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21 November 2013

Scott

"I’m 24, from the northern NSW coast – the Byron Bay region. I’d been working as an apprentice in a bakerypatisserie, but two shops shut down on me and it took five years to get 18 months through the apprenticeship. It was a bit of a passion, but after what happened, I lost interest.

I’ve been in Sydney for a bit over seven months. Arriving in Sydney was pretty shocking to start off with, but it got better after I started learning where places were and what services there were. I pick up on things like that and I don’t forget. I’m good at remembering certain things. I am autistic – but there are so many different degrees along the autism spectrum. I was probably able to endure 24 hours walking because of my autism – in the 24-hour Cancer Council Relay for Life. I’ve done the whole thing twice now, and I’ve done the 18-hour option five times.

I saw the Big Issue TV ad and I needed the money. I started last July, and they were quite shocked on my first day when I sold 20 magazines and came back for more. I’ve worked pretty hard and have quickly moved up through the ranks. You start on a Trainee badge, just so you learn how things operate, and after a few weeks you go up to the green Graduate badge. Soon I was selling more, so I was promoted to the orange Advanced badge.

I was working pretty hard, via the fast-track program, and I soon went up to Senior – the blue badge. They predicted the Christmas edition would be the biggest of the year, and it was – I worked hard and it pushed me up to Advanced Senior – the yellow badge.
I sell at Woolworths in Potts Point, getting there around 7am and staying as late as possible. Saturday is my biggest day; I’ve sold my personal best on a Saturday. I line the magazines up everywhere, and once it starts it doesn’t stop. People come up one after the other to buy them. I still get to chat to people – I’ve got a few really good regulars who buy a copy every time they see it. Some of them have dogs, so I keep a supply of dog snacks and give the dogs a feed.

I love juggling – I taught myself how to do it from the internet. I like to be technically correct, not just aiming, say, at juggling five at once. I’ve taught myself how to juggle balls and rings, but not clubs. I don’t juggle on my pitch – I’m there to work. Besides, it could be a bit dangerous with people walking around, and also the cars. Juggling is a sport, but the other thing I’m trying to get back into is tap-dancing. I want to juggle and tap at the same time! On a rolla bolla – a piece of board balanced on top of a pipe. And I want to do it en pointe (dancing on the toe tip), but it’s really dangerous and I’d need a trained ballet teacher. So far I haven’t been able to get a teacher interested – they say I’m crazy!”

Interview by Interview by Peter Ascot/ photograph by Peter Holcroft
Scott sells The Big Issue in Macleay St, Potts Point, Sydney