An update to the heart-warming story of James and his cat Bob, who have become publishing sensations after starting out as a homeless recovering heroin addict (James) and an injured and homeless cat (Bob).
James began selling The Big Issue two years ago. It is a weekly newspaper in London which, similar to others in various cities, allows street people to make a modest income by selling newspapers they must first purchase from the publisher. His companion was a cat he had rescued, whom he named Bob. Read more here.
Here is an interview with James, excerpted below.
Only a few years ago James Bowen was sleeping rough on the streets of London. Now he can’t walk down them without being mobbed by fans.
The former Big Issue vendor turned bestselling author has just released his sixth book, For the Love of Bob, and is preparing A Gift From Bob, which will be ready in time for Christmas. In the space of two years he has sold more than one million copies in the UK. James and his scarf-wearing, high-fiving, streetwise cat Bob are in high demand.
“All the attention is a bit scary but so is sleeping rough on the streets of London for the first time. You just adapt. This is an amazing opportunity to show the world how life is on the streets.”
Little over two years later James’ life has been transformed. Back then he could have had no idea about the global celebrities he and Bob would become.
A Street Cat Named Bob has been translated into more than 35 languages and topped charts in the US, Brazil, Portugal and Turkey, while in Germany, Bob, der Streuner held the number one spot for 27 consecutive weeks. He has more than 50,000 followers on Twitter and 200,000 fans on Facebook.
Issue no.1111 of the street newspaper featured this cover:
Within days of its publication the paper was getting hundreds, then thousands of requests for copies. There are still a few available to be mailed out (as of late July 2014). (See also: http://shop.bigissue.com/collections/the-big-issue-collector-s-editions/products/the-bob-edition-delivery-to-usa) I wrote the office manager Robert White and founder and editor John Bird to suggest they make the cover available as a limited edition print:
Hello, John. I have a website called Mein Kat, and in it, some months ago, I wrote an article about James and Bob. I’d like to augment that article, and update it, with information about this sellout issue of your paper, and about James’ successes with his books and so on.
To that end, would you send me a high-res digital file of the front cover of The Big Issue 1111? Also, in terms of added value to the paper, I would suggest making a framable poster print of the cover available for sale. I believe it would sell quite well especially if it is printed in a limited edition of, say, 1,000.
The interview with James continues:
“I did not realise how big this was going to go,” he tells me. “How can such a thing as me rescuing a cat from the street turn out this way? Don’t ask me. But it has brought millions of people to know about homelessness. And that can’t be a bad thing.”
Robert White wrote back (literally within minutes of my email being sent to him):
Had a look at your website, fantastic. Great to see such great stuff being written about James and Bob.
As requested, please find attached magazine cover.
The magazine is still available to purchase via http://shop.bigissue.com/collections/the-big-issue-collector-s-editions, however there are only a limited number of magazines available as we are verging on completely selling out. We have sent out hundreds, if not thousands of this particular magazine across the globe!
Thanks also for your advice on posters for added value, that’s a great idea.