I buy the Big Issue each week, a habit that dates back to my drama class 14 years ago at school, when we did a term's work focussing on homelessness. I buy from Steve, who stands outside Milligan's near the Haymarket in Newcastle. The two of us usually have a chat about our various health problems / the weather / life in general.
Back in September, the King Blues' lead singer, Jonny 'Itch' Fox (he wasn't christened that, it's his nickname) guest-edited the Big Issue and appeared on the front cover. For those unfamiliar with the King Blues, they're a band who could perhaps be best described as "sort of ska-punk-reggae". Jonny Fox used to be homeless and sold the Big Issue himself for a while, so when the band became successful, he was asked to guest-edit an issue about punk in the UK.
I'm something of a fan of the King Blues, so I eagerly trotted across to Milligan's to purchase my copy from Steve. The ensuing events went something like this...
Steve: I'm not sure who this is.
Me: That's Jonny Fox, he sings for the King Blues. He used to sell the Big Issue.
Steve: Really? That's good to know.
[Suddenly, three girls in the current Newcastle uniform of long tunic top, tight black leggings and ballet pumps made a beeline for Steve, with three shy adolescent males in tow.
I'm allowed to call them girls; they can't have been older than sixteen.]
Girl 1: Three copies of the Big Issue please!
Girl 2: Yay! Johnny Fox!
[Males stay quiet. Steve hands over the Big Issue and collects the cash with a slightly bemused air. Girls depart eagerly chattering and pointing at the front page.]
Me: And, apparently, they've got quite a fan club.
More news on my trip to see the King Blues last Tuesday coming soon...
January 2024's Lonks
3 weeks ago