Tell me about your name.
It started off as a nickname but then I changed it legally. It sounds funny when I’m at the doctors and stuff and they called out Mr Bad.
“I’ve always had a wanderlust, I get wound up behind four walls.”
Where are you from?
I’m from Liverpool but I left there when I was 13 and I’m 47 now. I left Liverpool because of abuse. I was groomed as a child and put on the game by my dad’s friend. I had to grow up long before I was supposed to and it took a long time to come to terms with what happened. It’s led me down the road I’ve been down. I’ve been homeless for over 20 years, on and off.
How did you first become homeless?
I was in Birmingham and I’d been working for a courier firm, but the work started to dry up and my girlfriend kicked me out, so I ended up in my car. Then I was begging for a bit because I couldn’t think of any other way of earning money, and then someone told me about Big Issue North. I’ve worked it on and off since when I needed it. It means I have a lot of interaction with people, which is important to me. Sometimes I have an overactive mind and it helps to talk to people.
What jobs have you done in the past?
I’ve done all kinds of jobs, like painting and decorating, working on a building site, and even managing nightclubs. I managed a club called the Copacabana in Earls Court. I got to meet Freddy Mercury, who was a lovely bloke. And I once got to throw Kenny Everett out because he was clicking his fingers and being rude to my bar staff.
How’s life now?
I’ve got COPD, bronchitis and emphysema. And I’ve just found out I’ve got a wasting disease in my legs. That’s why I use a wheelchair. I don’t mind. I’m surprised I’ve got this far, to be honest. I’ve had a good life and I’m resigned to the fact that this is going to happen to me. I’m now thinking about whether I should get a flat, since I’m getting more ill.
Where are you now?
In a tent at the moment, in my cousin’s garden. I’ve been there for a couple of months now. To be honest I prefer the tent. I’ve always had a wanderlust, always moved around. I’ve travelled to so many different places. Going into a flat would make me nervous – the thought of being stuck behind four walls. I’ve had places before but I just get too wound up in them. There are always bills coming in or something to annoy you.
What are you doing for Christmas?
I’m spending it inside at my cousin’s house. I intend to be working Boxing Day because York will be busy.
What makes you happy?
An open fire. You can’t beat it. You can cook on it, make a cup of tea, keep warm. Next year, I’m hoping to move to a land squat with a friend where we can have tents and I can build a barbecue. And I love selling the magazine. It’s the only job I can get, and it’s a job I can do, and I can do it well.