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JANUARY 9-15, 2017 NO.1238
A Big Issue tribute
'He understood the broken and the
defeated, trying to get back on their feet?
John Bird
Plus A C L A S S I C I N T E R V I E W
25 NOV ? 14 JAN
020 7922 2922 YOUNGVIC.ORG
EST. 1991
Hello, my name
JANUARY 9-15 2017
NO. 1238
WE BELIEVE in a hand up, not a handout...
Which is why our sellers BUY every copy of the
magazine for �25 and sell it for �50.
WE BELIEVE in trade, not aid?
Which is why we ask you to ALWAYS take your
copy of the magazine. Our sellers are working
and need your custom.
WE BELIEVE poverty is indiscriminate?
Which is why we provide ANYONE whose life
is blighted by poverty with the opportunity to
earn a LEGITIMATE income.
Photo: Travis Hodges
WE BELIEVE in the right to citizenship?
Which is why The Big Issue Foundation, our
charitable arm, helps sellers tackle social and
?nancial exclusion.
WE BELIEVE in prevention?
Which is why Big Issue Invest offers backing
and investments to social enterprises, charities
and businesses which deliver social value
to communities.
I started selling The Big IIssue after I lost
my construction job. It?ss given me a sense
of purpose and a pattern
n to my day. I like
mpse of what life
London, I?ve had a glim
could be like in this ccity and if I can
build a life herre I?d like to ?nd a
nice spot to go ?shing, relax
and listen to the birds. So I?ll
orking hard and see
keep wo
what life brings me. Read
more on page 46.
Samira Ahmed
The art of juggling
Kris Marshall
The gift of memory
Big Issue friend remembered
BOOKS OF 2017 32
THE BIG ISSUE / p3 / January 9-15 2017
Write to: The Big Issue, Second Floor, 43 Bath St, Glasgow, G2 1HW
Email: Comment:
The facts of the matter
A preference for unsupported statements
rather than facts seems to be creeping into
your letters page [December 12-18].
First, Trevor Springthorpe says: ?Blair was
going to mend the broken NHS?, and implies
he did nothing. Not a complete solution maybe
but waiting lists were 1.5 million in 1997, yet
near zero in 2008. Health spending went up
from ?ve per cent GDP to seven per cent.
Second, Lynne Reece says: ?Europe has
been an economic mess for a long time and
opening the ?oodgates to all and sundry was
bound to end in disaster.? In fact, EU growth
has averaged 1.7 per cent over the 20 years
from 1996-2016. The latest growth ?gure for
2016 is slightly higher, at 1.9 per cent. Also,
nearly half the immigrants to the UK come
Border dispute
I read with interest the
interview with Nicola Sturgeon
[December 12-18]. It?s laughable
that she insists that ?we must
have the courage to stand up
to the intolerant attitudes
sheltering under concerns
about austerity or inequality?.
I suggest she begins by dealing
with that problem on her own
doorstep. Having lived in
Scotland, I can tell you that
intolerant attitudes are still
rife. Anti-English racism,
in particular, is outdated
and damaging.
June Gowland
(half Scottish, half English)
Lots of luv n licks after met Paul
@BigIssue seller with Titch in
Dawlish ? we all liked Paul lots
from outside the EU. If jobs here were not
?lled by Europeans, the UK would have
to allow increased immigration from the
rest of the world to ?ll those jobs or else see its
economy stutter.
Unproven statements like these are what
lead people to decide that nothing is working,
so it?s time to give up on established ?gures. A
more thought-through approach soon shows
that some politicians and parties are less cruel
and more concerned about equality than
others; and some policies are working despite
what those who oppose them dogmatically
pretend. We need clear vision and access to
undistorted information to ?lter truth from
Stephen Bendle, Bath
Alan Cumming states that
America will have to take
responsibility for allowing a
huge swathe of its population to
be ?affected by jingoism and
propaganda? [December 12-18].
Should Scotland do the same?
The SNP has risen on a
wave of nationalist sentiment
which bears remarkable
similarities to the Trump
campaign. They have blamed
all Scotland?s problems on a
distant political elite, vili?ed
the media and promised an
economic miracle which
is unsustainable.
Andrew Gray, London
Beyond belief
I have a problem with
the assertion made by
Andrew H Smith on the letters
page in the Big Issue Christmas
Special [December 19-27].
In his letter he states that
?atheists and pagans are
peaceful...?. I can refute
that statement in six words:
Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Pol
Pot. Atheists are always quick
to point out the deaths and
misery which they claim are
caused by religions, but they
tend to forget the mass
murderers among their
Joseph Martinez, Brentford
Un-Pleasant Island
I very much enjoyed your
Big QI Quiz [December 12-18],
an intelligent affair with
mercifully no mention of
Strictly. However, when it came
to question three, on Nauru,
your answer avoided
mentioning the prime function
of that island today. Nauru, far
from being ?Pleasant Island?, is
now an ?offshore processing
facility? for the Australian
government to hold inde?nitely
any immigrant attempting to
reach that country. The
conditions under which these
people are kept are appalling
and have been condemned by
the UN, Amnesty and Human
Rights Watch, and the 450
detainees have no prospect of
being able to leave. This is sadly
what Nauru is now best known
for and many Australians are
ashamed of what their country
is doing there.
Paul Hughes-Smith, Chiswick
Vote of con?dence
I feel George Dunning
[Correspondence, December
5-11] is incorrect in likening
Corbyn?s history of voting
against his own party to
present-day Labour MPs not
supporting the leadership.
Corbyn has always voted in
THE BIG ISSUE / p4 / January 9-15 2017
Liked editorial
in @BigIssue
stressed importance of
taking time to look out for
people, notably those alone
or vulnerable.
Fascinating fact
from @qikipedia
@BigIssue: The highest point
of the Netherlands is Mount
Scenery on the Caribbean
island of Saba.
line with his values, never for
personal or political gain. This
is quite different from recent
times when MPs have not
supported him on issues such
as the Welfare Bill, where they
were voting against basic
Labour Party principles.
With regard to Mr Dunning?s
other point, perhaps the reason
Corbyn does not get stressed is
because he has no interest in
personal power or in?uence but
just continues campaigning for
the things he believes in.
Sally Hughes, email
I came to know one of your Big
Issue vendors in Neath, known
as Vic, over the last two years.
He was so friendly and would
even go out of his way to come
outside my church on Sunday if
I hadn?t seen him in the week.
For the last two Sundays I?d
been wondering where he?d
been, then someone told me
he?d sadly died. He had grown
his white beard for Christmas
and ironed his Father Christmas
suit. He was a lovely man, and all
us regulars miss him very much.
Olive, South Wales
Some positivity
with an intro to
@johanknorberg in the latest
@BigIssue #PositiveVibes
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Beat unintended
beyond. The law of unintended
consequences has meant that
one action ? trying to raise
capital by selling an asset ? has a
series of knock-ons. Ultimately,
the community will contract.
Similar incidents are happening across Britain as councils
scrabble around for the public
equivalent of cash down the back
of a sofa.
This leads to a feeling of
closed, or closing, communities
and an alienation from the very
councils who are supposed to
serve us. Also, there is a desire to
attribute blame. If the council
aren?t doing what they should,
and services are stretched to
breaking point, whose fault is it?
The outsiders? Those chancers
coming in taking advantage of
our generosity? This is a false
reality. Councils are struggling
and can no longer cope because
they don?t have money.
Ahead of us is a fight ? to
challenge an orthodoxy that says
there will be an inevitable
closure of services and hiving off
to private companies who are
not really concerned about local
communities. We need to find
ways to keep communities up
and bouncing as the walls close.
It might seem impossible but
there are ways. We must begin
by arming ourselves w ith
knowledge, by reading the small
print and getting right in front
of the plans that will ultimately
Discover who is responsible
for the small inequities that can
blight daily and hold them to
account. Question why plans
are being made. Isn?t there a
better, long-term, more sustainable way to raise money?
We can force positive change
if we stand up and make our
voices heard. Slowly, bit by bit,
every day.
Paul McNamee is The Big Issue editor
BSME British editor of the year, 2016
Government follows Big Issue Invest
lead in promoting money that does
good, and delivers return
s Brexit looms, competing voices continue
to argue about Britain?s economic fortunes
for the year ahead. Yet there is optimism
about brand new solutions to long-standing
problems, as 2017 is set to become the year social
investment goes mainstream.�
The UK government certainly believes so. Ministers
have announced a plan to help more people make ?nancial investments that have a positive impact on the
world this year ? whether that?s done by addressing
poverty, environmental problems, or lack of inclusion
and opportunity.
Rob Wilson, Minister
for Civil Society, said an
advisory group would look
at new ways to get more
individuals and institutional investors involved
in societ y-cha ng ing
ventures. ?I?m convinced
that people want their
investments to do good, as
well as making a ?nancial
return,? he said.
?Financial backers
are realising
there?s no trade-o?
between making a
positive di?erence
and making a
healthy return?
January 4-10 1999 NO.316
Illustration: Lauren Crow
y local council is
?exing their muscles.
They want to introduce parking charges outside a
library and beside a park near
where I live.
I know, I know ? hold ALL
front pages!
W hile this is not quite
Watergate, it does get to the
heart of the year ahead.
I was indignant when I heard
the news. The bene?ts of literacy
and access to books are not even
arguable any more, not for a
second. Yet here is a council
wanting to make it billable to
access the library. And why
introduce a cost for families or
local football teams to pay in
order to get outside, exercise and
get fresh air? The whole thing is
foolish short-termism, I raged.
But the council, like all
councils, needs money. There
has been a council tax freeze in
place in Scotland since 2007. In
England, after the coalition took
control in 2010, there wasn?t an
official centrally directed freeze,
but given the difficulties put in
front of councils who wanted to
levy increases it has been de
facto. This has meant bills are
less, which is a positive. But
coupled with central government funding cuts as a result of
austerity measures it has led to a
hollowing-out of services.
There is less money to pay for
things. Staff are laid off, many of
whom live in the area, so the
local economy suffers.
Back to the parking charges.
(I sensed you were tugging at the
leash). A little time ago the
council sold the main car park
that serves local shops. People
used to duke in, and locals would
pass tickets that still had time on
them to others. Small gestures
like this helped promote a sense
of community.
Now, the car park is operated
by a private company who bill
the moment you enter. So people
looked for alternatives, and
headed to the librar y and
THE BIG ISSUE / p6 / January 9-15 2017
As 1998 became 1999 and Cool
Britannia was dying on its backside,
who better than Noel Gallagher to
set the world to rights? ?I suppose
we have shaped some of the de?ning
moments of youth culture,? the
modest guitar hero says, before
turning to politics and telling us: ?I?d
rather Blair any day of the week than
the Tories.?
Big Issue Invest ? the social investment arm of The
The fund also allowed charity Thames Reach to
Big Issue Group ? has led the way in this ?eld for over a deliver the Ace Project, which supported hundreds of
decade now. Launched in 2005, Big Issue Invest helped hard-to-reach rough sleepers as they moved into
kick-start the sector and grow the relationship between temporary or settled accommodation.
big investors and social enterprises with bright ideas.
Building on the success of SEIF I, SEIF II� has
?There?s a real movement building now,? said Daniel already committed around � to� social enterWilson-Dodd, head of lending at Big Issue Invest. prises� and charities seeking to deliver change on
?There had previously been a feeling among some a爈arger scale, and爀xpects to close out fundraising at
investors that there weren?t enough strong, achievable �m in the next few months.�
ideas out there to actually invest in and get a return on.
A growing number of financial backers are begin?But it?s become clear there are a huge number of ning to realise no trade-off is necessary between
social organisations across the UK with a strong track making a positive difference to society on one hand and
record, buzzing with great ideas, and they are now making a healthy ?nancial return on the other. A bigger
?nding investors willing to back them. It means more impact on a community need not mean a smaller
social enterprises should be able to get the finance return. A recent JP Morgan study found that 89 per
they need to make a difference in
cent of investors making social impact
their community.?
investments found that their return
One of the leading vehicles that
expectations had been met.
pairs up these investors with the chari- ? Since 2005, Big Issue Invest
In fact, JP Morgan has estimated
has invested over �m in
ties, social enterprises and companies
that the UK?s social investment market
more than 300 social
raising capital for projects with clear
will exceed a whopping �0bn over
ventures across the UK
social bene?ts is爐he Threadneedle UK
the next decade. And now that the
Social Bond Fund. Based on a partnergovernment is exploring new ways to
ship between Big Issue Invest and ? In 2015-2016, Big Issue Invest
get the savings and pensions industry
directly made 60 investments involved, there is optimism the market
Columbia Threadneedle Investments,
totalling almost �m
it is one of the ventures the governcan grow even bigger.
ment?s advisory group will be looking �
?Big Issue Invest extends The Big
? The new Impact Loans
at for ideas.
Issue?s mission by supporting爏ocial
England scheme is available
Big Issue Invest also expects to
enterprises and charities which
to social enterprises and
launch an ?outcomes? investment fund,
dismantle poverty and create opportucharities looking for ?nance
allowing investors to back organisations
nity,? said Nigel Kershaw, chair of
of between �,000 and
that have agreed to meet a very speci?c
The Big Issue Group. Big Issue Invest
set of goals ? whether it?s getting a
now manages or advises on �0m of
certain number of houses built, or a
social funds. �
certain number back into work.�
?We?re creating the UK?s ?rst social
Big Issue Invest?s groundbreaking Social Enterprise merchant bank ? a bank燽y social entrepreneurs, for
Investment Fund I (SEIF I) provided ?nance to social entrepreneurs,? adds Kershaw. ?We invest in busienterprises燼nd charities working in education and nesses led by socially minded entrepreneurs from all
employment training, health and social care, and those walks of life. We understand first-hand how good,
tackling homelessness and financial exclusion. As a smart businesses can do great things.?
result of the fund, almost 1,000 vulnerable 18 to 24-yearolds moved into stable accommodation, and over 4,000 @adamtomforrest
children received a high-quality nursery education.
? Sherlock fan
& co are here
? Jo Adamson
the famous
singing vendor of
Glasgow, now a
bestselling artist
? despite being
registered blind
? Refugee stories
Discover the
heartaches, horrors
and kindness
experienced by
recently arrived
refugees to Britain
The winter sale is now
on at The Big Issue
n iceberg along the
Larsen C ice shelf in
Antarctica is ready to
break off, according to
Its size is 5,000 sq km ?
roughly half of Wales.
Some scientists worry the
iceberg breaking away will
destabilise the rest of the
Larsen C ice shelf (the Larsen
A ice shelf collapsed in 1995,
5,000 sq km
the Larsen B shelf broke up
in 2002).
The Larsen C ice shelf is
350m thick and covers an
area of 48,600 sq km (more
THE BIG ISSUE / p7 / January 9-15 2017
than twice the size of Wales).
If all of the water held by
Larsen C entered the sea,
ocean levels around the globe
would rise by 10cm.
Girls like Celine walk for miles
every day to fetch water.
Registered charity
number: 292506
You can buy prints of artworks
featured in Street Art through
The Big Issue Shop.
At least half of the pro?t from
each sale goes to the artist.
Order at
Homeless when he ?rst started writing poetry
seven years ago, Marc has written many
hundreds of poems since. ?I really owe my life
to poetry,? he says, ?and have tried very hard to
promote poetry in various places but, alas, to not
very much success. I recognise the importance
of poetry as an outlet and a way to express
yourself in a very positive way.?
Christie comes from
an abusive childhood
and, as an adult,
has struggled with
depression, alcohol
and drug problems,
and homelessness.
She wrote to The Big
Issue to say: ?I am
currently taking part
in an auction with
Centrepieces. I will be
auctioning off about
20 paintings as my
contribution to the
charity. Thank you
for all of your help,
for your support and
for your help with
so many otherwise
marginalised artists.?
If this was the last thing
that I ever wrote
what would it be,
what would it be about,
how would it end,
what would be in the middle,
the body
I guess the most important
thing to do,
is treat every poem as if it really
is your last.
A last testament
put everything into it
heart and soul
and hope it finds a new home in
someone else
so even if it really is your last
someone else can touch others
so that they can carry it on.
Street Art is created by people who are marginalised by issues like homelessness, disability and mental health conditions.
Contact to see your art here.
THE BIG ISSUE / p9 / January 9-15 2017
Sale now on
Save money,
do good
Don?t brave the sales frenzy out
there. Pick up an online bargain
at The Big Issue Shop social shopping
that puts people
Up to
and planet ?rst.
Ff F
ge o
Art reminds us
how to be our
best selves
istory rarely falls into
nu mer ic a l
decades. I would assert
the 1980s (yuppies,
power suits, a money
obsession) didn?t really
end till the mid 1990s when a new generation of politicians began to take power.
Policies and attitudes take a while to gain
momentum and once they do (as with equal
marriage and attitudes to homosexuality)
they can make a seismic impact.
Similarly, since the US presidential election and the EU referendum, there?s a major
debate about whether supposed liberal
progressive values have been rejected and
the alt-right is in the ascendant. But go to
the cinema, turn on the TV, read some
books, and you?ll ?nd that ?mainstream?
doesn?t change that quickly.
Shortly after the US election I went to
interview the directors of the smash hit
Disney ?lm Moana and found two boyishly smiling 60-something white
men dressed in Hawaiian shirts.
Ron Clements and Jon Musker
joined Disney as young art graduates in the early 1970s and trained
under Walt?s ?rst generation of
animators who made such classics
as Pinocchio. They pioneered
technology with early CGI in Basil
the Great Mouse Detective but also
changing attitudes. Encouraged
by conversations with their
female storyboard artists, they?ve
written strong women like Meg
in Hercules for years. ?We started
this movie ?ve years ago,? points
out Clements. ?But,? Musker
jumps in, ?if it?s an inspiration for young
women to follow their own inner voices and
feel that they don?t have limits and if it?s
an inspiration for people to celebrate
diversity and culture, we like that result.?
I realised two things. The ?rst was how
much joy there was in their work (Dwayne
Johnson?s character?s tattoos show all his
feelings however hard he tries to hide
them). But I also realised this is the
frontline. This is what Susan Faludi has
called the ?Thirty Years? War? that many
who support Trump are waging against
social change.
But the fact remains that a major
American corporation like Disney now
instinctively wants to make inclusive ?lms
that don?t patronise girls or boys. And it?s
normal that older white men, as much as
anyone else, get it.
In short the progressive stuff that had
been going on for 30 years hasn?t just
stopped. In fact it?s all the more noticeable.
Hamilton opens in London this year.
The new Wonder Woman ?lm has high
expectations for Gal Gadot?s performance.
Marvel comics are selling well with a
number of women stars: seven-foot, green
super-attorney She-Hulk, a female Thor
and Captain Marvel, and the young
Muslim-American heroine Ms Marvel.
Closer to home in a crowded TV landscape of police procedurals, many that
celebrate torture and female abuse under
the false ?ag of a female lead (The Fall, most
Disney?s Moana: inspiring young women
?Culture matters
? we all need fun
to escape misery,
and shared joy
binds us?
THE BIG ISSUE / p11 / January 9-15 2017
Scandi-noir) there are shows like
Unforgotten that celebrate the essential
decency of our criminal justice service and
the calm dedication with which its civil
servants ? police, forensics, prosecutors
try to solve crime.
Culture matters. Not because I disagree
with Peter Cook?s line on Weimar Germany
(?Those wonderful Berlin cabarets which
did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and
prevent the outbreak of the Second World
War?) but because we all need fun to escape
misery, and shared joy binds us. Frank
Cottrell-Boyce, who co-created the 2012
Olympic opening ceremony, wrote recently ?A nation is not an opening ceremony.
But it?s not a referendum either. A nation
is a project.?
So go and see stuff to escape and make
yourself happy, but think about how much
of it actually celebrates equality and diversity and entertains while reminding us how
far we?ve come. Rogue One as much as Ali
Smith?s novel Autumn. And not
just for its post-Brexit zeitgeist,
but for Autumn?s reminder of how
pop artist Pauline Boty was
written out of ?60s cultural
history and our need to challenge
the agendas of those who write
the official versions of things.
One of the last deaths of 2016
that might have slipped your
notice was Disney artist Tyrus
Wong, born in China in 1910; one
of Walt?s pioneers, who worked on
Bambi. One of the many citizens
who made America great. ?He had
a gift for evoking incredible
feeling in his art with simple gestural composition,? said the corporation
in a statement on New Year?s Eve.
In the war to de?ne who we are I?ll be
seeing films, shows, exhibitions and
reading books to collect cultural reminders
of what de?nes the best of us through the
year ahead. I urge you to do the same.
Samira Ahmed is a columnist for The Big Issue.
She is a journalist and broadcaster.
W, , T
Join us for our iconic Big London Night Walk
starting in Waterloo. Pledge to raise just
�0 to take on the 20km route overnight,
and hear inspirational stories from Big Issue
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For more information and to register visit
Illustration: Mitch Blunt
Enjoy the golden age of juggling
he earliest depictions of
jug gling appea r in
Egyptian hieroglyphics
from more than 4,000 years
ago. Regretfully, we will never
know what wondrous patterns
they juggled.
A pattern is the basic ingredient of juggling. It is a repeating
series of throws and catches.
They are precise like clockwork,
mov ing objects around in
ornate eye-seducing patterns.
The basic three-ball pattern is
called a cascade, while basic
patterns with even amounts of
balls are called fountains.
In the 1980s the art of
juggling went through an astonishing revolution. We went from
knowing a few hundred patterns
to discovering a system that
could generate millions of them.
These patterns emerged from
the discovery of a mathematical
system called ?siteswaps?. They difficult five-object pattern:
were discovered simultaneously (6x,8)(2,2x)([22],2x)
by several groups of mathemat- ([8x6x4x],2x)(2,4x)(4,6x)
ically inclined jugglers and are
The strength of the system,
described by series of digits. however, was to open the door
Most modern-day
to combi n ator ia l
jugglers would immeideas. By this, I mean
diately know what a Cuban-born
opening to the
?441? or a ?531? is. The Sean Gandini is a
possibility of using
new language came in pioneer of modern
juggling as a language
all shapes and sizes, juggling. Gandini
of composition, like
creating a new funky Juggling: Smashed
music or dance.
v i s u a l ge omet r y, opens the London
Our most popular
which in the right International
juggling piece,
hands can be used to Mime Festival,
Smashed, features
January 9 & 10.
mesmerising effect.
nine jugglers, 100
Mor e c om ple x
apples and a lot of
versions of the
these ideas to create
notation can signify the hands an emotional landscape. It
throwing simultaneously but at integrates the idea of dropping
different heights ? or indeed and failure, and attempts to
having a hand that throws more use this new language in a
than one object into the air theatrical context.
(a multiplex). For fun, here is the
We are currently in the
notation for a charming if rather golden age of juggling. The
THE BIG ISSUE / p13 / January 9-15 2017
i nt er ne t h a s s pr e a d t he
new vocabulary of patterns
across the globe and people
are using this in all kinds of
i m ag i nat ive w ay s. M i ndboggling tricks are appearing
daily from all corners of the
world, w ith performances
taking place everywhere from
the circus ring to art galleries.
At Gandini Juggling we are
currently touring a production
combining ballet and juggling,
and we were also fortunate to
choreograph Philip Glass? opera
Akhnaten at the English National
Opera and Los Angeles Opera,
using 10 of the world?s most
virtuoso jugglers to enliven the
music?s ever-mutating ostinatos.
I hope that I have whetted
your appetite for these entrancing parabolic arcs, and you will
seek out some of this exciting
new type of juggling.
Kris Marshall
Actor, father, brickie
hen I was 16, I was living
between three different
places. My parents had
just divorced ? which
was better for everybody.
They needed to get
divorced a long time
before, so it wasn?t a great existential crisis for
me. I was at boarding school in Somerset, then
spent the holidays with my mum in Wiltshire
or with my dad in Hong Kong. We?d always
moved around because my dad was in the air
force. I had a Canadian accent until I was 10.
My dad still has tapes of it. Very strange. We
were in Germany for a time. My dad ?ew transport planes and later ?ew the Queen ? he was
her navigator.
I suppose, like most 16-year-olds, I
was full of it. And I was a public school kid
as well, albeit not the full silver spoon. I lived
with 40 boys and there is a mentality you get
in that environment. We used to run feral. You
become independent very quickly. I got a moped for my 16th birthday. We weren?t allowed
them at school so I stashed it at the top of the
rugby ?eld. That worked well until the police turned
up wanting to know why I was dragging a moped out
of some bushes.
I wasn?t the class clown, but would always
question authority. I was cheeky and would disturb the class. It was a happy time in my life. I was the
kid with big glasses but I got contact lenses and girls
started taking a bit of notice. I felt young and strong.
I was getting into drama. At school we would do
everything from obscure Czech playwrights to
Woody Allen. I affected this persona that I was going
to be successful, that it was written in the stars, and
fuck everyone else. I?d tell my younger self not to behave like a rebel without a Porsche.
My hero was James Garner. I was a massive
Rockford Files fan. I still am. I loved his style of acting.
There was an element where you could see he knows
acting isn?t a proper job ? a twinkle: ?I know this
isn?t real!? If anything, it adds to his performance,
like a little secret, inviting you to come on this
journey with him.
I didn?t want to be an impoverished artist so
didn?t seriously consider acting as a career. I fancied being some globe-trotting ?nancier. But once I
decided to be an actor, schooling didn?t matter and
I got into the romance of the journey. I went years
living hand to mouth, working on travelling fairs,
in one of Robert Maxwell?s printing factories, at an
Aquafresh toothpaste factory, delivering tax discs, at
nightclubs ? and I was ?red from Iceland for wearing
blue sunglasses on the till.
I was an hour late for my ?rst ever day?s ?lming ? a cardinal sin. I was only in a couple of scenes
of a ?lm called Closing Numbers in 1993, but I kept
Jane Asher waiting! Time is money on a ?lm set, so
I never did that again. I changed from this whimsical teenager, thinking I was amazing, to someone
prepared to get their hands dirty. I?d reassure my
From the top: Kris Marshall
(far right) in My Family;
with January Jones in Love
Actually; with Josephine
Jobert in Death in Paradise
IN 1989
Gareth Bale, Welsh
footballer, is born /
the Berlin Wall
falls / Tim BernersLee ?rst proposes
a hyperlinked IT
system that will lead
to the world wide
web / Salvador Dal�,
Spanish surrealist
artist, dies
younger self that it is going to be ?ne, but remind him
to apply himself.
When I did my ?rst play in London, I was
working as a hod-carrier. I?d arrive at the theatre,
underneath a pub in Barons Court, covered in brick dust. This was 1997. I had
been struggling for years. It got me seen,
which got me to the National Theatre and
onwards. The roles that mean the most are
these watershed moments. Another early
job I?m proud of was Je t?aime John Wayne,
which was nominated for a short ?lm Bafta. We
all worked together again on My Life In Film for
BBC2, which I also loved.
All actors, unless they are very lucky or
very astute ? and I am neither ? have to compromise. My 16-year-old self might not have
chosen a job on My Family, but it is easy to have
high and mighty ideas when you are at boarding
school, being fed, watered and clothed by your
parents. The character was 19 but I was
27. That job took me in a direction I hadn?t
thought about before. My younger self
would have been impressed with some of
my career, but I would tell him real life
gets in the way and not to beat himself up if he has
to compromise.
I would tell my younger self to be easier on his
body. Don?t drink so much. I was one of those young
drinkers who get into scrapes through drinking. Life
is always easier if you don?t get into scrapes.
For a while, being famous was a lot of fun.
There are bene?ts when you are young and have a
few quid in your pocket. People want to talk to you. It
became a bit of a bind when My Family took off and
Love Actually happened, which I am very grateful
for ? in no way do I look that gift horse in the mouth.
But you can?t leave your face at home. That is another thing I would tell my younger self. Like a lot of
teenagers now, all I wanted when I was 16 was to be
famous. But the reality is that you never get a day off.
You can?t ask someone where the beans are in the
supermarket without them going: ?Oh, I know you!?
You always get the double take.
My parents taught me not to waste my
emotions over-worrying about my own kids.
You are always stressed as a parent. You need to
manage your resources. It is easy in the modern age,
with the overload of information, to micro-manage
how much sugar is in their diet or how much TV
they watch, because there is instant advice online
about everything. Kids are good at mediating themselves ? though maybe not with sweets ? but they get
bored, which is their bodies? way of telling them what
is enough.
I am nearly 44 now and still learning how to
get through tough times. But if you are still kicking,
you are still ?ghting. No matter how bad things seem,
wake up the next day and get back on the horse.
Kris Marshall stars in the new series of Death in Paradise,
9pm Thursdays, BBC1
Interview: Adrian Lobb @adey70
THE BIG ISSUE / p14 / January 9-15 2017
?My parents taught me not
to waste my emotions overworrying about my own kids?
THE BIG ISSUE / p15 / January 9-15 2017
hese were some of
the bestselling
Christmas. But
they are not standard toys and
gadgets; instead they?re designed
for people living with dementia.
Unforgettable, an online shop
that specialises in these items,
saw their sales increase fourfold
in December 2016 compared to
the year before ? a re?ection of
the increase in dementia sufferers in the UK, and in advances
in understanding the best treatments. Unforgettable was
founded by James Ashwell, who
started caring for his mother
after she developed early onset
dementia in her late 50s. He
created dementia-friendly items
for her, which led to him setting
up his own business. From
simpli?ed electronics to jigsaws,
board games and music players,
the products keep users active
and stimulated, improving their
quality of life. In the UK, 850,000
people suffer from dementia,
with the number expected to rise
to over a million by 2025 and
double that again by 2051.
Restless hands and repetitive behaviour
re?ect damage to particular parts of
the brain and can be distressing for
the sufferer. This is designed to keep
hands busy, making it a great sensory
ISSUE / p16 / JJanuary 9-15 2017
In early-to-mid-stage dementia, lapses in memory
and episodes of confusion may begin to affect
the way a person communicates with family and
friends. Feeling frustrated, helpless and unsure, they
can withdraw into themselves. This game helps the
person with dementia connect with and recall positive personal memories, inspiring conversations and
making it easier for them to interact with others.
Therapets are now widely used to help
the sick and vulnerable. Research shows
that stroking a dog or a cat has bene?ts
including slowing down heart rate, reducing
blood pressure, calming nerves, regulating
breathing and elevating mood. But when
having a real pet is not an option, this
Companion Puppy is a soothing, strokable
alternative. Animal therapy gives someone
the opportunity to give care instead of
constantly being on the receiving end.
THE BIG ISSUE / p17 / January 9-15 2017
Photos: Getty / Rex
By coming to The Big Issue, George Michael befriended the neglected
and the lost. Big Issue founder and Editor-in-Chief John Bird remembers
how the seeds of this unique and special relationship were sown
THE BIG ISSUE / p18 / January 9-15 2017
n the mid 1990s I lived in North London, in
Crouch End. One afternoon a very nice young
woman moved over to my table in a cafe and
started to talk to me with great passion about
The Big Issue. Her and her brother were great
followers of it and bought it and read it whenever they got a chance. I listened as I ate my sausage
roll; or was it a piece of pecan pie?
Then she stood up and was about to go when she
dropped a kind of bombshell on me. That her brother
was George Michael. I stood up and got her to sit down
and then begged her that she asked George to do a Big
Issue interview. A full cover job. She politely said that
George had not talked to the press for some six years
and was not likely to start now.
The press were mainly puerile, obsessed over the
details of his private life. And George, she said, wanted
a private life, not a public/private life.
We had captured some big names in The Big Issue.
The early days of Oasis, the return of the Stone Roses,
and were soon to do guest edits with Damien Hirst and
Will Self, which would bring in big names in their train.
But George Michael would have been a winner and
I forgot my extreme modesty and even suggested a
statue of George on the roof of The Big Issue building
if she got an interview for us. (I lie. However, I did
promise the earth and other parts of the universe.)
Still she insisted that being stitched up by the press
over his personal life was not George?s idea of a nice
cup of tea. Though because we were The Big Issue (?The
Last Bastion of honest journalism,? Nick Davis, The
Guardian a year or two earlier) he might consider it.
I told my team and we mused over it but carried on
with our pursuit of the Big Names because Big Names
brought Big Sales, and Big Sales help Big Issue vendors!
It was that simple. If you want to spread the name and
power and sales of The Big Issue, then about ?ve years
old, you needed the Big Names for the Big Sales!
What people did not seem to always bear in mind
was that the really radical thing about The Big Issue
was its distribution method. That it instantly aided
people in need. No third party there!
I did not know the music of George Michael. I probably still don?t. But I knew he had had a public struggle
and was trying to cope with some of the ?shit? that people
I knew were coping with. So George seemed a natural
?t with The Big Issue. People winning control of demons.
It must have been six months later that George?s
people got hold of our people and said that George
wanted to do an interview with The Big Issue. This
would be one where George discussed stuff he had not
discussed elsewhere. That he was breaking his six-year
silence with us!
This was a tremendous honour. That a street paper
started a few years before, sold by the most neglected
people on the face of God?s earth, and sold for their
bene?t, was to be awarded a story that George Michael
felt safe to tell.
I cannot claim that I was the midwife of the story.
There seemed to be a change in the George Michael
team; that George wanted to tell his story about his
sexuality and wanted to do it where it would not be
made sensational, or dealt with derisorily.
We not only sold more copies, we helped increase
the reputation for a place where honesty and integrity
were the hallmark of our journalism. And increasingly vendors were seen as holders of news that was
worth having.
I only met George Michael once when a few weeks
later I was in the Cafe Rouge in Highgate and he was
sitting with friends. As he left I introduced myself to
him and he sat and spoke about our vendors and their
struggles. I was astonished at his passion. But he knew
the evils of addiction. He knew the struggles. No one
has a monopoly on that struggle. It can be shared and
is shared by people in all stages of life.
How do you defeat the demons that can bring you
low and transform you? Alas George lost that ?ght over
Christmas. And the world is de?nitely a poorer place
because of it.
George was a North London boy, an area where
Cypriots moved to in the 1950s. George?s family came
that way, a part of the new immigration that enabled
the UK economy to get back on its feet. Even today
this is Greek and Turkish territory, from Muswell
Hill to Highgate, a constant movement as prosperity
comes through their labours. The HQ of The Big Issue
sits among what is a prime area of this immigration,
with Greeks and Turks in and around our office in
Finsbury Park.
With questions again being raised about immigration we should remember George?s ascendancy to the
music ?hall of fame? status from limited beginnings.
In the same way that when people complain about
social security they should remember that the whole
Harry Potter phenomenon grew out of the efforts of a
woman supported by the state. Negativity should not
rule OK. All we should insist on is that social security,
and immigration, should be used constructively.
I digress. I wanted to write this piece because over
Christmas when I heard the news about George Michael
I felt I had lost a friend, even though one meeting in a
Cafe Rouge does not add up to intimacy. But I felt that
by recognising us, George had befriended people who
I and hundreds of others at The Big Issue have devoted
the last quarter of a century to aid and increase.
It was a shock to hear that George had lost the
struggle for life, and that though his work would live
on, we needed George to be with us.
Compression brings art. Struggle and dedication.
It comes at a price. That is why so many artists,
and George was among the best, find it so hard
to cope. And there?s no one out there giving classes in
how to survive untold success and the ceaseless attention that goes with it. Or if there are I haven?t heard
about them.
George Michael was more than a local boy made
good, but it is good to remember how he resolutely
stuck to parts of the manor he came into as a young
boy. But his music did go worldwide and did enchant
and inspire many others. That he died so young and so
talented is something we at The Big Issue regret; along
with millions and millions of others.
However, I will always remember a man who could
understand what we were trying to do in our work
among the homeless, the defeated and broken struggling to get back on their feet. And he could understand
those demons, those coping methods that could maim
and harm and kill.
No, I didn?t really know George Michael; but
he touched the life of me and The Big Issue in a
big way. And for that we will always be grateful.
Long life to the memory of this real, troubled, but
brilliant man.
Classic interview over E
THE BIG ISSUE / p19 / January 9-15 2017
Despite being one of the world?s biggest stars,
George Michael hadn?t given an interview in
six years. The singer chose The Big Issue as
the place to break that silence. He spoke to
Adrian Deevoy about dope, death and his
much-debated sexuality.
eorge Michael?s toilet seat is broken. Cleaved clean
off. How could it be that the sophisticated sovereign of subdued and silky soul came to ?nd himself
in such a sorry situation?
?I couldn?t possibly tell you,? he says, busying
himself with tea bags in the kitchen. ?It?s too embarrassing.?
The media-reclusive multi-millionaire hasn?t invited a
member of the press into his home for six years. He?s been taking
stock, making music ? the bewitching Older ? and playing
hard-to-get. That he has, for no apparent reason, decided to
grant an interview is something of a shock.
Upon reaching chez Michael (to which I have been courteously chauffeured by the singer himself who?s recently taken
delivery of a Jaguar XK8), there is another surprise. His house
hasn?t changed in the slightest. In fact, nomadic lavatory lid
apart, it is the same unassuming north-London domicile with
the same departure-lounge ambience and the same recklessly
stacked CD collection, with the same laid-back Labrador, Hippy,
lying on the same colourless carpet. ?I think most people would
be shocked by the way I live,? says Michael, casting an amused
eye around his modest, open-plan homestead. ?I mean, in popstar terms, this is a hovel.?
The house may not have changed, but the owner most de?nitely has. ?I won?t be talking again until I?ve got something to
say,? 27-year-old Michael said back in 1990. Now, at 33 (?the
same age as Jesus?), he feels that he?d like to speak.
?Certain things have happened,? he says, taking a carton of
milk from a fridge whose contents total a tub of taramasalata,
half a bottle of wine, and a half a dozen cans of Coke. ?Whereas
my public image is more removed from the real world, I don?t
feel that I am any more. I?m more...? he grasps for the precise
word, ?...human.?
He sets down two mugs of tea, the ?rst of many in our marathon three-hour conversation, and lights a cigarette. ?There?s
something that?s changed,? he sighs, tapping the fag packet. ?I
smoke now. What a fucking stupid thing for a singer to do.?
His tobacco habit, he says, developed out of another relatively recent hobby: smoking dope. ?I started smoking grass
because it was either that or some kind medication which I
didn?t want to take,? he says. ?Then when you couldn?t get a
joint you lit up a cigarette and that was that. It took about three
years for me to become a real smoker and in the last year-anda-half I?ve been trying desperately to give it up and have been
failing miserably.?
Dope smoking seems such an unlikely pursuit for a selfconfessed control freak. ?I know,? he laments, shaking his
closely cropped head. ?But, I tell you, this time last year I was
a complete and utter爌othead. I know it?s lunacy but the horrible truth is that the grass really helped me. It got me through
making Older. I was under more stress than I?d ever been. This
had to amount to something substantial to justify the wait. And
grass really helped me with the lyrics. I?d know there was something I really wanted to say but I wouldn?t know how to say it,
so I?d have a few drags and stand behind the mic and in a few
minutes it?d be there. It?s bad because I don?t want to smoke
but I can?t see myself giving grass up as a writer.?
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compounded by the singer?s high-pro?le court case
so. ?The really puzzling question that it leaves you with
against his former record company, Sony. Put simply,
is, ?What?s more important: to have a long and healthy
Michael says he was ?trying to get myself into a situation
life or to enjoy every day as it happens?? I?ve always
where I worked with a company that had some
obsessively invested in the future but now I
respect for me?. He lost the case, which had
wonder if I should spend so much time worprevented him from releasing new material
rying about it. There might not be a future.?
for two years, and left the company. Although The reluctant superstar was also a reluctant
Did he come close to a breakdown at the
his new deals with Virgin in Britain and interviewee. The object of huge attention, time of Anselmo?s death? ?No, not then,? he
DreamWorks in America now give him the gossip and rumour, he decided that The
recalls. ?After he died I went through bereavefreedom he craved, there is still bitterness in Big Issue was the one place to ?nally talk
ment counselling, which helped me a lot. I?m
openly about his sexuality and pressures of not naturally depressive. I mean, I?ve suffered
his voice when he talks about his old label.
?They basically shat on me,? he scowls. ?I fame. He would choose this magazine ?rst from depression in depressive circumstances,
was honest with them and said, ?I?m 24 and I again in subsequent years. Here are some but I don?t have a tendency towards it. I?m not
don?t know what the future holds, but I know of his most memorable quotes from The
very good at wallowing. If I?m going to feel bad,
that right now if I don?t do something quick Big Issue interviews?
I distract myself.?
He was, however, on the verge of a nervous
then no one?s going to have anything to sell?.
Now if a 24-year-old who?d just sold 15 million March 2004
collapse during the Faith tour in 1988.
albums came to me and said that, I?d humour ON COMING OUT
?I genuinely thought, ?This is what
him. But it was like, ?You don?t feel good? Well, ?Subconsciously I had to ?nd some
happens. This is when you lose it?,? he
piss off, we?ve got lots of other people to work way of coming out that didn?t
recollects with a small shudder. ?Do
with?. It was incredibly disrespectful. I didn?t give one grinning journalist what
you know, I spent almost that entire
work for them, but we?d worked together and they wanted...I wanted people to
year in sunglasses. I just couldn?t make
sold a fuck of a lot of records. The fact this was understand that I was gay and I
eye contact with strangers. I think I
suddenly irrelevant was extremely irritating.? didn?t have any problem with it.
even went to bed in them.?
The rumour is that Prince kept phoning Somehow this was my way out.?
While waiting for the kettle to boil
during the trial to offer him advice and support. ON TONY BLAIR
we once again discuss Oasis, of whom
?Oh yeah,? cackles Michael mischievously. ?I ?I wish to God that the Labour Party had
Michael is an enormous fan; and cocaine, of
just never rung him back. We weren?t exactly the guts to get rid of Blair...I think globally which he isn?t; and, inevitably enough, sex.
in the same boat. All I really wanted to say to he is a dangerous man.?
?How?s your love life?? I ask.
him was, ?Wipe that fucking word [?slave?] off ON CELEBS
?Fantastic,? he grins. ?Absolutely fantastic.
your cheek, you?re not exactly doing me any ?Most celebrities bore me to tears...The
That?s all I shall say. I?ve got everything I want
favours?. The only time I really spoke to him lack of dignity, and the lack of privacy, and at the moment, which is quite a scary position
we had this 45-minute conversation about God. hideous jealousy.?
for me to be in. You automatically start to look
Maybe I got him on an off day.?
for something to go wrong.?
As the court case lumbered on, reaching a December 2009
Has sex gotten better as you?ve got older?
point where even his most loyal supporters ON CHRISTMAS
?Oh God, in my case, yeah. It?s not even a
became numb to the endless legal hair-split- ?Why doesn?t it snow at the right time any
matter of it getting better, it?s a matter of me
more, like it did in the ?60s? If it
ting, George Michael?s personal life
?nally knowing what it?s about and being
could snow on Christmas Eve that with the right people and having the right
hit a cruel low. The most devastating
would be perfect. I have always
incident occurred in 1993 when his
sexual experiences.?
loved Christmas. I didn?t feel
And yes, he is a condom man. ?I?ve always
friend Anselmo Feleppa, a 32-year-old
particularly secure as a child, which used them,? he admits. ?But if I?m in a relationBrazilian ? ?someone that I truly
I think came from my parents
loved? ? died. A searing sense of loss,
ship, I make sure we end up getting tested.
being so busy and distracted.
a gradual healing and a kind of reI don?t really think condoms are enough.
They used to work so hard and
demption followed. ?I can?t talk about
And they?re not reliable enough. They break.?
always seemed quite stressed to
that in any detail,? Michael apologises.
Talking to George Michael about sex is a
me. They were just trying to make curious experience. As he has never made his
?It?s just not me to do that. The album
refers to it several times. I?d just say that it was a better life for all of us I suppose. But at
sexuality known, you ?nd yourself self-conthe most enlightening experience that I?ve ever Christmas everyone would calm down
sciously hopping across a non-gender-speci?c
had. The minute someone you really love is for a few days, and that used to make me
mine?eld. Is he, I eventually enquire, talking
irretrievably lost you understand life in a dif- feel safe.?
about sleeping with men or women? ?I don?t
ferent way.? He reaches instinctively for
believe in people making public statements
another cigarette. ?Your perspective changes. March 2014
about their sexuality,? he answers quickly,
You understand how short life is, how incred- ON PRISON
primed for the question. ?I?m so unatibly painful it can be. But once you?ve seen the ?It wasn?t great but it actually
tached to my public persona now, it
worst of things you can then see the best of turned out to be easier than I
would never even occur to me that I
things, so that experience was very painful at was expecting because I knew
would want to clarify my sexuality.?
I deserved to be there. I just
the time but very positive in its outcome.?
Should a gay man in a prominent
Was it sudden? ?Yes, he had a brain haem- thought, get your head down
position admit to being gay? ?I think if
orrhage,? he says quietly. ?It was a terrible and get on with it.?
every gay pop star and actor in the
shock. The grief is always there and sometimes CORRIE V EASTENDERS
world came out it wouldn?t make any
it comes back. You feel it every bit as pain- ?I watch Corrie because it?s more
difference at all to the gay community,?
fully as if it was yesterday, and other times you of a laugh. Even when life is
he shrugs, before launching into a
think of the person and how fantastic the tragic on Coronation Street, it?s still funny.? speech which, you suspect, he prepared earlier.
experience of knowing them was.?
?I think we all speculate about one another?s
sexuality and it?s a very human thing to do. Humans
He moves to the microwave to warm up his tepid
spend a lot of time trying to work out if what they E
tea, mulling over one of life?s imponderables as he does
THE BIG ISSUE / p23 / January 9-15 2017
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are is ?right?,? his ?ngers describe inverted commas in
the air. ?We question ourselves from the moment we?re
old enough to, and most people need to feel that their
particular form of sexuality is right ? therefore they
need to be able to identify people who are the same as
them and people who aren?t. So you get this whole
game where you?re trying to work out who is gay and
who is straight.
?Someone like me, who sits there with this big neon
question mark above my head and openly invites those
questions, is therefore a thing of fascination. If people
?t very neatly into one sexual category or another, they
are immediately rather boring to the media. I talk to
both gay men who want me to be gay and straight women
who want me to be straight and a lot of people who are
not too sure about their sexuality. All the biggest pop
stars have unanswered questions about their sexuality. It?s what draws people to them.?
So is this sexual ambiguity something he?s
fostered? ?No, not in the least,? he frowns. ?I
think everything about me has always been
ambiguous. From the way I look to the tone
of my voice. I mean, let?s face it, I?m not
exactly Bruce Springsteen.? The kettle ?nally
gets there. ?Anyway,? he says evenly, ?my
sexuality is no one?s fucking business.?
So, we can conclude that he?s happy with
whatever he is? ?Very,? he smiles de?antly.
?Even though my sexuality hasn?t always
been completely clear to me, it was never a
moral question. I?ve never thought of my sexuality as
being right or wrong. I?ve wondered what my sexuality
might be but I?ve never wondered whether it was acceptable or not. To me it?s always been about ?nding
the right person. The only moral involved in sex is
whether it?s consenting or not. Anyway, who really cares
whether I?m gay or straight? Do they think they?ve got
a serious chance of shagging me or something??
Having successfully ?ltered out the elements of
celebrity he feels least uncomfortable with, and by
creating a persona that now works for him on a commercial level, George Michael has managed to develop
a certain mystique. ?The same thing that makes
everybody look when I walk into a restaurant will
actually keep fuelling my career,? he muses. ?A
fascination combined with a lack of availability. In
reality my celebrity is something that I don?t like, it
limits me a lot. I don?t do a lot of things I would do if I
were anonymous. I live a smaller life, in a way, because
I don?t put myself in a lot of public situations. My consolation for that is that I?ve got this great career. And,?
he adds wryly, ?the money?s pretty good too.?
Having reaped the rewards of more than 60 million
album sales worldwide ? with Older selling one million
in the UK alone ? is he comfortable with his wealth?
?Much more so than I was,? he nods. ?In reality, I?ve
given such a huge proportion of it away, I really couldn?t
feel guilty about it anymore. The reason I do it is quite
simple: there are a lot of people who need money and
don?t have it and I have a lot of money that I have no
particular use for. I mean, look at this house. It doesn?t
take a rocket scientist to work out that this isn?t extravagance. I?ve got houses in LA and St Tropez too,
but the three houses combined would ?t comfortably
into the average rock star?s house. I?m not saying that
to prove how modestly I live, but I don?t have a very
expensive lifestyle and I?ve sold a lot of records.?
He gives a substantial amount of money anony-
Clockwise from top:
George?s ?rst ?ush of
fame with Wham!; with
partner Fadi Fawaz;
bringing the curtain down
on Live Aid in 1985 with
Bono, Paul McCartney
and Freddie Mercury
mously to various charities, although he?s
unwilling to give details. Is this merely to assuage his
conscience? ?I obviously do that to some degree,? he
replies. ?I can give away large amounts of money
without it having any effect on my life. So you can do a
lot of good at arm?s length, which I?m sure people will
criticise me for.?
As an admirer of Tony Blair, would he be prepared
to pay more tax under a Labour government? ?I?d feel
enormously unhappy about paying 50 per cent tax to
another Tory government,? he glowers. ?But I?d pay 50
or even 60 per cent to a Labour government. As it is I?ll
probably end up paying more anyway. I think Labour
are going to introduce a special George Michael tax.?
But that?s the price you pay for once having been a
member of Wham! and a beacon of Thatcherism.
?That?s bollocks, isn?t it?? he sniffs. ?That was always
a stupid, super?cial view to take of me. I never had a
Thatcherite attitude. I never believed for a moment
that things were good. Thatcherism was based on that
?trickle down? idea ? that everyone would eventually
get some ? and I always knew that was bullshit. I was
incredibly ambitious, but for myself not for money, and
I was never, never a fucking Thatcherite.?
This afternoon, he will visit the recording studio to
tinker with the latest of his seductive jazz-pop songs.
If inspiration doesn?t strike, he?ll smoke some grass
and wait for what he self-mockingly calls ?that conduit
moment?. But before we sink back into the creamy
upholstery and cosy decadence of his new Jag, there is
one small matter to clear up. The toilet seat, we never
did find out what happened to the toilet seat.
Reluctantly, George Michael reveals his sinful secret.
?Wiping too vigorously,? he says, then laughs like an
escaped lifer.
?Feels good to be free.?
/ p
/ anuary 9-15 201
Marius de Vries has produced albums for Bj謗k
and David Bowie, was music director on Moulin
Rouge! and now on Oscar-favourite La La Land.
Writing exclusively for The Big Issue, he explains
why musicals have still got the moves
dmittedly some people can?t stand
musicals, just as some people have no
appetite for opera. But since the beginning of cinema they have given us some
sublime moments over the years. There
is something about when a song really
works in a musical ? how disarming it is, how hard it
has to work, especially in contemporary times, to overcome resistance of taste and expectations of realism
? that is its own particular kind of magic.
Everyone ?nds their own language to de?ne the
medium they work in, although, of course, as the
saying goes, talking about music is like dancing
about architecture.
For all that, ?lm scores have a transparent quality
in their basic functioning. I think most modern
audiences are aware of it and come away from a ?lm
with an impression and a memory of its score, whether
or not the music is foregrounded ? as in La La Land ? or
simply functional. And of course music is important.
It?s one of the things that creates and de?nes the primary
emotional content of almost any piece of cinema;
Wagner?s ?pure organ of the feeling? ? simply, it reaches
where words often cannot.
Musicals have been in and out of vogue even during
my lifetime, let alone through the history of cinema.
Of course, silent movies were never silent. In the absence
of dialogue (and sound effects for that matter) the score
had to work so much harder ? and in some cases much
more literally, which is interesting to observe. Also,
back in the days when the score was performed live,
and generally improvised, rather than encoded into the
?lm, that must have been incredible to watch as an
amalgam of playback and live performance. No two
screenings the same!
Cinema faced competition from TV in the 1950s and
so was inclined to defend itself with its strongest suit,
which is a sense of scale that TV can?t match. There?s a
similar dynamic going on at the moment, with the
artistic and production values of the best television so
high, ?lm is having to work extra hard for its cultural
THE BIG ISSUE / p26 / January 9-15 2017
La musique...
Main picture: Emma
Stone and Ryan Gosling
in La La Land; (below)
Marius de Vries and
Ryan Gosling on set
validity. What?s interesting is how movies like Moulin
Rouge! and La La Land come along periodically and
seem to catch the imagination and hearts of a much
broader audience than you would expect. Perhaps one
of the reasons of this is that both movies are really
self-aware from the outset in the contract they propose
to the audience, which in both cases involves not only
a celebration of the form but also a complicity in playing
with it for emotional and narrative purposes.
In some ways, you couldn?t imagine two more
different ?lms than Moulin Rouge! and La La Land,
though both are love stories and musicals. The one is
aggressively post-modern and eclectic, a dizzying
amalgam of styles and references where variegation is
celebrated and part of the joy is witnessing such diverse
cultural references corralled into a single purpose.
This adventurousness is summed up by one of [Moulin
Rouge! director] Baz Luhrmann?s maxims that has
always stuck with me: ?Taste is the enemy of art.? And
that?s a philosophy I?ve made use of and been inspired
by a lot over the years. But [La La Land director] Damien
Chazelle?s vision is much more aesthetically focused.
For all of its heady romance, La La Land has a classical,
streamlined, singular style ? it stays within its boundaries rather than strives to break them. And
makes a real strength of that. It?s not without its
excesses of feeling, and ?ights of fantasy, to be sure but
it is self-contained in its own tightly drawn set of values.
The classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies
come to mind, and of course crucially Jacques
Demy?s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, with which
La La Land shares some narrative similarities, and
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort.
One of the greatest things Damien has achieved is
that he?s created a movie which is deeply indebted to
and declares its love for earlier incarnations of the genre
without wearing that in?uence heavily and without
ever succumbing to pastiche or sentimental nostalgia.
That was very much his speci?c and stated ambition
from the outset but it?s not an easy thing to do in practice, and that he has is remarkable.
La La Land is in cinemas from January 13
THE BIG ISSUE / p27 / January 9-15 2017
The rise of Riseborough, Britain?s most interesting actress.
Adrian Lobb attempts to keep up.
hen pushed, on a recent photoshoot,
Andrea Riseborough came up with
short description of herself: ?A
Geordie punk who started out in
classical theatre.? Hearing it quoted
back to her, she?s cringing. ?So embarrassing,? she says.
?The last thing you want to say if you even lean
remotely towards punk is ?I am a punk?. But it is the
easiest shorthand to say: ?Please don?t put me in a frock.??
She may cringe now, but there is merit in her label.
Nothing is conventional.
Since breakout roles in 2007?s political drama Party
Animals and with Michael Fassbender in C4
English Civil War epic The Devil?s Whore,
Riseboroughhasdanced throughthemainstream
while retaining her outsider edge.
From playing Margaret Thatcher in The Long
Walk to Finchley to a striking Ford worker in
Made in Dagenham and Wallis Simpson in W.E.,
directed by Madonna, she is scarcely recognisable as the same actor from one project to the
next. But success left her listless. A change came
after playing the supplicant sidekick to aging
action hero Tom Cruise in Oblivion.
?I felt I misrepresented myself so gravely over
the years by thinking that, in order to work at
that level, I needed to be from the same place as
everyone else,? says Riseborough.
?I never really lost it, but having a working
class sensibility was not encouraged as an artist,
no matter what the fuck anyone says. I felt like I
had jumped into a melting pot where I had to ?t
in. And I very much lost a sense of myself.?
So how did she re-?nd it?
A pause. A wry laugh. A revelation. ?Well, I
think not doing rubbish movies was a huge part
of it. I made some studio pictures and that is what
did it. That is what made me feel soulless.?
Many actors veer from indie ?lms to blockbusters with ease, but those roles don?t sit well
with Riseborough, who did her reading in libraries, quit
school and worked in a Chinese restaurant before Rada,
and who can reel off an impressive music playlist, from
Miles Davis? Sketches of Spain to Weyes Blood.
Her response to feeling alienated within the mainstream was emphatic. She set up production company
Mother Sucker, took a role in Birdman then returned
to British TV, nearly acting Robbie Coltrane and Julie
Walters off the screen in C4?s National Treasure. The
complexity she brought to Dee, who was struggling with
addiction and mental health issues, should attract
attention come awards season. ?As dark as Dee was,
there was some kind of sinister hilarity to everything
she says,? recalls the 35-year-old.
A mesmerising performance in The Witness for the
Prosecution, as actress, singer, survivor and titular
witness Romaine Heilger, who beguiled Toby Jones?
hapless lawyer, suggests Riseborough, in her roundabout way, is becoming one of Britain?s most watchable
actors ? with a range to rival Walters or Judi Dench.
?Telling the story against the backdrop of the First
World War, you see how crippled the youth were by the
trauma,? she says. ?I thought a lot about my great
grandad who died in the war. How young he was.?
Soon, she?ll join Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin and
Steve Buscemi in Armando Iannucci?s The Death of
Stalin. She also plays Billie Jean King?s ex-lover Marilyn
Barnett in Battle of the Sexes. ?I don?t usually say yes
From top: Andrea
Riseborough as Margaret
Thatcher in The Long
Walk to Finchley; as Dee,
with Robbie Coltrane
and Julie Walters, in
National Treasure; and as
femme fatale Romaine
in the Agatha Christie
mystery The Witness for
the Prosecution
this often,? she says. ?But these projects came up, with
characters I felt I could tickle off the page and explore.
I have never done a job that wasn?t tough. That is the
work I enjoy. When you are acting moments of real
happiness, you feel so joyful. And the darker moments
affect you physiologically, just like in life. It is ?ring off
all sorts of synapses, triggering all sorts of physical
things from old experience.
?In Battle of the Sexes I play the freedom and light
and joy of the ?lm, a carefree, liberated character, which
makes a change. And working with a friend of mine,
Emma Stone ? for an intimate love story, that felt
very comfortable.?
Mother Sucker go into production with Nancy,
a thriller centred on that screen rarity, a female
anti-hero,laterthisyear.?Ihaveanentirelyfemalerun company. I?m interested in diversity in every
area in life. That is one of my passions,? she says.
?Julie Walters and I talked about it. When she
came out there was Michael Caine, herself, a really
interesting wave of working class actors. We talked
about how bored we are with seeing posh British
people swanning around.
?The ?lm industry represents such a small
portion of the population, rather than a huge and
diverse spectrum in terms of class and
race. It is difficult to reach everybody when the
work we make is only about a privileged few whose
lives don?t relate to the majority.?
Our interview takes place hours after the US
election result and politics looms large.
?Right now I am in McDonough, Georgia,
where Burden [a ?lm about a couple seeking to
break free from the Ku Klux Klan] is being ?lmed.
On every other lawn there is a Trump sign, so I
have not felt it is a surprise,? she says.
?It?s funny. I moved to middle America for
years. People would ask me why I lived in Idaho.
What? Are we supposed to segregate or something? I don?t feel I have lived in the bubble. I was
in London for a bit but travelled around ?lming as soon
as I left Rada. People still ask if I miss London. Erm,
I?m from Newcastle! I can?t stand anything more than
conservative liberals who are terri?ed of thinking
outside the box. I don?t believe that is being liberal.
Being liberal, to me, means to retain an open mind.?
Another pause.
?I am really, really so pleased you wanted to speak
to me because The Big Issue is my favourite publication
in Britain,? says Riseborough. Keep talking. This could
be the start of a beautiful friendship.
?It is the magazine I have looked at most in my life.
I remember saying to my agent when I would do the
glossy magazines: ?Yeah, but what about The Big Issue??
They were like: ?Andrea, you are not famous enough to
be in The Big Issue. They really want to sell copies of
that one!? I have seen it on the street every day, I have
got to know people who sold it to me over the years, and
?nd it diverse and interesting. I don?t buy magazines
from shops. But I feel it represents a lot of people and
groups, your magazine. It is not about just selling people
shit. I have faith it is all happening for a good reason,
and that makes me feel good about buying it.?
Andrea Riseborough ? great talent, great taste in
The Witness for the Prosecution is available on iPlayer and
available to pre-order on DVD from
THE BIG ISSUE / p29 / January 9-15 2017
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B O O K S O F 2 0 1 7/ F I L M / T V/ M U S I C
Half Tower of Babel, half
Cinderella?s fairytale castle,
this painting by Wolfe von
Lenkiewicz, called Heaven
is Made of Iron, blends the
mythical city of the past with
a magical kingdom of today.
Adding another level of meta,
Lenkiewicz?s great-grandfather
was court painter to King
Ludwig II of Bavaria whose
elaborate Neuschwanstein
Castle inspired Walt Disney
when he was establishing his
own empire. The painting
is part of a new exhibition
exploring authorship, in?uence
and artists? relationships with
the historical art canon.
XI Lost my Heart to a
Starship Trooper, Griffin
Gallery, Jan 12?Feb 24
THE BIG ISSUE / p31 / January 9-15 2017
Top of the pile
Illustration: Dom McKenzie
The most exciting releases coming this spring, as chosen by our experts
Yanis Varoufakis (out
May, The Bodley Head)
Yanis Varoufakis
became famous around
the world when he was
elected ?nance minister of
Greece with a mandate to
confront EU policy on austerity.
He has written extensively on
economics, politics, democracy
and power both before and
after those summit meetings,
but this memoir, subtitled My
Struggle with Europe?s Deep
Establishment, will apparently
dish the personal dirt on the
meetings themselves. The blurb
promises that the truth of EU
backstabbing and oneupmanship is shocking and runs
deep, and Varoufakis argues
that only profound and radical
reform can save the EU from
destroying itself. A timely and
important read, no doubt. DJ
Nathan Hill (out Jan, Vintage)
It takes guts to take on the
decades-spanning Great
American Novel at any age; to
attempt it with your debut
suggests kahunas on an
eye-watering scale. But Nathan
Hill?s audacious, 600 page The
Nix comes rolling into the UK
with barrelfuls of praise from
the States, and within a few
chapters it?s clear why. Hill?s
intelligence, wit, and knowledge
(both streetwise and
history-wise) glitter on
every page. The compelling primary story is
that of Samuel, AndresenAnderson, the abandoned
son who discovers the
extraordinary details of his
estranged mother?s past as they
make national headlines. But
along the way, Hill gives us an
illuminating ride though 50
years of American popular
culture, radical protest and
crazed demagoguery, his
tone ranging from a Pynchonesque breathlessness to a
warmer thoughtfulness more
akin to Michael Chabon. A
grand feat. JG
Sarah Pinborough (out Jan,
Sarah Pinborough is a proli?c
and diverse British novelist and
screenwriter, notching up
fantasy, reimagined fairy
tales, YA and more
recently psychological
thrillers to large
readerships. This latest
offering has created a
big buzz
among readers,
booksellers and
others in the
industry. On the
surface it sounds
like a conventional
THE BIG ISSUE / p32 / January 9-15 2017
doomed love triangle, with a
downtrodden secretary
interfering with a seemingly
perfect marriage, but
Pinborough is a master of
building tension and delivering
killer plot twists. Her publishers
are running a marketing
campaign using
#WTFThatEnding, so they must
be pretty con?dent that
this book delivers. I?m
sure it will. DJ
Tessa Hadley (out Jan,
Jonathan Cape)
Tessa Hadley?s rise from
obscurity to regularly being
referred to as one of the best
living writers in Britain has
been slow and stealthy, almost
imperceptible. And yet, outside
of literary circles she remains
relatively, wickedly, unsung.
This will not do. Over the course
of six novels and two short story
collections, Hadley has
established herself among her
growing band of readers as a
master of the domestic novel, as
insightful on the nuances of
family ties and the agonies of
dissolution as she is magically
evocative when placing us in
time and landscape. In her new
collection of shorts we meet a
variety of ostensibly
unspectacular characters ? a
housekeeper providing daytime
care for an old man; a woman
recovering from illness; a child
waking up from a nightmare.
They behave quite normally, yet
every action has consequences,
and all end their story changed
in some way. Hadley has an
anthropological gift; she
notices the small, regular
gestures and responses of the
everyday, and demonstrates
their enormous impact on our
perception of the world, and
thus, every relationship we
have. If this is your ?rst time
reading her, buyer beware: she
may leave your ego with a new
and disarming wobble. JG
Erica Ferencik
(out Jan,
Raven Books)
This is the ?rst
novel to be
published by a
brand new crime
?ction imprint of Bloomsbury
called Raven Books. It?s the
American author?s third novel,
but her ?rst to be published in
the UK, and it?s a book that?s
been described as raw, relentless
and heart-poundingly real. Four
female best friends plan to get
away from it all on an
adrenaline-soaked white water
rafting trip in Maine, but things
don?t exactly go according to
plan. Ferencik really gets under
the skin of her characters, and
brings depth to the horrors that
await them on the river. DJ
JD Daniels (out now,
Jonathan Cape)
Rather promisingly, novelist
Geoff Dyer has already
proclaimed JD Daniels ?a
nutjob? of the very best kind.
The Kentucky author?s debut,
The Correspondence, is a
peripatetic memoir, presented
as a series of letters in which
globe-trotting Daniels (?a
promising young drunk,
bad with women, and an
easy vomiter?) describes
his experiences being
diverted by bizarre
incidents and odd folk
while quitting university, being
arrested, being sectioned,
studying Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and
trying to go home again. He is a
lover of high literature, a drug
addict, a writer, and a timewaster, whose laugh-out-loud
encounters with asylum
inmates and crazed Southern
baptists are punctuated with
?ashing moments of selfawareness and touching
emotional epiphanies about the
father who ?aimed to protect me
from the darkness all around
me, using the darkness inside
himself?. Funny, frank,
endearing, and half-insane, fans
of Paul Beatty and Alejandro
Zambra ? indeed Beatty and
Zambra themselves ? will
gobble this up and beg for more.
Jason Donald (out Jan,
Jonathan Cape)
It was seven years ago now that
Scottish-born South African
writer Jason Donald made a big
impact with his searing debut
literary novel, Choke Chain, a
brutal and honest dissection of
masculinity and
toxic fatherhood.
This intriguing
promises to be
very different in
terms of subject
matter, a subtle
and thought-provoking look at
issues of immigration and
asylum-seeking. The young
woman of the novel?s title is a
refugee who escapes violence in
Kenya and arrives in
London, only to discover
that things might be even
worse for her there.
Donald is a powerful
literary writer, an author
with real empathy and an
un?inching eye. DJ
Kathryn Hughes (out Jan,
Its saucy subtitle, ?Tales of the
Flesh in the age of Decorum? is
cheekily misleading. But while
this exhaustively
researched, scholarly
investigation behind the
twitching curtains of
Victorian Britain is no
peep show, Kathryn
Hughes does write with a
breezy brio which makes it
unusually good fun for a social
history. Frustrated with the
Victorians? tendency to leave a
?hole in the biographical text
where arms, legs, breast and
bellies should have been?,
Hughes ?xes her formidable
gaze on various famous body
parts, from George Eliot?s
outsized right hand to, in a
particularly absorbing and
amusing chapter, Charles
Darwin?s beard. Surely no other
essay has offered so many
inspired synonyms for facial
hair, nor explained so well its
changing social, sexual and
political identity. Hughes?
bawdy excavation of the
?bulges, dips, hollows, oozes
and itches? of her buttoned-up
subjects brings new life
? hiccups,
sneezes, bruises
and farts ? to
Victorian Britain.
I can?t think of a
recent social
history I?ve
enjoyed more. JG
John Burnside (out Feb,
Jonathan Cape)
John Burnside is a remarkable
writer, an acclaimed and
award-winning novelist, poet
and memoirist, and a deep
thinker to boot. His work has
always been groundbreaking in
a quietly ambitious way, but this
latest novel seems to be taking
that ambition up a notch or two.
Ashland & Vine is set in America
where a young and troubled ?lm
student invites an elderly
woman to take part in an
oral-history documentary.
The two strike up an
uneasy alliance, as the
older woman slowly spins
a web of narratives and
stories that take in the entirety
of twentieth century American
culture, politics and more.
Mixing the deeply personal with
the profoundly cultural, this is a
novel that will no doubt be
catching the eye of judges of
major prizes in 2017. DJ
THE BIG ISSUE / p33 / January 9-15 2017
Michael Chabon (out Jan,
He?s not quite maintained the
top-drawer quality of The
Wonder Boys and The Amazing
Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,
but they were so damned good,
what writer could? And thank
goodness, Moonglow, from
onetime upstart turned
Pulitzer-winning superstar
Michael Chabon, stands out
among his recent work as a bit
of a cracker. Chabon is messing
with us again, which is always
great fun. At his best, he has a
comparable to the
young Paul
Auster, and this
memoir from a
dying grandfather
to a narrator called Michael
Chabon, is of that calibre. It?s as
intriguing as a locked room
mystery, but in keeping with
Chabon?s canon, also has a heart
the size of an elephant. JG
Kapka Kassabova
(out Feb, Granta)
Kassabova is another brilliantly
diverse and skilful writer. Born
in Bulgaria, she now lives in the
Highlands, by way of New
Zealand and other countries.
While she?s written poetry,
essays, stories and novels, her
narrative non-?ction is most
renowned, with memoirs about
her childhood in Bulgaria and
learning the Argentine tango
both winning awards and
admirers. In this latest book
she returns to
the border zone
Bulgaria, Turkey
and Greece, a
part of the world
shaped by
centuries of myths and legends,
politics and wars, migration
and displacement. She speaks
to refugees and smugglers,
border guards and treasure
hunters, trying to get under the
skin of a place that has haunted
her since she was a child.
Fascinating stuff. DJ
Previews by Jane Graham and
Doug Johnstone @janeannie
Do you have
100k Yorkshire
17-18 June 2017
100k trek
4 person relay
100k London to Brighton
1-2 July 2017
100k trek or run
4 person relay
Sign up:
Casey A?eck excels in a powerful look at guilt and loss
arly on in Manchester by the and events in Manchester a few years back
Sea a Boston janitor called Lee with precision and exquisite fluidity ?
Chandler (played by Casey among its many achievements this ?lm is a
Affleck) receives a phone call: his masterclass in editing ? Lonergan reveals
brother Joe is seriously ill. He puts down that Lee is scarred by a tragedy from his
his snow shovel, and calmly sets about recent past, a wounding even more grievous
?nding people to cover his shifts before than the death of his brother. I won?t disclose
driving up to his childhood home, the what this is, but from the moment we see
working-class Massachusetts ?shing town Lee it?s clear he?s a deeply haunted ?gure.
of the ?lm?s title. He?s too late. In the hospLee is a man of few words, mostly delivital their mutual friend breaks down when ered in a singsong Massachusetts accent in
telling him Joe has just died. Lee focuses a lightly sardonic key, but Affleck does an
on practicalities ? the funeral, his brother?s eloquent portrayal of near-unbearable grief
business arrangements and,
and guilt, the cause of which
Lonergan hints at with grim
most bizarrely of all, his website
? before allowing himself a brief
foreboding until a devastating
howl of anger: ?Aw, fuck this,?
revelation midway in. But as
he says.
well as struggling with past
Manchester by the Sea is a ?lm
traumas, Lee has been entrusted
that probes ? with serious, unthe care of his brother?s
blinking compassion ? how
teenage son, Patrick (a stunning
people deal with the consequenportrayal of adolescent swagger
ces of the most profound of all
and mercurial mood swings by
losses. Sometimes they cope with Harvey Keitel and Zina
Lucas Hedges).
the death of a loved one with Bethune in Who?s That?
The bulk of the ?lm charts
tears, or with anger, or with ?inty
Lee?s attempt to care for Patrick.
pragmatism. Or sometimes, as the ?lm?s It could so easily have been a maudlin,
writer-director Kenneth Lonergan is bold sentimentalised exercise in male bonding.
and honest enough to acknowledge, they Instead under Lonergan?s keen direction,
don?t cope at all, and remain diminished a spiky, uncertain, sometimes abrasive
and permanently broken by the experience. relationship between two troubled souls
Shuffling between present-day scenes unfurls. Lee is less a father ?gure, more an
THE BIG ISSUE / p35 / January 9-15 2017
elder brother to the not-quite-grown-up
Patrick (a cantankerous and less conscientious version, one suspects, of the
older brother role that Joe had performed
for him).
And while Patrick is, like any other teenager, animated by all the usual hormonal
urges ? a running gag sees his attempts to
sleep with his girlfriend continually thwarted ? there are also powerful reserves of grief
never far from the surface, ready to grip him
at the most unlikely of moments. In one
especially moving scene the sight of a frozen
chicken triggers a weeping ?t over the loss
of his father. Yep, a frozen chicken. Lonergan
is honest enough a director to know that
grief never respects the bounds of ordinary
decorum and can catch us at the most unguarded and undigni?ed of moments.
There is mordant humour here, rippled
with moments of extraordinary tenderness,
but at heart this is a grave, unconsoling and
profoundly sad ?lm. The main body of the
action is set during the dying months of a
Massachusetts winter, and the ?lm meets
you with something akin to the impact of a
freezing wind blowing in the from the
Atlantic. Powerful and confronting.
Manchester by the Sea is in cinemas from
January 13
London?s BFI Southbank is hosting a two-month
season dedicated to Martin Scorsese?s ?lms, and
releasing across the UK DVD editions of two of
his earlier ?lms: Who?s That Knocking at My
Door and Alice Doesn?t Live Here Anymore. I
can think of few more thrilling ways to begin the
year than revisiting this explosive talent.
Words: Ed Lawrenson @EdwardLawrenson
No matter what, kids can
always rely on pop
ife is fragile. The comforts you
take for granted are built on
sand and the relationships you
treasure could all go to shit in the blink
of an eye. But you know that, right?
Best not to dwell on these things or you
wouldn?t bother getting out of bed in
the morning. Best to suppress all of the
fear and uncertainty that permeates
our lives and distract ourselves with
more reliable stuff like love, pop music
and the cinematic output of Eddie
Murphy between 1979 and 1989.
The stuff that teachers and parents
told you was a waste of time in
your teenage years is, in fact, the only
stuff that really
matters at all.
Because it?s the only
stuff that will consistently elicit joy
regardless of all the
other bullshit that
might be in?uencing your day-to-day
Sing Street, the
beautiful, joyous,
warm and funny
movie about girls, boys, bands and
priests in 1980s Dublin, is now available on Net?ix. Watching it during the
saddening purgatory that links
Christmas to New Year, I got a bit sentimental to be honest. Just like so many
of us, the protagonists of Sing Street
draw their inspiration from watching
pop stars have the time of their lives
on Top Of The Pops every Thursday
evening. And no one had the time of
their life more enthusiastically than
George Michael.
I was absolutely gutted about
George dying. I remember buying
Freedom on seven-inch to take to the
school disco. I remember my grandparents buying me Make It Big on vinyl for
Christmas. I remember spending a
summer in Portugal with my cousins,
listening to the Faith album on cassette
until it perished. Plus, he was a bloke
from the London suburbs with燿odgy
highlights and a liking for Italian
sportswear. In a way, he felt like a mate.
Anyway, I had been a bit confused
about all the people on social media
banging on about their favourite celebrities dying as if they didn?t have
enough of their own
shit going on without
boo-hooing about the
demise of complete
strangers. But now I
realise that these
celebs aren?t always
complete strangers.
Through their art
they are able to form
a closer emotional
bond with us than
many of the people
we are actually mates with in real life.
For some it?s Bowie, for others it?s
Ronnie Corbett but for me, I now
realise, it was George all along.
So anyway, thank you Sing Street for
reminding me that pop music is one of
the very few things you can always rely
on. Or, as George once put it, you?ve got
to have some faith in the sound ? it?s
the one good thing that we?ve got.
?For some
it?s Bowie,
for others it?s
Ronnie Corbett
but for me it
was George
all along?
Sing Street is on Net?ix
Words: Sam Delaney @DelaneyMan
THE BIG ISSUE / p36 / January 9-15 2017
It?s fair to say that
2016 was a truly
terrible year. Let?s start
2017 with optimism
that things can only
improve. With that in
mind, here are some
things to kick you
out of that postChristmas stupor and
?re your synapses
back into action. Luc
Tuymans: Glasses
(until March 26,
Trafalgar Square,
uk) features a series
of portraits by the
Belgian painter of
people wearing glasses
(Lumumba, above).
His focus is on how
the viewer perceives
things, including
everyday items
such as spectacles
that normally
appear ?invisible?.
Google, Oculus
Rift and others are
betting the farm on
us sporting a different
kind of eyewear in
the near future ?
namely virtual reality
headsets. Virtually
Real (January 12-14,
Piccadilly, London;
uk) is a partnership
between the Royal
Academy Schools
and VR headset
manufacturer HTC
Vive that lets you
view and create in a
virtual space. Expect
long queues to get the
(expensive) headsets
and an immediate
feeling of imbalance
and motion sickness
until your eyes and
sense of perception
readjust to the
new reality.
Another form of
looking is at Cameras
in the Sky (January
14-March 26, Oxford;,
which has a range of
aerial photographs
of Oxford and
Oxfordshire that
have been drawn
from a unique
Aero?lms collection
Lust for
held by the Historic
A new way of looking
at both the familiar and
the past. The New
Poet?s Prize (January
11, Southbank, London;
southbankcentre. is precisely that
? given to poets aged
between 16 and 22.
Winning poets Imogen
Cassels, Jenny Danes,
Theophilus Kwek and
Phoebe Stuckes (as
well as competition
judge, Helen Mort)
will be reading
pieces and answering
questions. It is free
to attend but you are
advised to book your
place online.
If your inner Clarkson
is itching to get out,
there is plenty to
rev your engine in
the Midlands. The
Performance Car
Show (January
14-15, Birmingham;
performance boasts
the largest indoor
racetrack in the
UK where you can
watch the fastest
cars in the world
roaring around.
If that?s not
enough, Autosport
(January 12-15,
overlaps in the
same venue but has
a slightly longer run
time. See fast cars,
iconic cars and get
a peek at what the
cars of the future
will both look like
and do.
Finally, Picturing
Faith: An
Exhibition of the
Methodist Modern
Art Collection
(January 14?April
23, Canterbury;
canterburymuseums. has over 40
pieces of Christian
art on display by
artists including
Elisabeth Frink,
Edward Burra and
Patrick Heron.
Eamonn Forde
ove, lust, desire, death: all pretty
standard fare when it comes to
opera. This month sees these
eternal themes entwined in two
extraordinary modern operas, both taking
place in London and both featuring some of
the world?s most renowned artists. It?s going
to be quite some start to 2017.
George Benjamin?s Written on Skin is
one of the most highly acclaimed operatic
creations of the 21st century. Based on a
medieval razo (the background story to a
troubadour song), Martin Crimp?s text tells
the tale of a powerful nobleman who com- Written on Skin returns to the Royal Opera House
missions an artist to celebrate his life by
creating an illuminated manuscript. His (and eventually defeated) by the debauchery
repressed wife becomes enamoured with taking place around him. It?s an absurd
the artist and emboldened towards her story, and Ligeti?s brilliant musical genius
abusive husband. Benjamin?s music is only heightens this absurdity, from the
magical ? sparse, subtle and tensely impas- opening prelude for 12 tuned motor-horns
sioned ? and has garnered the highest to the astounding coloratura of the Chief of
critical praise as well as a cartful of awards. the Secret Police (a soprano disguised as a
This run at the Royal Opera House is brightly coloured bird).
their ?rst revival of the original
Bringing all this riotous ramproduction, which premiered in
bunctiousness to life is a creative
Aix-en-Provence in 2012 and
partnership with a long history
of successful semi-stagings: Sir
received its Covent Garden debut
Simon Rattle and Peter
the following year. Directed by
Katie Mitchell and conducted by
Sellars. Sellars is one of the most
the composer, it features two
highly regarded directors in
thirds of the original love trianopera and worked closely with
Ligeti in the 1990s. Rattle is
gle: baritone Christopher Purves
and soprano Barbara Hannigan At the helm: Sir Simon Rattle again at the helm of the London
Symphony Orchestra ? in
as the Protector and his wife
Agn鑣. Countertenor Iestyn Davies is the anticipation of becoming its music director
artist, and Victoria Simmonds and Mark this coming September ? and conducts a cast
Padmore make up the small but perfectly including bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka and
formed cast. With just ?ve performances countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. 2017
(January 13, 18, 23, 27 and 30), don?t miss is beginning with a bang!
this remarkable work of art.
I?d be tempted to say the same about the
semi-staged production of Gy鰎gy Ligeti?s LAST NOTE...
Le Grand Macabre taking place at the Iestyn Davies is one of several classical
Barbican Centre (January 14 and 15). Coined musicians to be awarded honours in the New
an ?anti-anti-opera? and based on a play by Year?s list. The countertenor receives an MBE
Belgian dramatist Michel de Ghelderode, it for services to music, for which baritone Bryn
is a fantastical, irreverent apocalyptic fable Terfel is awarded a knighthood, and
about ? you guessed it ? love, lust, desire and percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie receives
Death. Death with a capital ?D? this time, for the Order of the Companions of Honour.
he is the principal character, come to bring
the world to its end... only he gets delayed Words: David Fay @themerelistener
THE BIG ISSUE / p37 / January 9-15 2017
To advertise: Jenny Bryan /
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THE BIG ISSUE / p38 / January 9-15 2017
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THE BIG ISSUE / p39 / January 9-15 2017
To advertise: Jenny Bryan /
Were found hiding under some rubbish bins
now safe and looking for a forever home.
Every summer we rescue hundreds of cats like these and usually they are not so
healthy. The feral and abandoned cats of Ibiza have only our charity Care4Cats to
help them. Please help us to prevent thousands of cats from being born on the island
by giving donations for our trap/neuter/release Scheme. We then also rehome many
hundreds of the cats which are tame and should not be living on the streets of Ibiza.
We also have a Sponsor programme for some cats that are under our care and they are
looked after until they can be found a home. Information on this Sponsor programme
can be found on our website with photographs.
After 17 years of working with local vets, we are now trying to buy our own veterinary
clinic which will then be a permanent clinic for these cats and a welcome centre for
our charity. We have raised just over ?100,000 and we still need ?200,000 to
?nalise this project.
Please donate on line at or by
sending a cheque to Care 4 Cats, Brimar House
East Street, West Chiltington, West Sussex, RH20 2JY.
For more information contact us on
or telephone us on 01798 812300
Registered charity : 1106345
People want housing. The government doesn?t care. It only
believes in selling houses for speculative gain by banks and
developers. It doesn?t insist on their providing affordable
rented homes for fear of lowering their pro?ts; So we?re doing
it ourselves.
The picture show low-running-cost completely insulated ?ats,
triple-glazed, photo-voltaic-powered. Under?oor-heated, that
we have produced in Bristol. Invest with us to produce more eventual interest of 3%. t Facebook: AEOBhousepeople
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THE BIG ISSUE / p40 / January 9-15 2017
To advertise: Jenny Bryan /
However, this dog was lucky as we took him in and
lovingly nursed him back to health and happiness.
But there are many more poor souls out there on the
streets of Sri Lanka, clinging to life, that desperately
need our help. We are currently caring for over 1000
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to my song on youtube. Best for people who have no money,
no job, nowhere to live, no friends. This is to inspire people that
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Please search ?This Is My Story, Dorcas Musoko? on youtube.
The Heron
Tel: 001 305 743 4129
THE BIG ISSUE / p42 / January 9-15 2017
To advertise: Jenny Bryan /
Flexible Summer Roles - Lead, Mentor
& Inspire Young People on NCS
NCS The Challenge is a three to four week
programme that brings together young
people from different backgrounds, builds
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The Challenge is the UK?s leading charity
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Our roles are suitable for anyone with
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Ashley Crathern, Jane Fielding
Lorna Gavin, Zack Gothelf
Rebecca Limer, Tessa Livock
and everyone at Gowling WLG LLP for their marvellous
support in 2016, and we send our very best wishes
for a successful 2017.
designer jewellery
925 Sterling Silver
stud earrings made
with sparkling
Bermuda Blue crystal
from SWAROVSK �.
Available from
THE BIG ISSUE / p43 / January 9-15 2017
a pair plus
John Bird and Gordon Roddick
Group executive chairman
Nigel Kershaw
Managing director
Russell Blackman
Editor Paul McNamee
Deputy editor Vicky Carroll
Senior reporter Adam Forrest
Features editor Steven MacKenzie
Social media editor Andrew Burns
Web content manager Theo Hooper
Books editor Jane Graham
Television editor Adrian Lobb
Film Edward Lawrenson
Geek guru Simon Brew
Radio Robin Ince
Music Malcolm Jack and David Fay
Special correspondent Mark Hamill
Business support manager Robert White
Art director Scott Maclean
Designer Jim Ladbury
Production editor Ross McKinnon
Production journalist Sarah Reid
Production co-ordinator Terry Cimini
ADVERTISING 020 7907 6637
Advertising director Andrea Mason
Display Brad Beaver
Classi?ed and Recruitment 020 7907 6635
Jenny Bryan & Imogen Williams
Marketing and communications director
Lara McCullagh
Chief executive
Stephen Robertson 020 7526 3458
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Distribution / London: 020 7526 3200
Printed at William Gibbons. Published weekly
by The Big Issue, 3rd Floor, 113-115 Fonthill
Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3HH
Cover of the
Year 2015
PPA Scotland
Cover of the
Year 2015
Paul McNamee
British editor of the year 2016, BSME
Helmed by Oscar-winning Italian director Paolo Sorrentino
(The Great Beauty, This Must Be the Place), Sky Atlantic?s
The Young Pope was one of the most talked-about series
of 2016.
Starring Jude Law in one of his ?nest performances yet,
The Young Pope took the world by storm with its controversial
subject matter, stunning performances, epic sets, dark humour,
atmospheric mood and gripping plot.
The Young Pope follows the early days of Pope Pius XIII
(Jude Law), a young American elected to the highest office
in the Catholic church after a failed plot by his mentor. It soon
becomes clear this is no ordinary pope, with his outrageous
demands and rebellious ways.
Co-starring Diane Keaton, James
Cromwell and Javier C醡ara, the 10-part
series is out now on a four-disc set on
DVD, Blu-ray and digital.
Courtesy of Dazzler Media we have
?ve sets to be won on DVD. To enter,
tell us: who plays Pope Pius XIII in
The Young Pope?
Enter at
THE BIG ISSUE / p44 / January 9-15 2017
Send your answers
as the subject to
or post to The Big Issue,
43 Bath Street, Glasgow,
G2 1HW. Include your name
and address. Closing date
is January 22. Include OPT
OUT if you don?t want to
receive updates from The
Big Issue. We will not pass
your details to any third
party. For full T&Cs see
There is just one simple rule
in sudoku: each row, column
and 3 x 3 box must contain
the numbers one to nine.
This is a logic puzzle and you
should not need to guess.
The solution will be revealed
next week.
To win Only Fools and Horses: The Peckham
Archives by Rod Jones, mark where you think
the ball is, cut out and send to: Spot the Ball
(1238), second ?oor, 43 Bath St, Glasgow,
G2 1HW, by January 17. Include your name,
address and phone number. Enter by email: send grid
position (eg A1) to
the Ball
v Wales,
1. Instruction received
while travelling to
the match? (8)
6. They were wise to
get the ?rst edition of
the publication (4)
8. Another slip of
the tongue (4)
9. Poignant exchange
in Torbay (8)
10. Illumination in the
changing room? (5,8)
11. In Fife a real
feeling of terror (4)
13. Choice tool (4)
17. Suspicious
affair a comic is
involved in? (5,8)
20. This suit appears
without a stitch (8)
21. Wind up with
a dance? (4)
22. He had included right
number of cattle (4)
23. It is no use going
unshod (8)
To win a Chambers Dictionary, send completed crosswords (either cryptic
or quick) to: The Big Issue Crossword (1238), second ?oor, 43 Bath Street,
Glasgow, G2 1HW by January 17. Include your name, address and phone
number. Issue 1236 winner is DW Caldwell from Kidderminster.
2. After work I
consumed a drug (6)
3. Turn over the
of the hat (7)
4. Force parliamentarian
that is left out (5)
5. It?s increasing
yet still being
destroyed by ?re! (5,2)
6. French painter, one
in the mountain (5)
7. Pulverised the earth (6)
12. It is said to drum the
three in a tub (3-1-3)
14. Form of heating
not coming from
outside? (7)
15. Ineffectual, turning it
into a form of fuel (6)
16. Judge gives
fool a letter (6)
18. Being famous,
made a record (5)
19. Declares with no
authority (3-2)
1. Capital of Manitoba (8)
6. Pulpy mass (4)
8. London statue (4)
9. Not frightened (8)
10. Locality (13)
11. Anthem (4)
13. Intertwine (4)
17. Australian state (3,5,5)
20. Hopeful disposition (8)
21. Be in a huff (4)
22. Annoying child (4)
23. Good-looking (8)
2. Middle Eastern
country (6)
3. Bouquet (7)
4. Vertical (5)
5. By degrees (7)
6. Jollity (5)
7. Former name for
Ho Chi Minh City (6)
12. Nurture (7)
14. Vehicle frame (7)
15. Condiment (6)
16. Madhouse (6)
18. Rapid (5)
19. Belonging to mankind (5)
Issue 1237 solution
CRYPTIC: Across ? 1 Despot; 4 Myopic; 9 Psalter; 10 Annan; 11 Clergyman; 12 Owe; 13 Thunderclap; 18 Cog; 19 Nicaragua; 21 Rower; 22 Linseed; 23 Doyley; 24 Accede.
Down ? 1 Depict; 2 Shame; 3 Octagon; 5 Yearn; 6 Pandora; 7 Cancel; 8 Trumpet call; 14 Highway; 15 Chronic; 16 Scored; 17 Handle; 19 Nerve; 20 Geese.
QUICK: Across ? 1 Accost; 4 Stylus; 9 Sustain; 10 Waxen; 11 Cacophony; 12 Caw; 13 Sculpturing; 18 Law; 19 Candlemas; 21 Cello; 22 Tax-free; 23 Depute; 24 Edited.
Down ? 1 Alsace; 2 Cusec; 3 Scalpel; 5 Tawny; 6 Lexicon; 7 Sinewy; 8 Unfortunate; 14 Cowslip; 15 Relaxed; 16 Placid; 17 Ascend; 19 Clout; 20 Merit.
THE BIG ISSUE / p45 / January 9-15 2017
Photos: Action Images
Cornell Jarea, 43
?I went to Bryan Adams? studio when he
was photographing vendors. He?s a nice guy?
Stonehenge. I would like
to see other parts of Britain,
and Stonehenge looks so
interesting and mysterious.
I?m outside Sainsbury?s
on Sloane Avenue,
Chelsea, London,
11am-6pm daily
started selling the
magazine in this part of
Chelsea last year. It?s an
interesting place because there
are lots of grand buildings but
there are also lots of council
houses, too. So you meet
wealthy people, middle-class
people and some poorer people
? it?s a good mix. All kinds
of people ask me about my
situation and offer me advice.
I came to the UK to work
in 2013. I come from a city
not too far from Bucharest
called Ploiesti. There was not
much for me there, not many
opportunities, so I came to the
UK to try my luck. And I got a
construction job, as the traffic
marshal on a construction site
at London Bridge station, near
The Shard.
It had allowed me to
stay in a room at a B&B, and
things were going well but
unfortunately that job didn?t
last. So I became homeless,
and I started to drink. Things
have been difficult. I have been
sleeping in doorways and other
little spots that are tucked
away, here and there, where I
can keep warm.
But I started selling
The Big Issue and things
started to become better. As
well as some money, it gave
me a sense of purpose, some
pattern to the day. And it has
also helped me to cut the
drinking out. Life is hard when
you drink but when you get
your head clear it de?nitely
looks brighter.
I would like to stay in
London. I got a glimpse of
what life can be like here,
and I like the city ? it is a
wonderful place. I?ve been to
St Paul?s and to the Houses of
Parliament. I?ve also been to
THE BIG ISSUE / p46 / January 9-15 2017
the studio of Bryan Adams ?
the singer and photographer.
He was taking photos of Big
Issue vendors, which was cool.
He?s a really nice guy.
If I can build a life here
I would like to do some
?shing in different parts
of Britain. I used to love
to go ?shing in Romania.
I would ?nd a nice spot, sit
and relax, listen to the birds.
And maybe catch some carp.
I would like to ?sh in
Scotland, or a nice lake in the
north, or maybe some place
along the Thames.
But at the moment I
can?t afford the rod. So I
will keep working hard and
earn some money and see
what life brings me. I always
Words: Adam Forrest
Photo: Travis Hodges
?I won the 2015 Flirty Fiction Prima
Magazine and Mills and Boon
competition. The prize was �0, a
three page feature in the magazine and
the chance to work with Mills and Boon
on my book. Also I have three stories in
three anthologies with other authors ? we?ve raised
almost �000 for cancer charities?
Rachel Dove, West Yorkshire.
?My total earnings so far are
Victor Wright, West Midlands
?I have been publishing my own niche
website for circus critique. This work
has led to recognition in my field, with
work offers ranging from writing book
reviews for scholarly journals to running
master classes for young people. I have had
two paid writing residencies at festivals this year and
have been employed to write tweets. Payments total
�75, plus expenses for travel, tickets to events and
payments in kind in the form of review copy books.?
Katherine Kavanagh, West Midlands
?As a result of my cricket articles, I
have been elected into The Cricket
Writers Club ? an organisation that
counts experienced journalists among
its members. One of the perks of this
membership is a press card that gives me entry into
all of England?s cricket stadium press boxes.?
Martin Read, West Sussex
?I?ve been published in The Guardian
and Good Life earning �0. And
now I?ve got my first book published
by Bloomsbury called MOB Rule:
Lessons Learned by a Mother of Boys.
The Writers Bureau course provided me with
structure, stopped my procrastination but most
importantly it provided the impetus to try something
Hannah Evans, Winchester
?When I first saw my words in print it
was life changing. Someone else had
read my work, believed in it, paid for
it, and put it out there for others to
see. As more articles made it to press,
my confidence grew and I found I wanted to inject
some of myself into my writing. At the time of writing
this I have received �197 for my work.?
Kris Roberts, Somerset
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? !#???!!?#? ? ??????? % ??? +
What our students say:
The Writers Bureau
Dept SZ9117
Manchester, M3 1LE
Years of
Members of BILD
and ABCC
?????. 34?32)??&??%??????/?!? ????%? ? ????? +!?? ??? ? ? ?????%%
?? ?????????????????!!???# ???# !?????#??!???????????%%%+% ??? !?# ??#+???
First events and Memberships on sale now!
Full programme launch Wed 18 Jan.
Glasgow Film Festival is an operating name of Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT).
GFT is registered as a charity (No SC005932) with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
rite attitude. I never believed for a moment
that things were good. Thatcherism was based on that
?trickle down? idea ? that everyone would eventually
get some ? and I always knew that was bullshit. I was
incredibly ambitious, but for myself not for money, and
I was never, never a fucking Thatcherite.?
This afternoon, he will visit the recording studio to
tinker with the latest of his seductive jazz-pop songs.
If inspiration doesn?t strike, he?ll smoke some grass
and wait for what he self-mockingly calls ?that conduit
moment?. But before we sink back into the creamy
upholstery and cosy decadence of his new Jag, there is
one small matter to clear up. The toilet seat, we never
did find out what happened to the toilet seat.
Reluctantly, George Michael reveals his sinful secret.
?Wiping too vigorously,? he says, then laughs like an
escaped lifer.
?Feels good to be free.?
/ p
/ anuary 9-15 201
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