Interview: campus Big Issue seller moves to Cambridge

Martin, when did you first become a Big Issue salesman?

About three or four years ago. I was in the building trade until the trade ended for me and I found myself homeless and doing Big Issues.

When did you get Issue [Martin’s dog]?

Just after I started doing the Big Issue! [laughs] Hence why her name is Issue.

Why have you chosen to go on to Cambridge?

I’ve been on campus for two years and I like Cambridge. I’m going to be living in a caravan there. I’ve been living in a caravan here, but I haven’t got electricity or gas because that’s not on the site. I’ve bought a boat off Steve. I can use it to get to my new pitch, sell my Big Issues and come back to my caravan by boat.

To me, it makes common sense: I’ve got gas, I’ve got electricity, I’ve got hot and cold running water, which are things I haven’t got at the moment. There’ll be showers on site and I’ve got a shower in the caravan so that the dog can be showered if she gets in the river, which she probably will do. People are going to say things along the lines of: “How did you get to work this morning” and I’m going to say, “That’s my yacht over there” with a pirate flag on the top!

Will you miss UEA?

Yeah, I’ve enjoyed it here, I’ve liked it here. I’d like to thank everybody for their support because without them I wouldn’t have the yacht.

You’d be surprised how many people that live in Cambridge come to this university. A lot of people, they don’t spot me, they spot the dog, they go “’scuse me, do you do UEA?” and I go “Yeah” and they go “Oh, we spotted the dog” and I’m like, “Right, thanks for that one” [laughs].

Amelia also spoke to Steve, who is taking over from Martin.

When are you going to start working here?

Just after the Easter break.

What’s your dog’s name?

Poppy, yeah, beautiful little dog.

When did you start selling the Big Issue?

About three years ago. I’ve been selling it in Norwich near Guild Hall hill.

Are you looking forward to moving here? Are there any extra perks?

I don’t know yet, we’ll soon find out. One perk is I only live over in Cringleford so I can just walk the dog through the woods past the lake and I’m at work, aren’t I?


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August 2022
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