As Britain adjusts to the reality of Brexit, this week John Bird reminds us why The Big Issue was so important in giving European migrants with no means of making a living a legitimate, structured way to earn a living when the government abandoned them – and how we saved the authorities a load of hassle and money in the process. We did it before Brexit, and we’ll continue to do it in the future to come, he says.
Our cover star Joanna Lumley knows a thing or two about surviving hard times. In her Letter to my Younger Self she reveals life wasn’t always Absolutely Fabulous – as a young mum, struggling for work, she had desperate days trying to keep food on the table and clothe her infant son. But at 70 she is full of optimism, wise words and experience that can inspire us all.
Reggie Yates is a young man with a world of experience too. From a child TV star in Grange Hill, via Radio 1 and The Voice, after 25 years in broadcasting he is now an accomplished filmmaker dedicated to telling the stories that others overlook. He takes us inside a Texan jail, and finds that mental health problems and prison are a toxic mix that nobody is facing up to.
We have A Different View which sheds shocking light on the cost of keeping homeless people in hostels – it’s a revealing, brutally honest insider piece, which raises many questions that we will continue to investigate in weeks to come.
Paul-Ronney Angel is another survivor with wisdom to impart – frontman of flamboyant rock ‘n’ roll band The Urban Voodoo Machine, he thanks The Big Issue for helping him find his voice when he sold the magazine in London.
And we have an insightful photo essay on life in Calais Jungle – look closely and you’ll see the books that the camp’s ‘Jungle Books’ library lends to its residents. The small details of life that this feature reveals are fascinating, and shocking.
Elsewhere we have:
-Robin Ince singing the praises of Radio 3’s eclectic Late Junction;
-Actor Craig Roberts, star of Submarine and Being Human, explains why the class system is killing British films;
-Well known from TV and radio, Dr Stuart Flanagan explains the Zika virus, and why we should all – like Rory McIlroy – take precautions to avoid it.
-Pause this week is how to forgive, and explains the health benefits that scientists now know we can gain from forgiveness;
-And the glories of Northern Soul and how it shaped working-class British pop culture are celebrated by broadcaster and author Stuart Cosgrove.
My Pitch features vendor Michael Williams, in Bangor, explaining how the customers and friends he’s made through selling The Big Issue brought him back from the brink. Now, through Bangor Cathedral, he’s found faith and wants to give back to his community.
Competition goodies this week are Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on DVD, and BBC dramas Moving On.
Please note this edition is no longer on sale with Big Issue vendors and so is classed as a 'back issue'. All back issues are priced at £4 per copy plus P&P