26 November 2020 #625


A movie star has fallen asleep at Big Issue writer Steven MacKenzie’s feet. Back in 2019, he visited the set of A Christmas Gift from Bob in London to capture a behind-the-scenes paw-trait of its leading light Street Cat Bob, and his human pal James Bowen.

From stray to superstar, Bob’s story has touched and inspired millions. The moggy was famously adopted by James, a former Big Issue vendor and busker who became a bestselling author thanks to his life-affirming friendship and adventures with Bob. Now comes the release of their second film – a heartwarming follow up to 2016’s box-office success A Street Cat Named Bob.

While Bob sadly passed away in June, his story continues to shine a light. “Bob connected with anybody who had ever read our story,” says James. “It’s joyous to see a celebration of Bob’s life…but at the same time it does tug at the heart strings, knowing that I’ll never be able to stroke him again or high-five him again.”

Also in this edition:

•  We deep dive into The Great Barrier Reef for a spectacular once-a-year event when the coral really comes alive.

•  NZ crooner Marlon Williams talks acting, new music and discovering his new favourite band on Spotify – then making an album with them.

•  We meet the food-relief volunteers and organisations supporting vulnerable Australians this Christmas.

•  Eleven years on from modern classic Jasper Jones, we chat to bestselling author Craig Silvey about his new coming-of-age story, Honeybee.

•  We celebrate the power of pets: Kathy Evans pens the tale of Bunty Pudding, her dog who doubles as a counsellor at a residential care home.

•  In Tastes Like Home, Free to Feed’s Mashid Babzartabi shares her recipe for Zeytoon Parvardeh, the Iranian olive, pomegranate and walnut dish her aunty used to make for her.

•  From Napoleon III to Teddy Roosevelt to Humphrey Bogart, the Panama hat has long represented suave cool. In The Big Picture, photographer Roff Smith meets the Ecuadorian artisans who expertly weave the iconic hat.

•  And James Bowen introduces kittens Bandit and Gizmo, who are helping him cope with the passing of his “best friend” Bob the Street Cat.

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