26 February, 2007

There but for the grace of God go I. It's funny but I've heard these words a few times this week as me and a few friends have seen homeless people asleep in shop doorways. I feel that sometimes it's only by the smallest margin that some of us do not end up on the streets living a life constantly trying survive. It's funny really because most of us struggle at it but we manage to avoid the pitfalls. We live life as it comes and we all know that life has its ups and downs but when you have more days down than normal it gets to you and when they turn into years, life becomes meaningless, a life of no hope. How do you give people back that which they have lost? I am always being told that life always goes in the blink of an eye or life is far too short to make mistakes but somehow we make them and I think what makes us unique is our ability to learn from them given the chance. I'm getting on a bit in years now and I keep hearing the phrase you can't teach an old dog new tricks. What aloud of b--lsh-t. I don't know where people get these saying from but if you think about it, it doesn't make much sense because we keep saying we learn something new everyday and by the way a leopard does change its spots.

I am still around

Just thought I'd let you all know I was still alive and kicking, as you probably know over the last few years I have been doing different things but who would have thought that I would have been doing three reports on empty homes for radio 4. Which I will be putting on the blog as soon as I get a recording of all three.
What surprises even me is how far I have come since those days of sleeping rough on the streets of London without much hope of a future. Learning to read and write was a gift but it's not all about my having that ability although it does help a lot. It's about me suddenly finding out that I am not as stupid or useless as I had been told for most of my life and that I could beat a drug habit that had taken over the whole of my life. The Question that haunts me is, how things got so bad without me seeing it? Common sense would tell you things were out of control but I guess when you do the same things day after day, that way of life also becomes a habit. I suppose it's a bit like leaving the washing up till the next day but when the next day arrives you leave that as well until it piles up so high it crashes. You might think it's just shear laziness but actually it's an old habit. I used to think that everyday was going to be no different that yesterday but in fact everyday is different even if we don't sometimes feel as if it is. I still think life is strange but not as strange if you do not live it to its fullest..

15 February, 2007

I was just thinking about the smoking ban that comes into effect later this year and boy am I going to be in trouble. Sometimes the smoke from my house can be seen for miles as I burn things when I am cooking and to console myself I always sit down and light up a fag. Now the ban does say smoking in a public places. So when the smoke from my house drifts into the near by pub and someone notices me smoking. Am I going to get an on the spot fine? The trouble with this new ban on smoking I think is that most people that do smoke have a habit and we all know getting rid of a habit can be murder. What I find strange or maybe no one has thought about this is, if by allowing people to smoke in their own homes there is much more of a chance for sons, daughters whole families to become passive smokers are the government saying it's ok to give your family cancer. We are always on about greener climates allowing people to smoke outside. To me it seems the government are saying it's ok to pollute our air. Comings from me that's saying something as I am a smoker myself.

06 February, 2007

Empty homes

Well, I'm at it again interviewing people for the radio four program you and yours. I have been to different places to find out why public properties are not being used and left to rot or why aren't some properties being put back into public use when they can be. Things seem to be confusing. I went to wells in Norfolk to find out why a police station and two adjoining houses where not being used and ended up finding out about a police funding shortage as well. In a place called Goole there where 117 houses earmarked for demolish by east riding council. Which where in fact in better condition than the flat I live in right at this present moment. What was even more strange was that only an estimated thirty houses where going to be built in their place and I went to London's north circular to find out why some houses have been empty for thirty years.
We seem to live in society that says we must modernize we must replace old with new but it just seems to me when we have a housing shortage not just in Goole or London but all over the country that common sense has been totally thrown out of the window. Not everything I suspect is as it seems but wouldn't it be great for people and local government to come together and say look we need housing and here we have it. We don't need to build so many more houses on green belt land. The question I ask is it the fault of the Labour movement and their plans to modernize Britain and build a better future as they keep saying? What I'm saying is the government is elected by the people for the people. They should take notice that not everything they do and say is right for the people. A large number of politicians have come from the same background as their electors and are now in the privileged position to help the people of this country but common sense has to prevail. It's natural for people to want better things but it has to be a balanced. I truly believe this government has not achieved much in the last four years in fact I think it has made the poor poorer. The less fortunate less fortunate. A lot of people had faith in this government but that has flown out of the window because of some of the policies and decisions it has made. I am not a fan of this government and I used to be but if this government keeps on putting economics before the peoples needs. Then we will be in for more rough years. I know getting the economics of the country is the right thing to do but when you see house prices rising, electric rising, water rising. petrol rising to unbelievable prices. Then you have to start thinking that something is wrong. When the ordinary man in the street doesn't see any light at the end of the tunnel and has to work extra shift to make ends meet, then we live in a false economy. Building new houses doesn't build a better Britain. It just paints a pretty picture. It's people that make places better.

01 February, 2007

You're homeless you're not the same as us. Rant

Being homeless isn't a crime but what's happening to homeless people is. How would you feel if you had to live life on the streets and being looked down upon everyday because of one mistake or it was the only alternative for you in the situation you where in. I get very angry when I hear people say homeless people are stupid and it's their own fault or they're not like you and me. Last night I went out and about the centre of London to see if the situation had gotten any worse since my last foray. It does seem there are a few more living on the street but only in certain areas of Londons West End. In Westminster the situation seems as bad as ever. While many homeless charities focus on the need to re-educate people on the simple things of life like learning read and write and how to cook. There are a certain number of people we seem to be missing and those are the ones that are too ashamed to say I need help either because they can't read or write or because of their unsureness to learn new things. Having a time table to learn also doesn't fit with the homeless that sleep rough after all their first Priority is surviving another day. Not how do I learn to cook a cake or spell the word cat. I know there are a few day centers that now have the facilities to teach people these things in the mornings but if your homeless and tired all you want to do is have a hot drink and some food and try to get some sleep while you are in the warm. Even if that means every so often you are woken up. So you see the dilemma homeless people face. It's just like being in an endless ring until someone comes up with another solution to the problem then some people will always lose out. What I would like to see is a sort of signed agreement between homeless people and who ever, lets say a night shelter. They would accommodate them if they learnt the basics skills. So many homeless organizations are trying to do this with the homeless they have gotten off the streets and we only have a few that see homelessness everyday of the week. I strongly believe that everyone has the right to be treated equally whether you are homeless or in a hostel and everyone should have the right to learn. So back to the people that think homelessness is their own fault and they aren't the same as you or I. Well that's tosh. Everyday I speak to people who I would have thought would not have the time of day for me but if they don't see any difference between myself and them why should other people ? Just because someone is a bit shabbily dressed has a can in his hand and is homeless doesn't make him any different from you or I. It's just someone who has a problem or why should we demonise a girl living rough when all she did was get away from the abuse she suffered. When I was a kid I was always told that before I opened my mouth to speak I should think about what I was going to say and for all of the people that speak before their brains work. Try thinking first.