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29 September 2020

Chris V

Photo by Ross Swanborough

I am most known for my sense of humour. It is pretty deadly! I love to laugh, and I love to make other people laugh, including all the staff at The Big Issue. They have told me that I bring sunshine into the office when I visit – and I do. If I had to describe myself I would definitely say that I am cheeky and mischievous. My catch phrase is “I better shut up before I get myself into trouble!” 

I am very close to my family and see my mum and sisters regularly. Every Sunday I go round to Mum’s place for tea and games. I am the king of games, especially Connect 4. I love seeing my sisters also, especially now that I have a niece and nephew. I hold them until they fall asleep in my arms, and I bought both my sisters their first prams for their babies.

Growing up was not always easy. I was bullied at school, but I was lucky to have my family. I have never been able to do everything that other people do and when I was young, I had a series of operations to remove tumours on my brain. This affected my vision. I still have regular scans, but it has been a long time since I’ve had any more tumours.

I live in a share house with four other people. We all have different disabilities, so we have extra support to assist us with the day to day. I think I make a good housemate because I am polite and kind, and very trustworthy. I found out about The Big Issue from two of the people I live with, Eileen and Josh, so I decided to give it a go. It was the first job I ever had. I was nervous the first time, and it was very hit and miss. Then I started to sell magazines out the front of Hilton IGA every Friday. The staff are very positive and always wish me luck. I have lots of regular customers, and they ask where I am when I’m not there. They can’t get enough of me! I am very grateful for the support of everyone there.

When I started at The Big Issue it was for the money. I have bought heaps of stuff for my room, including a new TV and new furniture. I still love to earn the money, but I also love to see my customers. On pitch I am very loud. I tell people knock‑knock jokes and make up songs. I am a really hard worker and I also have a pamphlet run. I have so many hobbies. I love cooking, especially sweet stuff. My favourite is pumpkin pie. I also enjoy playing golf and am about to start going to the gym. I paint a lot and recently have been doing mosaics. I go to the Men’s Shed once a week and build different things out of wood. I grow my own vegetables and my dream is to one day have my own gardening business. For now, I am going to keep selling magazines, and keep entertaining my customers. I am going to continue to go with the flow and be positive. It’s important to not let life get you down.

Interview by Andrew Joske
Chris sells The Big Issue at The Hilton IGA, Perth.