28 February, 2006

Big brother

Some people think the internet and all new technology is a bad thing and some people truly believe that the internet will be the real start of big brother. I myself believe we have big brother here already but we do not yet have the technology to big brother everyone. Id cards are one way to do that but it's only the tip of the iceberg. As people are monitored in their use of the internet and what sites they go to. So the next thing I think we will see is it's usage being monitored with more sophisticated technology. More and more government legislation will be used to ban it's misuse but it will not stop it and I think that over the next twenty to thirty years prison sentences will be the order of the day for misuse of the internet and new technology. The saying big brother is watching really will come into it's own as technological advances make that a certain probability. I'm no soothsayer but as this Labour government strive to gain a political advantage with today's technology. So must other future governments. The newer the technology the better advantage each party will gain. People are learning at a fast pace what can be done with the internet in business and politics. In the future I don't see the freedom we have today with technology. I see big brother states and people being afraid to say anything because they're being watched. George Orwell had it nearly right. I believe I wont be around to see what happens but like so many I wonder will our technological advances be our down fall or will we finally see it's advantages?

27 February, 2006

God I'm at it again just thinking

I was stretched out on my sofa trying to write a bit more of my play and I was trying to think back to the old days when people used to lean over the garden fence just to have a conversation or just to say hello and ask how you are doing. I was also trying to remember if my mother left her doors open when she popped next door. That was the one of the things you could do in those days without having to worry if you were going to be robbed. The funny thing is my house back then was like Piccadilly Circus with all it's coming and going but we never once got stolen from and to think my house was a bit like a drug addicts convention most days of the week. I do remember some good times like when I used to go shopping for the old woman a few doors away. I used to add 10 park drive ciggy's a week to her shopping bill. My commission so to speak. I remember the day she found out she gave me such a hiding and for an old woman could she move. We all have stories about the good old days but in today's climate there are not that many. So my question is what happened to society in general? Have we lost our values? Have we become a society without moral fibre? It seems funny that a person like me should ask these questions having been an outcast from mainstream society for so long. The thing that struck me thinking back to my days of being homeless was that nearly all homeless people seem to care and watch out for each other a society within a society. They do say we can learn from other people and we have examples of human behavior in some strange places.

26 February, 2006

Tired of tea towel al a carte

Another day turns into another week and I'm still not sleeping properly even after five years I still don't sleep for more than five hours. I do have the odd couple of times when I sleep all night but they are few and far between. It's Sunday the quietest day of the whole week but my last couple of weeks have been too quiet as I haven't been able to get about as much as usual because of my leg but things have still happened to me you wouldn't believe, like tonight I was merrily cooking away I thought it would be a good idea to have a bath while the meat was roasting in the oven. It seems I forgot to turn off the top rings on the stove and I set alight a tea towel. The only one I had. Now I have a living room full of smoke and I could only just see through it. A bit like the Labour party all smoke and nothing when it's cleared. Well I got that under control. It seems because it took me so long to clear the smoke because my windows are permanently shut I over cooked the roast so that was two things I've done really well this week. Any one for tea towel al a carte or al fresco?

24 February, 2006

The fear of going cold turkey

As you can see I am still not able to get about that well and I have become a bit of a couch potato lately. So while munching away on piazzas and donuts. I have been watching channel 4 and going cold turkey. It sent shivers down my spine as memories of my own drug addiction and cold turkey came flooding back. It got me to thinking why most addicts fear going through cold turkey especially ones that have been on methadone for years. What they showed was the hell of with drawing and this is what most addicts fear going through. I am often asked why I did it and how? The answer to the first was I was ready to come of drugs as I think I'd reached that stage where nothing was going right even when I was getting high and that to be honest wasn't happening unless I used all day long. The second answer is I don't know how I did manage it going through the cold turkey was hard. There's no way of describing what I really went through but I will try. Imagine having a bad case of flu multiply that by ten. Then one minute not being able to go to the toilet, then suddenly having diarrhea and to top that stomach cramps that were so painful they bent you up double and if that wasn't enough, hot and cold sweats and no sleep. Somehow I managed to get through all that on my own but I did have people around me as that was my first Christmas at the crisis open Christmas it may all look so easy on the TV but like all things in real life there's a big difference. The dread of going through all that I went through instills an unstoppable fear in most addicts and if you have been on methadone then the fear is even greater as this was the substitute opiate the governments saw as an answer to all the drug problems that were being created. What they didn't count on was the problems it would cause. Many people saw this drug epidemic coming and in the early years and warned the government what was likely to happen. Now we have a population that in 2002 was 540 times higher than in the 60's and they were the registered addicts and today that figure is even higher. Someone once said they think it is about one in seven people use or have used drugs at some stage of their lives. As the government wages it's war on the dealers. I think it is now beginning to wage a war on it's victims by forcing them into rehabs and treatment centers in and out of prison but in the end it all still comes down to the individual and the fact is that individual needs to be ready to come off. Like myself I was ready. Will this government thing of it's time to get tough on addicts help? The answer is who knows. The saying you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink is so true in this case. Going cold turkey is only half the battle the bigger battle has yet to begin It's finding that something that takes your mind away from drugs. Mine was learning to read and write. Put yourself in an addicts place. Image all you have done for years and years is take drugs, got high and forgot about your world as it should have been. What do you to do to replace it?
Whatever problem it was that made them this way they will have to face eventually but the fact is they have to now learn to live in a world of reality where people do get hurt by everyday things. It's easy to say but hard to do and I should know. The thing is it can be done and you can live a normal life. When I hear people say we are what we are and we can't change I get so angry because I changed and learned new things.

22 February, 2006

The prince speaks

In a free democratic country are we not allowed to speak our mind? Whether it be a worker from tesco's or the future king of this country. I think I heard this somewhere that everyone has the right to free speech. If prince Charles does or say anything then it always seems to me to hit the headlines not because he's a man that thinks he needs to be heard but the because he's the future king and what is he really saying that he disagrees with the government and some of their policies. Well, here's a newsflash I do as well but I don't see you writing about what I am saying. The thing is he is simply a man that may or may not have influence and has a few ideas on how to assist on a number of things. Like the youth of today and the princes trust. When politicians think he's off track they simply ignore him anyway. The question is does he do more good than harm. When politicians say he's out of date and touch with the public then they should also look at the kettle before calling it black. I have met the prince and it seems to me that here is an intelligent man with a title and influence that he wants to use.

21 February, 2006


One thing to write about tonight and that is freeganism. Which in other words means people who raid the supermarket bins for the food and whatever they throw out. Now I can tell you about this because I know quite a few people that still do this and I used to be one of them. When I lived n my hostel I used to go out on a Friday night or Saturday morning and raid the bins because I knew I wouldn't go without and these where the days I needed to. The food that was always thrown out was amazing. It's such a waste when there are people starving in this world. The question is why well, if you are on the dole and you get fifty pounds a week it doesn't go far. When you have to pay a fiver top up fee for your rent buy a travel card so you can get about to find jobs or go to doctors or just do some of the normal things people do but by Friday night you can guarantee that your fridge will be empty. I would agree with the independent newspaper that some freegans are not homeless or unemployed. But if they where to look closer I bet you would find that 60% percent are on the edge of what we call poverty in this country and most of the others have either lived in or near poverty trap. like any thing else old habits are hard to expunge. We have now places like fareshare but there is still £3.000000 in waste everyday. I am one of those people that is still unsure why people in this world starve. When we have countries like ours that throw away vast mountains of food. Starving and going hungry in my book are two completely different things. One is just having an empty stomach. The other is not being able to fill that empty stomach. If people have found a way of keeping their children and themselves from not going hungry then that must be a bonus but it seems we still can not find a way of to stop people starving to death even though we live really well in this country. That's why I am always saying we are so lucky here in Britain. .

20 February, 2006

Political tools my opinion

It's funny but I fell asleep again on my sofa and when I woke up I saw John Bird on TV again and of course I began to listen to him but it wasn't what he was saying that woke me up. It was the way he was using the media of TV to get his opinion across and it is only his opinion by the way. It got me thinking about web blogs and my blog in particular. Was I using it as my own personal soap box or was this a real chance to give sound advice or am I using it as my own political tool to get my own opinions across?
Politicians stand there in the houses of parliament and say this and that because people go to their surgeries and tell them of the problems they're facing and all politicians can really do is talk about it in the house. These surgeries only happen once a month and then only a few people can attend and that's not enough time to hear what most people have to say. I think in the future the web will do away with politicians surgeries as more and more people become used to using emails and such. The question of can you get your points across to the vast majority is yes but that is not the real question. The question is will they read what's being said after all if twenty seven thousand people voted for you and eighteen thousand send you emails that's a lot of emails. Common sense tells me that all emails will have a heading say law and order or health issues. It goes without saying if politicians can get their message across this way. So can the people. Does the web have a future as a political tool? I think so. Will more MPs use web blogs? I believe so. Will I keep on blogging? You bet

18 February, 2006

In a sort of reflective mood.

I have been out of action for a few weeks now and having to sit with my leg raised has been driving me crazy, although I have cheated a bit and gone for a stroll just to see and hear people. Loneliness is one of the biggest things that drives people into depressive moods and can make them so despondent with life. For someone who has been homeless for a long time it can be the one thing that sees them back on the streets. Being homeless doesn't mean you are friendless although some of the friends you make are short term they either die from their addictions or move on. Some go to jail and come back changed. Some just disappear altogether. I have always said that life is so strange and the more I see, the more I get to thinking that peoples lives are these great journeys we all have to take. Yet they all lead to the same place if you believe in God. What drives me these days is knowing that I can do my bit to change the lives of some people. It's funny but we all slag politicians but they really are doing their best. They make mistakes just like any one these days. There are a few of course that are in politics for the glory and to make history. There are also the genuine politicians who really do want to change this country and these are the history makers. I have often said that I'd make a good politician but to be honest I'd have to have a passion for politics. The truth is I can only understand some of it because I am just like your everyday common ordinary man that walks to the office most days of the week, worries about the bills and if there's enough food on the table. I don't have to worry about running a country and making sure that everyone is treated fairly. All I can do is speak up and say look this is what is happening to homeless people and addicts because I have been there and somehow managed to come through it thanks to my friends Maff and Ruth and Mark and my friends at crisis . Who I supposed might still see me a work in progress and that's the thing. I know I am still a work in progress because each day I am around I learn more and more about people like myself. The one main thing I have learned over the last few years is to live life to it's fullest and if you have a goal in life then go for it. Because when it comes to that time of looking back to many regrets can cloud what might have been a good life. I guess what I am trying to say is even people that have had problems or for that matter still with problems they are just the same as you and I because we keep them at a distance they don't really know it yet.

16 February, 2006

Anything is possible

Success or failure are the questions I ask myself when I am alone sometimes. My life you could say has had plenty of failures in one shape or another but I have accepted those as part of my life. Which I am at least trying to reshape. Everybody has there ups and downs even politicians who we think sometimes are the least likely to. Take the prime minister he must be having one hell of a last fling trying to get all these things through the house and being defeated. Maybe he should be like me take a step back and see what's really going on in this country. Me being ex-homeless has nothing to do with how people are living there lives in constant fear or poverty. We have so many families caught in the poverty trap that even I am ashamed we call ourselves a great country. I think it was Churchill that said to be a great nation we must lead the way. I would like to think we a are a nation of equality and fairness. How can we be? When our kids don't respect law and order, personal property or the right for anyone to walk free and safe. Being homeless has given me that insight because I have not had all that baggage of mortgages , rents, work and to me that what normality was. I have been able to take a view from the outside. I have seen the run down estates in many of our cities. I have seen kids that have to go without. I have watched some make successes of their lives and I have watched most struggle with no hope of change. Was it the years of the Tories that did this? I don't think so but they didn't do much to help things. I think as a nation we just believed we were great and we just let things slide. We should have made sure we were. Germany rebuilding it's bombed cities or the Chinese making things work are examples most people use but I'd like to believe we can do the same but with it's people and to put things right that were you have to start. Give people hope and things will happen. Give people a fair days wage for a fairs days pay and things will improve. I think I have proved anything is possible and dreams do come true sometimes.

14 February, 2006

New technology

Tonight I watched a sci fi movie and it got me thinking about the future and how we are already advancing the technology we have right now. I'm always being asked about new technology and how it affects the homeless, whether they have the use of computers or can they keep up with all the advances being made. It's a question I believe affects all of us. We now have the capability of tracking what people do with their computers and we are now beginning to have laws governing the internet but as the world grows more and more dependent on computers. The smaller and better they will get. The question of will computers get smarter? I think so. As we get lazier and start to relax with more time on our hands the natural order of things is to let robots and computers do most things for us. George Orwell I think had it right when he envisaged a world run by computers. It's coming. We already have a government that want people to use new technology and in some cases are willing to pay for it. Is this the beginning of man being too clever for his own good?

13 February, 2006

Reply to comment

I've experienced that people choose their way of living by themselves... Nobody can help such a person if he or she doesn't do anything self... I do wish to help a man I love but he doesn't move to the same aim - to his better life - together with me...What can I do

As the agony aunt would say talk, just sit down and talk.

We all seem to sit and watch TV lately the first thing I am asked on most days is did you watch that program last night. From what I know based on my personal experience is we sit and cuddle on the setee but don't hardly speak. We say we love each other but really don't communicate it enough. It's alright to have that bond between two people but sometimes it can become a one sided affair. Everyone has the same problem, even homeless people. Relationships are even tougher to maintain and remember they don't have twenty four hour TV. So talk about things, even work. The more you know about what's going on in your lives the better equipped you will be live it together. If any of this makes sense to you? Let me know

12 February, 2006

Just thinking out loud

Well, for many years now I have been told my brain is the size of a pea, a very intelligent pea I must add but as I get to thinking about things like my life and people around me I get to thinking how strange things really are. I mean here we are in 2006 and still we could write a novel in the Charles Dickens vein about homelessness, drug addiction and of course there are so many fagins in this country. Well, that's what I call most drug dealers these days. There are so many books written about how people become homeless, it's causes. Drug addiction and alcohol. I'm always asking the question how come? Plus we have so many charities that all do good things yet we still see all these on a large scale. So what is the fundamental problem? How do we cure this cycle of life some people fall into and become so trapped. Is it that once we leave the core of main stream society we become it's invisible and unwanted members? Is it that once you have been there, no one wants you back? Is this why so many people have to fight to become useful members of society again? Is it because of the stigma that stays with them no matter what? These are the sort of questions I am now asking myself along with should I wash my hands before or after meeting with politicians?

10 February, 2006

Out of action for a week or so

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Well, I'm now out of action for about a week or so because I have had some micro surgery to remove tiny bits of bone from my knee. All this from years ago when I was so stoned that I fell down a hole and badly damaged my leg.
I often ask myself who puts a hole in the middle of a pavement in front of me? Not too worry things will be back to normal soon and I shall be dancing round like a mad man.

09 February, 2006

Me and my big mouth

Another meeting listening to all these people saying what homeless people need and what they are doing. Then I stand up and say hello and that I used to be homeless and now have my own flat and I have learned all this but I still can't get a job. So for people in hostels and so forth what chance do they have, when if they get a job every penny earned will be for rent God forbid they have to eat as well. Then they all look at me in astonishment you know that look of who the hell is he and what does he know anyway. I think that's the way most people see me. I have an idea and in head first I go but that's not me, although sometimes I have to admit my mouth does work before my brain. So I explained what I thought was really needed about fair rents for people that work and that live in temporary accommodation. The need for jobs after all the training courses go on. The need for some sort of liaison with the business world besides the donation side of things. As I said getting people ready for work is all well and good and getting them as volunteers is ok but if you're on the same wave length as most. The idea of empowering people is to get them into employment, to give that motivation. So they can put what they have learned in to effect plus by paying for their own rent, food and other bills. It gets them back into the main stream of society and they can turn round to anyone and say well I now pay my taxes as well. Which is the main aim of most homeless charities.
These are the people that we sort of put to one side for years and years and there are still three hundred and eighty thousand of them. If only has always been the question on most peoples lips but lets start using the words we'll try this first and learn more along the way. Not the other way round. It's only by trying things that we can start to make some in roads into this problem. The never ending cycle of homelessness has to stop sometime . Why not make little in roads into it now? You never know in a hundred years it might be gone for good.

07 February, 2006

Silly blinkered me.

I was shopping this morning in my local Tesco's and someone tapped me on the shoulder and said hi Jamie, for the life of me I couldn't remember the name but I knew the face. Then he said I saw you on TV at Christmas and I started to think about things. I have now been a month clean from drugs and drink and I just wanted to say thank you. I was a little embarrassed as there was a whole queue of people behind. His name was Jim. He was one of those guys you see everyday on Charing Cross road near the huge center point building buying their drugs or you see them with blankets over their shoulders walking at such a fast pace down new Oxford street trying to keep up with their dealers or there's two or three of them huddled at the back of the shops. Just after they have scored but to see someone that's trying to come off is amazing. I sometimes forget how hard it is to stay clean and sober. It's been a while since I kicked my own habit and waking up in the morning not being sick and needing drugs to make it through my day is great. Being normal whatever that is? Is fine too but it's when people like Jim and my friend Alan try to improve their own lives I am at my most happiest even if they fail because I know they will try again at some stage. It only takes one moment in someone's life to make that change for good permanent. Someone once said I go around blinkered because I have changed and I no longer see the hardship of people like myself. I think the words they used were do gooder. I beg to differ because I am no one special I am just a man with a past just like everyone else in this world. An unsavoury one I will admit but we all make mistakes. Just because I have done a few things even I wouldn't have dreamed I would do. Doesn't make me anything more than what I am. Blinkered? No just passionate about helping others do what I've done.

05 February, 2006

To look at this picture you would think this was just a bag of rubbish thrown out but it's a man asleep outside Starbucks. You could see this man had wet himself because people just stood and looked and gave that oh what a shame look. Others went on drinking their coffee. It's just another site we are so used to seeing. Posted by Picasa

What a day

What a day. Well I cooked a Sunday lunch for friends and didn't poison them, which must be a first for me. Cleaned my flat and done most of my washing. Now that's is a miracle so I have been told. Then we went to the West End for a walk and to take some photo's of homeless people and I came across this man. Sober but still begging. Most would see this as degrading but to him it's survival, a way to get by. How can we stop this from happening to others is the question I am always asking. It seems nobody knows and if I am truthful when I was on the streets I was grateful for every penny that people gave me. The thing that I see is that even this can become a way of life. A habit if you like and we all know habits are hard to break. As I get on the bus to go home I'm left with a tinge of sadness because I remember what it's like to be in his place. Once again I am grateful that my life has changed and I can look back and say yes that was me once.

03 February, 2006

I have come to the conclusion that life as we know it is the proverbial bowl of cherries with a few bad ones thrown in just to make life interesting. As I have visited more and more schools over the last year. Talking about how I became homeless and how easy it is for anyone to become homeless and trapped in a life that's not really life. I learn more and more myself. When I ask kids about what they think of homeless people they have certain definitions of what they see as a homeless man or woman and it inevitably is always the picture of the man or woman with a can in hand or the man with wrapped in a blanket begging outside a cash machine and to be truthful it's what we all see. We judge homeless people on what we see daily on the way to school or work and we do put them all in the same basket so to speak. It's just the way things are and it does seem when we try to help. We don't see individuals. Everyone has a different reason for being an addict, homeless or an alcoholic and it's only when we get to those reasons that we understand why. It's by doing this we can prevent others from doing the same. All I am trying to say is we should understand more of what goes on in our society and the people in it. We shouldn't have a part of society that we deem to be unfortunate. I have often pointed out my own failing as an example but at a meeting I went to last night. I met people who where worse than me and they all said even though their own lives were improved by being off the streets they still suffered the stigma of their past. Someone said every job interview they went to. It was though as soon as they saw the address they automatically were looked down upon. Someone else said because of the address he couldn't get a doctor. We have a government that made laws saying people shouldn't be discriminated against but we all know it does go on but proving it is another thing. Surely if someone is looking for work and is willing to work it doesn't matter where they live or what past they have. So long as they have been honest and said look this is me I was an addict and I live in a hostel but I can do the job and I am ready to do it is all that should count but as I said that's not how things go and as I'm learning more and more. I think I'm getting to know how hard it is for some homeless charities to get employers on board. I think what I want to do is get people who have been in that cycle of homeless and addiction and are ready for work into jobs. So I am going to take some bushiness courses and see where they lead me. Maybe I can be useful after all.

02 February, 2006

Welfare reform my opinion

Not being a politician and just another member of the voting public. I can see the governments idea and it's a nice idea in a near perfect society and as we know we are far from that. I do have serious questions to ask and they are. How do you get one million back into work when you have nearly one million unemployed already? How do you train someone who's been on incapacity benefit that wants to work but cannot. Lets just say they have limited movement in his arms? To empower someone in my book means to give them hope and I'm sorry to say this government are just swapping incapacity benefit for the cheaper option. It does mean making people poorer because this government wants to save money. We all know how there are some people on benefits that can work and would rather cheat the system by doing both. It is these people that we have to weed out. This government are always going on about law and order so make it tougher for those that cheat the system. Incapacity benefit was made to help not hinder those that couldn't work
If you look at things logically. There's nothing to give people that hope they need and if this government think that by taking away the little extra people get. They will be in for a huge loss at the next election because people will not stand for it. This new reform they are trying to put through is new Labour forcing the issue again and we have been here before. As I have said if this goes through parliament. It will be just another load of statistics to add to an ever growing unemployment cue and the outcome to that is the poorer get poorer.
How can get people back to work? Well for start don't touch benefits if someone goes to college to learn IT skills or something that relates to getting into employment. Don't touch incapacity benefit if someone is willing to work but can't. Define what is a medical illness. It's this area that has a lot of grey for instance drug addiction is an illness but can be cured over time. Just like most illnesses. But someone who has lets say permanent injuries like broken arms and legs that are pinned. These sometimes never heal.
I think I read that there are jobs people can do. There are jobs people can do that are unemployed but until this government set a decent wage standard and start helping reduce things like local councils taxes and fuel costs then every few years I think we will always hear about welfare reform and the need to save money. Another thing is, there are three hundred and eighty thousand hidden homeless. The more you help them now, like getting affordable rents. Reducing the number in hostels and bed and breakfasts. Millions will be saved later. There are several ways to improve things in this country . The fact is this government are not prepared to spend money now to save huge sums later. They'd rather take more money from people now to save for today. What about the rainy days? Believe me I see storms in the future.

01 February, 2006

Just reflecting

Wow, what a night. Woke up this morning with a mother of a hang over and feeling sorry for myself. Saying never again. I can understand how easy it is to forget all your troubles when you drink and drink alcohol. Everyone who see the man standing on a busy street swaying with a bottle or can in his hand just see the drunk not the man. Underneath all that there is something else and to bring that out we need to help them. Not by just feeling sorry for them and giving them a couple of pounds here and there but by understanding what drove them there and then helping them back on the road to recovery.
I was watching a film about Rosa Parkes the black woman from Alabama USA. She refused to give up her seat on a bus in a time when all black people were segregated. If we all followed her example and did what we thought was right. We wouldn't be in such a mess. This is one crazy world we live in and there's is enough of it for everyone . So the question I ask is does it really matter that much if it's called Palestine or Israel, northern Ireland or southern Ireland? The important thing is life and to live it well. What ever colour or religion. Even if you don't have one. Life and living it should be the most important thing of all because we only have one to live.
Well, that's me having one of my moments which seem to come more often as I get older and older. I don't think I get any wiser I just get a little better at understanding what I already know.