The Occupy second temporary occupation of Southend was set up today at the north end of the high street outside the Odeon Cinema. A few tents and a video booth, a huddle of the enlightened 99% and an apparently oblivous majority of the same. There was a flag which was quite impressive and a handful of police officers, who were not.
Funny spot. Funny sort of place Southend. The High Street, although a symbol of rampant consumerism and capitalist concerns, is actually struggling – no 1% to be found here. There’s quite a lot of shop space empty and those that thrive seem to be the pound shops and discount stores. Marks and Spencer’s maw gaped open wide, the broken automatic sliding doors were taped off for the health and safety of the beige brigade punters who seem to turn eternal geriatric pirouettes of confusion in the food aisles.
I passed a homeless guy outside The Factory Shop. It’s a an aphorism, but you do tend to notice the homeless more when they are holed up with a dog. Sad but true. I couldn’t tell you a thing about the guy, he was hunkered down with his head in his chest and not in the way a racehorse goes to post, but in the other way. The dog slept, but was a big brown teddy bear type mongrel; looked fierce if needs be and I suppose needs do be often on the streets.
When I walked back up the street about an hour later, the temporary Occupy Southend camp had gone; it’ll be back more permanently somewhere in Southend in February. The homeless guy was on the move with another man, probably not homeless, and the big brown dog. As I passed by, the vagrant chucked his polystyrene cup into a shrub. I don’t suppose he bothers picking up his dog’s shit either – why would he?
It’s not too cold out tonight, but it’s going to get that way again soon according to the weather reports.
All the above makes me think. None of what it makes me think is new. If your are recycling thoughts, it might be time to act on them.
As some readers of the blog may already know I am cycling with others to Paris later this month to raise much-needed funds for the Big Issue, the organisation that helps homeless people to help themselves. If you watched the BBC1 programme “Famous, Rich & Homeless” and wanted to know how you could help, why not enter the competition – all proceeds to the Big Issue.
The Big Issue is launching a poetry competition sponsored by Diplomat pens. If you see yourself as a budding poet, put pen to paper and send in your efforts!
The title of the poem must be ‘Invisible Lives’, and the winning entrant will win a Diplomat Excellence Guilloche Chrome Black pen set (fountain pen, ballpoint pen and pen pouch, worth around £250), and have their poem published in The Big Issue magazine.
Stephen Foster, author of best seller ‘Walking Ollie’ will be judging the competition.
Diplomat pens are known for their unique, elegant and innovative designs that will never go out of fashion. Highly skilled and trained craftsmen have been hand assembling the pens at their German workshop since 1922. This attention to detail has earned Diplomat an international reputation for producing much sought after and durable pens. To ensure long-lasting customer satisfaction, each pen is hand finished, quality tested and comes with a five year guarantee, which is longer than most other pen brands.
Diplomat pens are stocked at The Pen Company.
Please send entries to: Jonathan Hunt, The Big Issue Foundation, 1-5 Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 2LN
Cost of entry is £5 ( free to Big Issue vendors).
Please send cheque or postal order with entry.
Please include name, postal and email address, and contact telephone number with all entries. Closing date 31st July. The poems will not be returned.