a look at another side to the street
TIME TO PUT SOME SPARECHANGE IN
THE YOUNG MAN'S HAT
Kindness is why people give to street sellers,
entertainers and even beggars. Maybe the buzz helps them to be kind.
The buzz in this part of town – the centre of London
– has never been disputed. Even when you are
gaining sanctuary in some of the quietest and most elegant shops or bars - the
buzz follows you around, albeit less quietly.
There are the other aspects that we don't talk about except in
committee. First inst - the bums. It's not so bad in other
parts of town - honest guv, it's just that they multiply in areas where
people have casual small change to throw - and do throw.
We Brits have offered a living to a large proportion of the current
refugees - or assylum seekers as they are now called. (PC creeps in
everywhere). As a country, we have undertaken to look after them and
instead the government uses an 'under-the-carpet' approach to shunting
them off to suddenly appear in the midst of poverty stricken
communities of indiginous 'refugees' from the working sector. What's
this to do with Covent garden?
In Covent Garden, as anywhere, begging is a lucrative
alternative to the mean raft of paperwork for claimants and explains in part why so
many beggars are in Covent Garden rather than [say] the City where they
make a point of hanging on to their cash.
Professional begging with babies attracted the 'change'. in plenty, in
this apparently affluent place until there was a public "NO!" to using
babies underground and on the trains. Complaints stopped
it. More people see baby props as a con job.
For a long time, as long as the tourists seem to like them and feed
them like the birds in trafalgar Square, the police couldn't do
anything - nobody wanted to either. Then beggars started to pop up all
aggressive and rude - then in came the ASBO (Anti Social Behaviour
Order) .They were literally ordered off the patch for a bit.
Aggression is more or less a thing of the past.
Most government assistance money goes towards consultants monitoring
& statistics paperwork and into the pockets of 'experts' -
Not much of an already small budget gets to the homeless themselves.
Don't let it put you off though, they add something to the area. Some
tramps dress up smart and give something back in patter or busking.
London wit and street music should be encouraged with repartee and
cash. Anyway, they behave themselves fine. Many people taking care of
the ambience in this place make sure they do including the old guard of
homeless who have made this their home too.
There are facilities here for the homeless (soon to be listed on the
BackStage section). Sandwiches and soup even vans that come around with
food and bedding. You don't get that in Penge or Kensington. On a fine
evening the doorway parties begin. A flurry of folk carrying bedding
settle down with their hats and some beer in 'their' doorways all over
the place. Strand, where shopsI hear that in other parts of Europe they
make their beggars dress up in suits so as 'not to let the side down'.
We are more kindly here - for the time being.
I'm sure they appreciate the buzz as well, talking about which, do
people come here to feed off a buzz or to add to it? Obviously a bit of