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10 September 2018

Deejay

Deejay

Meet Deejay.

He sells The Big Issue in Toowong Shopping Centre, Southbank Station and outside Avid Reader, West End, Brisbane

This is his story. 


Growing up in Brisbane I enjoyed school – it was pretty easy for me. My favourite memory from when I was a kid was going to Sea World. I loved seeing all the animals. One morning we got up at four o’clock to walk along the beach and watch the sunrise. I left school in Year 9 because life threw me a few curveballs, but I eventually went to TAFE to do a Certificate II in Woodwork. We’d make timberwork, all different stuff. I ended up doing an apprenticeship.

I’ve always found it difficult to find work. I’ve had bad luck after bad luck. I heard about The Big Issue from friends – Ernie and Graham, two long-term Big Issue vendors from Ipswich and West End. I started selling the magazine, but had a break for about two years because I’d made some bad choices and wasn’t doing so well personally… But I’m back again and doing fantastic. I came back because I was short on money and it’s nice to get a chance to earn my own money. I missed The Big Issue when I was gone… I really like to work outside and to have conversations with my customers. I also like coming to the vendor breakfast every fortnight. There’s great food and I get to see everyone!

I am in my own house at Woodridge. I live on my own with a carer who stays to help me out. I don’t have much family around. I don’t really see them because they’re spread all over Queensland and it’s hard for me to do much travelling. I spend time with friends instead.

I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. I roll with the punches. Since I’ve been back to The Big Issue I think I’ve had an attitude change and that’s helped me do better both personally and in my sales. I’ve got a big smile now and I’m not drinking no more. I’ve been sober for five years now. That was a massive challenge but I got people who helped me through it. I had a saying to help me keep going when times were tough: ‘It doesn’t hurt me.’ Like if something happens that’s out of my control I just say, ‘Well, it doesn’t hurt me.’ My carers have also started to say it!

I’m a big Broncos fan, and I made a sign that said ‘I am selling The Big Issue to raise money to go to a Broncos game!’ A customer of mine got in touch with the team and they responded by giving me tickets to the game and a jersey. I had an amazing time, especially because the Broncos won!

I also love racing cars. I’ve been saving up and I’m gonna buy a petrol-powered remote-control car. I’m getting it today! There’s a track near my place where I can race it. I also ride my BMX bike sometimes. I’m gonna bring my bike to the next vendor breakfast so afterwards we can go riding. I just want to say thank you to The Big Issue for helping me out. Thanks also to all my customers.


Portrait photo by Barry Street

 

Interview by Steph Young
Brisbane