‘Walking Down This Lonely Street’ is The Big Issue pop song for Christmas 2017. It’s piecing, sad and also strangely uplifting. The cure for the loneliness that Phil Ryan sings about is “us”.
I’ve written about Phil on other occasions. He’s my favourite guitar-playing, song-writing acoustic artist. He’s also the only one I know (but one should not diminish the other).
I didn’t meet Phil through music. I met him through comedy. In the late ’80s, I thought I was the funniest man on Earth. Phil showed me there were many others.
As well as creating music, like me, Phil was always writing stories and putting on plays. So when Gordon Roddick asked me to do a street paper, Phil was the first person I thought to assistant in this noble endeavour.
Our personalities are stamped all over The Big Issue, even to this day, 25 years ‘+1’ since we launched it.
The way our logo was concocted over an sweaty Apple computer, working to drawings and ideas, is a case in point. The stacking of ‘The Big’ over ‘Issue’ came together in seconds after a lot of poncing about with different types with the actual designer, Andrew Giaquinto. The vendor pitch system and the vendor badge system also fell into place in those early days of our construction of (what’s now) The Big Issue.