new territories of love open up just by her smile. “My daughter is just romping towards me right now,” he says suddenly. There’s pure delight in his voice, and across the crackly line I can hear Mabel’s happy babble. But just when I think I’ve lost him, he offers a parting gem for the vendors of The Big Issue: “They are on the frontline in every way and I admire their bravery. I hope I can support them in the way they support me.” » Anastasia Safioleas (@Anast) is a contributing editor of The Big Issue. » Recovery is out now. Turn the page to read about Brand’s chat with Big Issue vendors.