Begging for Beginners II
With Xmas getting closer the giving goes on.
After a swim n’ sauna at the YMCA, I am via Endell Street going to the Covent Garden flea market. Two beggars lie outside the health club which is obviously generating some welcome heat. Spare some change? Why, Homeless. Surely you get benefits. No because I am homeless,its a Catch 22. Have you tried to get work. Same, I have asked around but if you are homeless, its a no.
This is all a bit rehearsed and pat, but I am not Ken Loach,so the brown coin is passed.
Bright morning Villiers Street by Embankment Station. Hunched up he sits, small ,thin and unwashed with a tell tale plastic cup with few coins .Why? I left my partner and two year old daughter 18 months ago and have been homeless since. Why did you leave? I lost my job in security and we started arguing about money all the time. I just couldn’t take it any more. I had to go. Benefits? I’m looking into it.
Early evening Vauxhall Station. A black fellow come up pennies in an outstretched hand. Why? I need money for a travel card. But how come you cant afford such a thing? Before the chap has a chance to answer a uniformed employee of the railway shoes him away. Trains may not run on time but here no beggars loiter.
Bright frosty morning Tottenham Court Road station. He is toothless and he sits surrounded by his wordly possessions. He also has a crude sign.”Good Morning. I’m homeless. Can you help? God Bless.” That just about covers it, I wonder does he have another sign for after lunch? Any way he tells that his is camping in Soho Square, receives £40a week benefit and is too badly injured in an accident to work. But he says, I really would like to work. We both smile.
Bright morning on the South Bank on my way to Tate Modern. A thin dark haired man with a sleeping bag is rocking backwards and forwards. Obviously a nervous condition. I ask him why he is begging, not a man of many words, Homeless. Why. No work. Where are you from, Bulgaria.