The Big Issue Australia recently reached the milestone of  its 600th edition, with feature stories on Cold Chisel and Liam Gallagher, plus regular columns by Lorin Clarke, Ricky French, Thuy On, Michael Epis and more. Since 1996 the fortnightly magazine has been creating work opportunities for those experiencing homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage. Its public face is its street vendors.

Big Issue vendor

Vendor Mark and the rocking 600th edition in Melbourne. Image courtesy of The Big Issue

In one way or another Stereo Stories has been part of The Big Issue for over a decade. Indeed, the seeds of Stereo Stories can partly be traced to a story I pitched to then-editor Alan Attwood in 2009, four years before I began this website.

I’d written a piece about the Paul Kelly song Feelings Of Grief but the story alone was not strong enough to stand on its own. It needed more context. So Alan wrote a piece about a Kelly song (I Can’t Believe We Were Married), asked a few other writers to chip in with stories about favourite songs, ran an extract from Kelly’s book How To Make Gravy and – presto – we had a cover story. Edition 342, November 2009.