Monday, 11 January 2010

Swing, snow and homelessness


Journalists are a cynical bunch and I think could use a good dance sometimes.

On the other hand, it's also crazy to do this sort of thing. I saw a man tapdancing on London Underground, and asked my boyfriend about him.

"Have you seen a man tapdancing on the tube?"
"The crazy one? Yes EVERYBODY's seen him. Peace, I love you. That one. He does it in every carriage every day, of course I've seen him."

I watched a documentary once about religious dancing frenzies in the Middle Ages. People forgot to eat. Just like a rave? I don't think ecstasy existed in those days.

Personally, I prefer to dance all by myself in a massive space.

It has been snowing a lot, so college closed last week. Geet and I ventured out to find stories for the course paper.

We walked miles over the ice to a homeless shelter because the trains were so delayed.

We found a man who started using glue at the age of 11, and went wandering for years. He told us all about life in the sad old game:

"I used to justify it. I’d tell myself I was a different kind of addict, because I didn’t steal from anybody. But an addict is an addict at the end of the day. I went into rehab and said I’d never drink again, but it’s more socially acceptable to be a pisshead than a heroin addict. Sad but true. Everyone in here’s got problems. If we had cushty jobs we wouldn’t be in this sad old game.

"Methadone, I don’t know why they put people on it. I could go without heroin for a week, two weeks, but you want Methadone every day. I’ve learnt a lot about the damage drugs do to your body. Alcohol does more damage than crack or heroin. You put a cucumber in alcohol it turns into a pickle. You can’t turn a pickle back into a cucumber.

"I had a text message on the first of January to say a young guy I knew in Oxford died of a heroin overdose. Somebody injected him when he was drunk. He was asleep. He didn’t even use it. What a way to go."

Just some of what he said, all of which was interesting. It's one of the things that makes me love journalism. I'd never have thought to meet him otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, see what you mean about the dance scene (starts 3 minutes in if anyone's in a rush!) - eek, watch your head, missus! Looks so spontaneous but some of those moves have to be so precise or there'd be blood on the floor!

    Ta for the insight into your homeless interviews & well done for following it up. Looking forward to seeing what else comes from that.