184: LONDON’S HOMELESS SPEAK #3: Clive

“Welcome to the 184th Post of the Zingcreed blog. This totally unique Christian/Atheist blog has no boundaries. It is my personal polemic, and in it I think aloud about religion and life. I hope you get something from it!” Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.

breadline

It was dusk in the West End and the pavements were full of people chattering as they emerged from matinee performances this October Saturday. ‘Clive’ had a good pitch for collecting funds but he seemed more interested in the novel he had his nose in. A brown dog lay at his side with a brown blanket over it. While I sat on the pavement next to him, two women came and stroked the dog and spoke to it, putting coins in Clive’s paper cup as they did so. Neither spoke to Clive himself. I asked him if having a dog helped him collect money. He thought about it a moment and said he supposed it did.

He told me he had been on the streets since his marriage broke up 7 years earlier. The house and most of the cash went to his wife, who also got custody of the children. He sold the business and most of the proceeds from that also went to her.

As the weather forecast was hurricane force winds and thunder for the next two nights, he was keen to raise the £15 necessary to get a hostel bed. At the hostel he would get a good meal and a bath too.

Although most people were OK he had once been attacked by “some young lads who were pissed up”. Result: 2 broken ribs. The police tended to leave him alone because they knew him, but “some of them were bastards” and kicked him for nothing. He was feeling down at the moment, because he hadn’t slept well for a couple of nights. He repeated that he really wanted to get off the street that night.

I gave him £2, wished him good luck and left.

Related Zingcreed Posts:
London’s homeless speak #1: Alan
London’s homeless speak #2: Ben

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3 comments

  1. David Clarke · · Reply

    Reminiscent of ‘Clockwork Orange’ – a book about young ‘psychopaths’ beating up ‘vagrants’ – although psychological conditioning is no longer an acceptable instrument of state control. If it was, perhaps society’s rulers would be less inclined to put the boot in at the sight of the underdog!

    1. Hi David
      thanks for your comments.i don’t know what the ‘professionals’ say about the homeless; I just feel they (the homeless)ought to have a chance to express themselves. I want to know how they got into the mess they’re in – to be frank it’s curiosity on my part rather than sympathy.I’m currently in San Fernando, Trinidad, which is the most depressing run-down town I know, and in 10 days not a single person has asked me for dosh.(And I’m just about the only white man in town.) Curious. Perhaps I should do some street interviews here on “why are you NOT begging?”!!

  2. David Clarke · · Reply

    Hi Peter
    The point I meant to make is that psychological conditioning (as was) Is hardly different from putting the boot in (as the police do today) – although the latter is somewhat less invasive and controlling than the former. Are we learning, perhaps, to be ‘tolerant’ of ‘undesirables’, including those that run the country? Are we stuck, as it were, in an unresolvable democratic dilemma in which none of the parties has a clue? Are we nor living in a society in which reactionary Tory attitudes combine with contradictory Labour policies – the latter apparently attempting to reconcile meritocratic beliefs with notions of greater equality – to leave society virtually moribund?

    The answer is, as Russell Brand points out, not to vote and thus to make our ‘democratic’ parties redundant. Such a move on the part of the people would not, as some have claimed, play
    into the hands of technocrats in business etc., but would give rise to a totally new form of democracy – a form that would be far removed from the marbled halls of Westminster and its chauvinistic elite.

    Meanwhile, I’ll follow your interviews with great interest.

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