With their leather jackets, artfully tousled hair and huge sunglasses, Kyle Falconer and Steven Morrison don’t look much like your typical Big Issue sellers.
But yesterday the rockstar duo – one half of chart-topping Dundee band The View – swapped sell-out arenas for the chilly pavements of Princes Street to flog copies of the iconic street magazine.
The pair – who have just returned from a month-long holiday in Thailand – were taking part in VendorWeek, an annual awareness-raising event paying tribute to the 14,000 men and women around the world who sell street papers to work their way out of poverty and homelessness.
And the pop stars admitted putting themselves in the shoes of the hungry and homeless had been an “eye-opening” experience – especially faced with a disinterested Edinburgh public who had no idea who they had just brushed past.
Singer Kyle Falconer said: “We came up from London, and we’re just back from Thailand a couple of days ago. It’s freezing here.
“It’s definitely been an eye-opener, especially in the cold weather. It definitely makes you feel sorry for people.
“You kind of feel like nobody really cares – but then when somebody does buy it, it’s a massive deal. It’s like, ‘Thanks very much’. You feel your pocket getting heavier. We made about £22.50, so not bad.”
Band manager Lee Owens, who came up from London for the day, admitted he was miffed by the attitude of passers-by to the rockstar vendors.
He said: “I just can’t believe how blasé and ignorant people can be – they just walk by you. It’s a huge eye-opener, how people just ignore you and walk past.”
But despite the slog, the band – who are best known for their 2007 single Same Jeans – insisted they would jump at the chance to take part in the scheme again.
Kyle said: “I would definitely do it again. I’m not saying I would get it as a full-time job, but I would do it again to raise awareness, definitely.
“It’s just a bit bleak at this time of year – but it was good to see what it’s like. It’s a good magazine. I’ve always bought The Big Issue. It covers every angle.”
A number of high-profile figures took part in yesterday’s event, selling copies at a variety of locations throughout the day.
Labour politicians Sarah Boyack, Johann Lamont and Jackie Baillie sold copies outside Starbucks on Canongate, while SNP housing and welfare minister Margaret Burgess manned a patch at Old Tolbooth Wynd.
Elsewhere, the moderator of the Church of Scotland Rt Rev John Chalmers took to Rose Street.
He said: “The vendor jacket seems to be like a cloak of invisibility. People have their methods of avoiding you.
“I’ve had to work pretty hard to sell six copies and I’ve been here with a dog collar so people know that I’m here to help.”