Our vendors: Andy (Big Issue North, Sheffield, UK)

By Christian Lisseman, Big Issue North

Last time we spoke, you were sofa surfing. Where are you living now?

I’ve got a flat. That was great. My mum came and helped decorate. It took me a while to settle in. It took me about 10 days to sleep in my bed because I had been sleeping on floors and on sofas for about five years. It will be a year in July that I have lived there.

How’s it gone in the new flat?

It’s been good. I’ve had some trouble with my rent, but it’s all about getting used to it, isn’t it? And my mum always said: “Always pay your rent. Someone will always feed you.” I went from five years staying with friends and just living day to day to having this responsibility. I’m doing good now though, I’m determined not to end up on the streets again.

What else is going on in your life now?

Well, I’ve started to look after my sister’s dog a bit, because she’s a nurse over on the spinal unit at Northern General. He’s called Charlie and he’s a King Charles spaniel crossed with a poodle. He’s only 11 months old and I have him all week sometimes. It’s good to have the responsibility of looking after him. It’s hard work, but I love him to bits. When he was staying, we camped out in the front room. I slept on the floor in the same room as him, while he slept in his bed. I didn’t want to leave him. He had a better bed than me!

Are you tempted to get a dog?

I am tempted. But you need to have loads of time on your hands. It’s not fair to leave them at home on their own and I wouldn’t bring him out onto the pitch. I know that I could do well with a dog, because some people only buy off vendors who have dogs. But I wouldn’t do it.

Did you vote in the election?

No. I’m sick of it all. I think we should all get together and start a new party. I’d like to be a political leader in the future.

What would your priorities be?

Put it this way – there wouldn’t be that many people homeless. What annoys me is that you’ve got all these empty buildings and yet they build more buildings and leave the other ones empty. I don’t get it. Surely when there are empty buildings, polish them up a bit and move people in.

What makes you happy?

Sheffield Wednesday winning and sunshine.

What makes you sad?

Sheffield Wednesday losing and rain. And war.

Why do you still sell the magazine?

It’s something to do and it offers me some structure. And I love the camaraderie with the customers. I’m part of the fixtures and fittings of Sheffield now. I don’t do as many hours on my pitch now as I used to – just a few hours a day. Hopefully one day I’ll wind up doing this. Maybe I should write a biography. I’ve had a really amazing life. I did start writing it once and a mate of mine read it and said I should carry on. Maybe I will now. I’m not sure what the next chapter in my life is going to be, but I’ll let you know.