Marc Matthew’s story
My name is Marc. I started selling The Big Issue fifteen years ago.
Devizes is a small market town dead in the centre of Wiltshire, 25 miles from Stonehenge. It’s only a small town but there are a lot of things to do. We’ve got canals, big locks, two marinas, the millennium White Horse, and up at Roundway Hill there’s information about the Civil War, the battle that took place there and Oliver’s Castle.
I was born in Devizes and I’ve been a Big Issue vendor here for 15 years now. I know, literally, everybody. A friend of mine was selling in Devizes and then he died. Someone else took over but he got another job so it was handed over to me.
I’m pretty well known in the town and have quite a few regulars, which keeps me at a steady income - people like to see that you’re making an effort. A few buy when they can and then you get the odd folk who come up and chat. I’ve had other odd jobs like leaflet delivery and a bit of work on motorbikes, there’s not always a lot of work in Devizes.
I’ve done all sorts of living, mostly on traveller sites, but I’ve also squatted and lived horse-drawn for a bit. I’ve roughed it in the woods up in town. Sometimes where I slept was by choice, sometimes it wasn’t!
It was just me and Macy, my little Jack Russell. She’s got her own fan club. She used to belong to my sister, who died about eleven years ago. I took Macy on after my niece couldn’t look after her anymore because she had a full-time job and a littl’un. We wanted to keep her in the family.
My longest passion has been the Blues. I started a little stall at the car boot sale back in 2013 where I did a little bit of buying and selling of vinyl. My top sellers back then was probably the older American Mississippi Delta stuff and other 1930s or ’40s stuff. There is such a wide range of blues and different stuff appeals to different people, from old British blues to old American blues to modern revival.
In 2014 I started my own business buying and selling vinyl records. The Big Issue Foundation were really helpful and suggested that I apply for some funding to help me get my business off the ground. Through The Vendor Support Fund, funded by people such as you, I was able to get business cards and banners for my business. The banners were great for letting people know I’m here and the business cards meant that people knew how to reach me easily.
“Today I handed in my tabard. Today I left The Big Issue to work full-time on my Vinyl record business. Today I regained by independence. All this was made possible because you decided to invest in me, so thank you!” 29/06/2016
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