Homelessness and the Rise of New-School Begging

 

Once upon a time, many years ago, a walk through your City Centre was a marvellous occasion. Nowadays, it just adds to the ever-increasing facets of anxiety plaguing every day life. Not only do we have the very real threat of terrorism to keep at the forefront of our mind during every visit to a busy event or venue, nor the continually rising price tags on literally everything but there is also an enormous influx of beggars in the UK, in every city I visit.

 
So what’s so unusual about that I hear you cry, every city in the world has a certain amount of homelessness but there is a difference, a huge one. If you don’t often frequent a major city, you could be forgiven for not noticing what for me, is the biggest problem that our government should be solving at this minute, instead they wile away (pun totally intended) time negotiating Brexit.

 
Walking from one side of Birmingham city centre to the other, from the law courts to New Street station you can be approached and asked for money 15-20 times. At least. Sitting INSIDE a pub in Birmingham I was asked 5 times. Sitting outside a pub at Oxford Circus, I once counted 28 people that came to the table to ask for money. In London when my friend politely replied that he had no cash on him, the guy that was asking pointed to the end of the road and said, “there’s a cash machine right there.” I mean seriously, why target people that are having a £3.90 glass of wine in Weatherspoons. If they really had “spare money” surely they would be sat somewhere much nicer enjoying a meal with a bottle of the finest wine, somewhere that people can’t make them feel guilty for having money. The irony, lets make those with very little money feel even more guilt. Just add that to the guilt they feel about not being able to afford to feed their children the correct diet, friends’ birthday presents, the clothes that they can only dream of to look good for their partner, not being able to pay the rent/the gas bill/the electric/the council tax/the insurance….. the list is endless and now we have what seems like a constant stream of MEN, (and we have to address this fact that 99.9% of the time it is men approaching women asking them for money) walking up to us, asking for money and when denied, getting aggressive.

 
I have felt the need to explain myself hundreds of times, conscious that this person thinks I have money but refuse to help with as little as a pound. I have explained to these strangers that I am also homeless, couch surfing with friends and families so really there is not much difference between me and them apart from the fact that I still have my relationships intact therefore people are willing to help me. I have told them that a lot of people are struggling right now and they shouldn’t assume that just because someone obviously isn’t “on the streets” that means that they have money, that they do not know where other people are at right now. I have counted the homeless that approached and explained to them that they are number 25 to ask and even if I gave a pound to each, thats £25 gone from my already empty bank account. And each and every time I have tried to explain, the response is met with the same unconcerned apathetic look.

 

I have been taunted in Shoreditch whilst politely replying when asked for money. This made me want to start being rude and ignoring the requests and the requester completely but that is not who I am. I can not just ignore a human being and I flinch at my own abruptness when someone approaches me, berating myself for not asking what they want first, maybe it was just a light or maybe they needed to phone someone. But no, it’s generally money. I always give to the homeless when I have, usually always in the form of food or drink and I have lost count of the times that the food or drink offered has been rejected. Surely the first rule of begging is to be grateful for what you’re given? I saw a childhood friend of mine begging outside a restaurant that I was invited to, he said that he needed money for a hostel for the night for himself and his girlfriend. I asked him which hostel but with the name that he gave me I couldn’t find any contact details. Not having cash on me, my intention was to pay for the hostel by card for both my old friend and his partner but in the end I asked my companions of the evening and one of them gave me £20 to give him. I know it went on drugs but at least I knew he didn’t have to beg anymore that day.

 

If I can help, I would always help someone and when I have, I really do not mind giving. I think it’s a safe bet to say that if someone has, and they are that way minded, they would give. I have given to many people on the streets, in Barcelona, Chicago, Vienna yet none of them have vocalised their need for help, they have just shown that they need it. Sitting at the side of the road, a note if need be. That is enough. There is no need to approach people and ask. If anything, even if someone is just banging a stick on an old pan, I would give to them, if I had. Just for trying. I commend them. But this new school of begging and homelessness (if that is truly the case) hitting the streets of the UK is beginning to get too much. It’s intimidating even when the people aren’t actually being intimidating. It sets off a guilt trip in those that care and most of all, when you can’t help, it reminds you of how little you actually have.

 

On tour with my band (unpaid, we have to pay to be heard), we left Birmingham and made our way to Glasgow to then be asked at least another 8 times, with one man in a wheelchair screaming at us “I’m sure you got a f@*cking pound between three of you’s”. Now correct me if I’m wrong, if he’s in a wheelchair, I’m pretty sure he has a roof over his head, gets disability benefits (albeit facing cuts in this Tory regime), gets free doctors prescriptions, free dental care, all the things that I don’t as a self-employed person, no matter how little I may earn month-to-month. This then begs the question, how many people that beg on our streets are actually homeless? And how many are just after the next fix?
During the 90’s there was a huge surge of heroine addicts. It was an era that enticed people to sell their soul to the devil as it were. For those that couldn’t resist the temptation, their lives were changed for ever. I watched as friends of mine became someone else entirely, stole from those that they were supposed to love and gave all of that love to the brown stuff. But they have been failed by a system that allowed those drugs to circulate. And now they are eternally punished because they need their fix. Above anything else. This is a sad fact but one that we can no longer ignore. This is not going to go away, if anything, it is just going to get worse. From the drugs point of view, the solution is to control feed them with what they need and make sure that they have somewhere to sleep. This is the only way that I can see an end to the never ending stream of new school beggars. Now with that out of the way, lets go back to addressing homelessness. Not all those that are homeless are drug addicts, nor are they sleeping rough. They are the hidden homeless.
The official figures from homeless.org.uk are that in 2010 there were 1,768 people living rough on the streets of the UK and that rose to 3,569 by 2015 and an estimated 4,134 at the end of Autumn 2016. I am pretty certain that has risen again this year. We already know that although that figure is people KNOWN to be living on the streets, it certainly doesn’t cover how many actual homeless people there are in this country. Research from Crisis estimates that 62% of single homeless people, around 3.52 million are unrecorded. People living on sofas, on floors, in cars. The hidden cost of Thatcher’s ownership brainstorm, selling off council housing and encouraging the housing boom. The buy-to-lets paying off mortgage interest rates, those that got on the ladder at the right time, suddenly elevated both financially and status wise along with a surge in homelessness in later years with rents being ridiculously unaffordable.

 

A decent private rental in Birmingham will cost £550-£600 per calendar month. Add to that council tax £150,Gas £60 electric £40 and water £40, the basics of living in any accommodation and thats an extra £300. So to have a roof over their heads the average person needs to pay around £900 per month just for basic living. Add to that £75 a week of food, £1200 per month. In London, it would be the same amount for just a room. With a minimum wage of £7.50 and the increase of zero hour contracts, it is pretty obvious that most single people are just fighting a losing battle. There is no fairness in this system and it is definitely time for change. There is much for the current UK government to be embarrassed about and this epidemic of homelessness should be at the top of their priorities.

 
The only solution here is to put a definite cap on private rental property and increase the minimum wage to £10ph along with all wages at the same rate of increase up to £20 an hour or build more AFFORDABLE social housing….. a lot more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Society Rebel

It’s not easy to be a ‘Rebel of Society’

“What do you do?” the first question asked
Never know what to say when challenged with this task.
I WRITE MUSIC, I wanna shout from the roof
Though I bottle it in, for fear of sounding uncouth.
But that’s what I do, it’s lyrics i write
As I listen to silence through the loneliest nights.
As I walk through the woods, I think of a rhyme,
Every step that I take, every second of my time.
For it’s my sole purpose, the very reason I’m here,
To bring poetry and truths to the listening ear.
I know it’s my path, I’ve found my way
But I’m not taken seriously because “it doesn’t pay.”

So in actual fact, what they want to know
Is not ‘what you do’ but “how do you make doe?”
So I make my way through the long list
Of things that I “do” in order to make my wish
Come true for me in such a way
That one day it will actually pay.
“One day I’m a waitress, the next I’m a clerk
All I can do to keep myself in work.
I promote different brands and I give out flyers,
Anything possible to keep my hired.
I work in events and travel a bit…..”
I can pay your rent you arrogant git!

“Ah, but you see,” they say slightly annoyed
“The problem is, you’re self-employed!
When your clients do not pay
Will you leave or will you stay?”

“Please! I’ve told you all I do
To make sure I can make it through.
I’ve paid more than my fair share
Of rent, on time, throughout the years.
I need a roof over my head,
My own space and my own bed.
I’ll even pay you more up front
Let me give you two more months.”

“I’m sorry, we’re not looking for your kind,
A free-thinker with an open mind.
We need to know you’re getting paid
Three times the rent, a regular wage.
Until then we can not help
Good luck with your search, we’ll see you out.”

Forlorn and broken, wanting to cry,
I walk out the door wondering why
It’s so hard these days to find a home,
To lock out the world and call your own.
Surely it’s a human right
To have somewhere decent to sleep at night.
“Play by the rules and everything’s sweet,
Show the evidence you’re on your feet.
If you’ve reached 30 and haven’t reached your goals,
Maybe it’s time you sell your soul.”

This is when I refuse to listen
I will not join this slavery system.
Through it all I refuse to budge
People gossip and people judge
But what are we without our dreams?
Birth and death, nothing in between.
So I will continue to write my songs
And grasp opportunities as they come along.
I’ll manifest my soul’s desire,
Stoke the flame of my inner fire.
I’ll continue to write the prose of my heart,
For this is my project, THIS is my art.

So, in essence, my REAL work forces me to be
A rebel of this society
But if that’s what it takes for my mind to be free
Then…… let it be, c’est la vie.

RRx

Poetry Corner Sense

Hear not what I say

Though swim in my eyes

For the lips can play

But the soul tells no lies

Feel the rhythm of my beat

As my heart learns to dance

And the flutter of my belly

At the butterfly’s chance

Taste the salt of my ocean

As it seeps through my pores

Savour the sweet potion

That’s no-one’s but yours

Smell the scent of my rose

As it comes into bloom

And the mist of my lust

When you walk in the room

See our guardian angels

As they hover above

See the warmth of my smile

And the strength of my love

Unconditional Love

Raquel & The Professor

Here you have a woman

With the world at her feet

Sitting in front of you

And you’re refusing to speak

You better think about it

I know I know I know you want to

There you have a woman

With a beautiful smile

Giving you everything

And raising your child

You better think about it

I know I know I know you want to

 ♥

I know it’s not easy

Too many shades of grey

As the wheel of fortune turns we see that

Life don’t work that way

You can’t have it all

But I offer to you my unconditional love

 ♥

There you have a woman

Who fits all the square’s

Made an institution

It’s normal – who cares?

You didn’t think about it

I know I know I know you wanted to

Here you have a woman

Who’s waited for you

Made her life…

View original post 96 more words

Told You So Lyrics

Raquel & The Professor

 

My mama said I’d be what I wanted to be 

But I told her all I wanted to be was me 

She turned to me to ask, what did I mean

I had to tell her straight, I was gonna live my dream

She told me I was going to university 

I said I didn’t really wanna get a degree

Showed her my guitar, the songs I wrote 

She said stop right there this has go to be a joke

She said

Why ay ay ay ay

Why ay ay ay ay 

I didn’t raise you up so you could play the guitar 

Don’t be a dreamer, you won’t get far

I said

Why ay ay ay ay 

Why ay ay ay ay

I said I’m dreaming my dream and I just want you to know 

I wait for the day to say I told you so

It wasn’t…

View original post 277 more words

Burst That Bubble (Smile) Lyrics

Hey lady you’re living in a bubble

Going on like that you’re asking for trouble

Sitting on your throne like the Queen of Sheba

Like butter wouldn’t melt nor would ice cubes either

Hey lady with your perfect hair

Why you got your nose up in the air?

Can see straight through your transparent suit

You’re nothing but high-class prostitute

 

You gotta burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

 

Hey old man you’re living in a bubble

Already drank too much and now you want another double

Take my advice keep your opinions to yourself

You’re old fashioned views should be left upon the shelf

Hey old man what do you care?

There’s enough to go round

This world is to share

Where did you pick up your selfish ways?

It wasn’t like that in the good old days

 

You gotta burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

 

Burst that bubble and show me your pearly whites

You gotta burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

 

Ever hear the saying about throwing stones

When the house is made of glass as well as your own

Did you ever hear the one, the pot, kettle and black

Well repeat it to yourself while you’re picking up glass

 

You gotta burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

Burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

 

Hey my friend we’re living in a bubble

We’d better wake up now or we will get in double trouble

Celebrity status and material things

Flashy fast cars and trashy diamond rings

We don’t need half of what we got

Does it really make a difference what you call your god?

There are people in this world that need our help

But you’re too busy passing judgment on everyone else

 

 

You gotta burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

 

Burst that bubble and show me your pearly whites

You gotta burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

 

Ever hear the saying about throwing stones

When the house is made of glass as well as your own

Did you ever hear the one, the pot, kettle and black

Well repeat it to yourself while you’re picking up glass

 

You gotta burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

Burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

 

Burst that bubble I said

Burst that bubble won’t you

Burst that bubble and show me a smile

 

You gotta burst that bubble

Burst that bubble and smile

Yeah you gotta

Burst that bubble

You gotta burst that bubble and smile

 

Burst that bubble I said

Burst that bubble won’t you

Burst that bubble and show me a smile

 

 

Teach your children…… wisely…..

I have just watched a video that showed a little Israeli girl being told by her parents to hit a slightly older (but not by much) Palestinian boy with a baton, whilst the family encouraged and filmed the atrocity.

 This comes, in the same month that I, myself, was the subject of racial abuse by a 7 year old in a passing car who after obviously being encouraged by his ignorant father who tooted his horn, then hung a gollywog out of the window whilst screwing his face into a sword of malice in my direction. Needless to say, I was, and still am speechless.

 Teach your children - less cruel

 

Events such as these seriously make me question the ‘right’ to have children and I am extremely glad that I have chosen not to bring any into this world. Surely, you should have to take an exam on being a parent before being allowed to breed an infectious and poisonous mentality. Mental bacteria wiping out the empathy that humanity is privileged to have. Call it what you wish, xenophobia, you-me-mentality, racism, nationalism, the proof that I have had this month of what is being taught to the children of today by some downright cold-hearted people obviously lacking in empathy, has shocked me to no end.

At any time whilst brainwashing this innocent child into hateful indulgence, whether that be by humiliation or physical abuse, do these so-called adults not turn the situation around in their twisted brains? By teaching that child to do this to people, you are teaching them their life. They will continue to do these things, even when they don’t want to until their lives have been destroyed and hopefully, if they are lucky, they will start to work on themselves, a long and gruelling task to change their mindset – the one created by those that were supposed to be teaching how to have a good life. They will be the oppressor and they will become the oppressed. Such is the circle of life.

 Teach your child - wise  

 These children should be found, and taken away from venomous parents, for the sake of peace on earth. How can peace exist whilst at the very core, at the root, hate is being taught?

   From a spiritual perspective, your child has come to you for a reason and that reason is not for you to teach it to hate. That child is a gift, to remind you of the innocence and beauty of life and of love and yet so many people are so quick to tarnish the beauty. Pour oil on the painting. They want that beauty to become like their own egotistical selves. An aged bacteria of hurt and scars infesting the clean aura of the child.

   How can someone that has brought children into this world ever hurt another human being, let alone a child?? To understand the gift of life and the beauty of love first hand and yet you are willing to take somebody else’s away, because of the amount of pigmentation they have in their skin, the country they happened to be born in or the religion that they have been brainwashed by other ignorant parents to believe?

 

teach children respect

 

   The Palestinian child victim video is horrendous as are most of the happenings in Gaza right now. The child with the gollywog is very sad. It reminded me of Britain in the 1980’s, when it was filled with National Front skinheads and race wars. I think that’s the last time I ever saw a gollywog. We, as a ‘nation’ have come along way since then and, I, as a child accustomed to racial taunts, am sickened by the backwards stance that certain people have attained in the 21st century.

  The rise of right-wing political groups along with the stirring pot of the media has a lot to do with this outspoken hatred that has formed in the UK. If this is what will be taught in homes from their supporters then it, and they, need to be stopped. And NOW.

   We ALL know that we are all the same. Every single one of us, in the western world, has had interactions with people who originated from other countries. We ALL have positive interactions with those from other places. We all visit other places on holiday. There is no excuse for this hate and narrow-mindedness to take place and I am ashamed that it is taking place in the place that I am proud to be from.

As for Gaza – I’m praying for every single one of them and I suggest you do too.

 save gaza

 Peace and One Love

 

 

RRx