public spaces can be okay

In the children’s hospital recently, there was a man in a suit with a straight back and pointy shoes rushing to catch the lift. He was clutching a large stuffed meerkat. With their straight backs, big eyes and anxious expressions, he and the meerkat seemed related. He patted it absently in the lift, but caught himself doing it and stopped. One floor up, a kid with a prostethic leg got in. “I really like your meerkat,” he said after a minute. “Thank you,” said the man. “You’re welcome,” said the kid. “Nice eyes.” Public spaces can be okay.

Lorin Clarke in The Big Issue #535

i’m not really a straight-cut potato

“I’m not really a straight-cut potato, I have a couple of curves to me. I also had a few difficulties growing up, but it’s always about never giving up. I’ve always thought that if you look at the brighter side of life and focus on something positive; you might be able to work out the answer to a tough situation.

Thankfully I don’t have any addictions. I try to help people going through homelessness and addiction by giving them support. Sometimes reminding them to look on the light side will help them out. Once you care for people, the goodness that it brings out of them – the kindness and respect – shows. Once you show love it mirrors back, it’s pretty cool.”

Jacob S sells The Big Issue on the corner of Pitt and Bathurst Streets, Sydney

when we start these things…

“WHEN WE start these things, in that gloriously alive state of vulnerability and excitement and hope, we can see so few pieces of the puzzle. We are primed to believe in the goodness of people, and truth as the default position. We want so much that we turn our heads away from the flaws and the oddities. Don’t look, we think, they do not matter. We are complicit. And once immersed in intimacy, extrication can seem impossible. This is the human condition in the effort of love.”

Stephanie Wood reveals a remarkable story about how she was tricked into love by an unknown man. 

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“I got my tattoo about a year ago. It was my first, and I got it after I was diagnosed with depression. It’s a reminder to keep strong and positive when I am having a bad day. The semicolon tattoo is a badge of pride for those experiencing mental health issues. It represents a pause rather than an ending. When I look at my tattoo, it inspires me to try to be happy, and to keep living every day.”

Caroline sells The Big Issue in London Court, Perth. 

selling the big issue…

“Selling The Big Issue helps me buy my groceries and sometimes shout myself something like Subway. It’s good to make extra money, but the social side is what I enjoy most. It’s not just customers, but the local community that you get to know. I have met local police officers, courier drivers, security guards – all sorts of people who are regulars around the city. I like the community feel it has.”

Luke M, who sells The Big Issue at James Place in Adelaide.

→how to make tea correctly (according to science): milk first

“having been to America and sampling the weak tea made there, it must be stressed that the teabag should either be in a pot or the mug itself; it is not sufficient just for it to be in the same room.”

An aside from an entertaining article about whether you should put the milk in first when making tea. I sit firmly in the milk last camp.

you come at people with an open mind…

“You come at people with an open mind, but you never fail to get them wrong.

You get them wrong when you’re with them, or you tell someone about them, and get them wrong again

That’s how we know we are alive. We are wrong.”

I watched four movies flying east at 40,000 feet across the Pacific last week, but this quote is all that I can remember due to my long-haul haze. It’s from a movie called American Pastoral I remember choosing because it stars (and was directed by) Ewan MacGregor.

what you need to understand is…

“What you need to understand is that the business exists to flush you out – to find the thing you can do in your 20s, to squeeze all the energy and creativity out of you while your young and then look for an even younger person who can do the same thing. What I learned is: don’t let them do it. Keep coming back with something different. Avoid being pigeonholed, because then you won’t be “the young Harry” or “the ageing Harry” or “whatever happened to Harry?””

~ Harry Shearer