I’ve noticed in Hackney that all sorts of people rummage through bins.
You get the types one would expect to carry on in this sort of manner, ladies with lots of bags having audible yet private conversation to their own faces, ragged fellows with hairy cheeks and swarthy skin, bearing drinking vessels and making small talk with the railings, but in Hackney you also get relatively well-dressed middle-aged fellows with balding pates and housewifey-type women with enormous gold-hooped earrings pausing to investigate the discarded items of others. It’s fucking well weird. And none of them give a tinker’s cuss who is watching them indulge in what is, frankly, a less than ideal pastime. It’s a funny old thing poverty, has this propensity to turn dignity into no more than a mere sacrifice for scraps, dregs and a fag-end.
From the bins of Hackney to the homeless sleeping on the porch of Shoreditch church, to the pair of young, smartly dressed women sat quietly weeping on the pavement at Gracechurch Street and Bishopsgate, staring at their alms cups, too ashamed to look up at the city workers -once colleagues, now a universe away- we are drenched in homelessness and poverty, so much we seldom seem to notice it, indeed, we do our best to spurn and ignore it.
So many friends have been made redundant in the past few months, some of them are reading this and have had cause to completely rethink their lives. Suddenly the prospects of homelessness, though several paces away, has taken one simple step closer. This is irrefutable fact.
Regular readers of this drivel may be aware that I’ve accumulated debt on account of the incompetence of both solicitor and my laissez faire attitude to money. Whilst in the shite I’m still a long way from rummaging through bins, I hope, but I was thinking as I sat on the fucking bus on the way to London Bridge this morning, none of us are really that far from winding up outside tube stations, cash points asking strangers for change, it’s very easy to think ‘I wouldn’t do that’ and walk past.
Anyway, those young smartly dressed women begging in The City should get off their arses and go on the game, bloody scroungers.