Posted Mar 12, 2003
Very worried about government proposals to give beggars a criminal record. Talk about kicking someone when they're down!!! These are people who are at the lowest point, no home, possible drink/drugs/mental health problems, no job. And just for good measure, let's give them a criminal record so that they *certainly* won't be able to get a job anytime soon!
Mr Blunkett says: "Nobody needs to beg in this country. There will be accommodation for them if they want, there are benefits available to them, even if they have not got a fixed abode."
This is not true. Simple as that.
I think there have been big improvements in the provisions for homeless people, but it makes me very angry to hear politicians claim things that are not true, especially when it's an obvious pathetic attempt to win some support.
It can take years for a homeless person to get into permanent accommodation. It can take months to get into temporary accommodation. There are criteria and priorities and if you don't count as a priority (if you're a single man over 21, for example) then you are in a bad position. In theory you can claim benefits - in practice this can take a long time to come through and probably won't be enough anyway.
I had to apply for Job Seeker's Allowance once. I got £53 a week. Imagine having to survive on £53 a week in London!!!
By linking "beggars at cashpoints" with "frightening gangs on street corners" and "drug dens", Blunkett is simply reinforcing and even increasing the prejudice and intolerance already apparent in our society.
Having said all that, I'm still not quite sure what is wrong with begging in the first place.
Posted Mar 10, 2003
Technically I am now nicotine-free, having not had a cigarette for almost 3 days.
Quite exciting, really.
Not only have I not killed anyone, I even smiled at a small child on the Tube this morning.
Our leaders have lost the plot!
Posted Jan 15, 2003
I don't know why they don't just go and make Piers Morgan Prime Minister.
I am very sorry about DC Oake but his death was a stabbing, not a terrorist action. It does not "remind us of the threat international terrorism poses in all its forms." It simply reminds us that criminals can be dangerous.
Blair is clearly becoming desperate. Next thing we know, he'll be saying: "A family-size bag of chips was found in the house of these dangerous terrorists. Chips can kill, if eaten in sufficient quantities. It is a stark reminder of just how dangerous international terrorism really is."
As long as whatever he says can be linked to 'international terrorism', everybody will be distracted and he will be safe.
Not to mention the dangers of choking on a pretzel...
And as for IDS: "a wake-up call to the nation". Will someone please take his battery out and put him back in his box?
Tom Waits update
Posted Nov 25, 2002
Looks like GTBacchus and I will be collaborating. The questions posed in the previous journal entry still very much apply though!
Posted Nov 21, 2002
Thinking about writing an entry on Tom Waits (inspired by Gosho's diner slang entry). Rather surprised to see that there isn't an edited one.
I don't want to write specifically about his music. It's fantastic to listen to, but probably not very interesting to read about - I mean, how would you even *begin* to describe what Bone Machine sounds like?
Might concentrate on his lyrics. That was how I first discovered him in fact: a writer friend of mine told me that one of his favourite poets was Tom Waits. I think his lyrics and narratives are also the source of his enduring appeal (like Bob Dylan).
Another interesting way to see TW would be as a musician's musician. He's never been a household name but he has had an extraordinary influence on his peers. Many higher profile artists have covered his songs and made hits out of them (Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart for example). He's also a musical experimenter and something of a soundsmith (king of the 'found object' orchestra!). He's turned his hand to most song styles over the decades.
I'd rather not do a straight bio, but perhaps people would prefer to read that kind of thing. Likely to contain more facts and less pseudo-intellectual b*ll*cks, after all....