By Adam Forrest, The Big Issue
I’ve been selling the magazine here for a few years now. It’s a great place, the west end of Glasgow, and I’ve slowly built up a good customer base here. I really like having a good chat with my customers, hopefully breaking a few stereotypes along the way.
When I started selling things weren’t going at all well. I had split up with my partner about 18 months after we had moved in together. My problems mounted because of addiction issues. My gambling was really difficult for a while, but I managed to get over that. Then I was staying at a hostel and going through a lot of benefit sanctions, and I got really sick of all that.
So I decided to start doing The Big Issue, earn my own money and make my own way. I think a lot of my friends and customers have noticed big improvements in me since I’ve been selling the magazine. At the moment I’m staying with family again, temporarily, and I’m preparing to start college this month.
I’m going to be doing an “access to humanities” course at Glasgow Clyde College, which will hopefully allow me to get the qualifications in things like history, geography and sociology that I need to go on to university. I’d really like to become a counsellor, eventually. With some of the things I’ve been through I think I’d have a lot to offer other people. In the meantime I’ll combine studying with selling the magazine.
Last year I was featured in a lot of press stories after I bought one of my customers breakfast. Joe was someone who would stop to talk and always bought me coffees, so I decided to repay the favour and buy him breakfast at the café across the road. He shared it on Facebook and soon my friends were saying to me, “Hey, you’ve gone viral!”
One of my other customers is the great graphic novelist Mark Millar. We got talking when he was coming into the library for graphic novels. I’ve been a big fan of the genre since I first read Daredevil when I was about 12. I actually got Mark to sign a copy of his book Jupiter’s Children. He’s a very down-to-earth guy.
Aside from earning money and helping me put my life back together, one of the best things about the job is getting to know people better. I’ve had great chats and support from folk here – too many to mention. But big thanks to them all.
Pitch: outside Hillhead Library, Byres Road, Glasgow (Mon-Fri, 10am -5pm)
Graphic novels. I like stuff by a lot of comic book authors: Mark Millar, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Frank Miller and Warren Ellis. My all-time favourite has to be Neil Gaiman’s series The Sandman.
My favourite place
The Botanic Gardens. It’s a lovely spot in the west end of Glasgow where you can start a walk along the River Kelvin to Kelvingrove Park. Very peaceful.