MY RESEARCH TOOK ME INTO THE NIGHT AND ON TO THE STREETS OF LONDON, LIVING AS A HOMELESS PERSON TO TRY AND UNDERSTAND.
This morning I found myself waking up with anticipation of the days events especially with what I have planned for this evening.
Through my years of experience and travels overseas and abroad, I have gained the knowledge, training and versatility of being able to conform to the many facets needed in this life. My experience within foreign countries has allowed me to expand my horizon, giving me the passion to continue on my journey as I discover new traditions, cultures and way of life. Confident that this will enhance my ability as a man to be open to the wonderful world of discoveries and adventures. Well I will need to have those traits now more than ever tonight if all goes to plan.
I had suggested with a little help from Jack (2yrs homeless) who I had met on the streets yesterday and some of his knowledge before we parted last night that I thought it a good idea to stay with him living as a homeless person for one night to try and prepare myself for my film. I recall saying in my head “am sure my night on Londons streets will give me a great insight into what he goes through every night”.
I met up exactly where I had said goodnight to him last night laying homeless in Hackney but although awake he seemed not so happy as I had left him but then sleeping rough was never going make anyone wake up in the best of moods I thought. While we stood facing one another though I knew is night alone wasn’t what had made him more distant towards me and although and unsure how to approach him about it I did feel like I wanted to know why?. I had brought bagels and a drink so gave him his cup a tea and with that we made our way to our first meeting I had set up. On the way he shared me his views of why he was feeling a little distant and I hadn’t realised that I had left him with an awful weight and responsibility for my safety on his shoulders and he hadn’t slept much for thinking about it so with that i felt a little selfish and thought I may have to call this off but eager to try we chatted for a while and told him I hold no one responsible for this is something I want and am compelled to do to aid me with my research for the film to which we agreed or Jack agreed and.it wasn’t long before our first meeting of the day due for 10am.
We had arrange to meet up with some people that would give me some advice on my plans for tonight and we met up with support workers where they told me about keeping warm and the names of some local shelters in case I need them. You know it struck me and I’ve said this before I think the most beautiful thing in the world is watching someone do what they love. A piece of them shines through and even if you see it for only a few seconds, its as if they are the most beautiful thing in the world. These type of people originally inspired me to make my film but on leaving them I realised I would need that trait in myself more than ever as we met up a Jayne former city worker and now a big issue seller and it was genuinely heartbreaking to hear she had been standing outside her regular spot for an hour and half and I was her first customer. Just want to say here please support your local sellers of the mag which is much more than just a job to the people who sell them and if you love your pop culture you will love this issue which includes chat about ‘XFactor’ and ‘The Voice’ – Will.i.am
We visited some of the parts of Elephant & Castle which will make some fantastic locations before taking the tube to Aldgate. I had wanted to stop at the homeless charity Skylight Cafe where I had Beef meatballs in a rich tomato & paprika sauce service with brown rice, dill and sour cream topping served with an Asian noodle salad with bok choy, peppers, beans sprout and a sesame & lime dressing. I had wanted to see what events they have on for now and the future but got to say amazing quality of food here for anyone that wants to pop in.
So tonight am planning and intend to spend a night on the streets of London to experience homeless first hand and what I have learnt tonight so far is after a busy day and used to having lots to do am struck by how tired I am and how aimlessly it is walking around with no purpose this evening. Boredom is something that surely drives homeless people insane. Its like the opposite of prison am guessing. Although not locked up and have all the freedom they want I found my thoughts are consumed with the lack of constructively my evening is having at the moment with no focus except one and thats am constantly thinking about later when it gets dark and the only thing I find is am doing is as I walk is do I think that place over there looks safe to sleep..
The people am meeting are people in poverty and are spoken at, listened to, but not heard, am learning my film will need to show that circumstances can push many people into poverty to get people to sit up and take note. That it’s not their fault and understanding attitudes to poverty in the UK and getting the public’s attention is paramount otherwise we are learning nothing and the problem is getting worse not better.
Fear not for me though as I am with Jack tonight whom to this is a daily ritual and am reassured that we will be fine. I do have money and my phone and although no back up team I can end this at any time and have a taxi company who I have alerted to come get me if at all I feel unsafe or feel I can’t continue.
You’ve no idea how lovely it is to read the messages am getting on twitter and facebook. Friends are hard to come by and think as we get older we seldom meet new people that come and stay in our life but can’t help feel a lil connecting with you and I will use the strength am shown to help me through.
I hope people will watch my film..and are currently searching out for a sleeping bag from someone we met earlier.
Wish me luck and I will be tweeting the night which you can see via the link.
UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST BELOW ON WEDNESDAY 1st May 10:31am
Just a quick update to let you know how my night went.and will put a dedicated post but just want you to know am OK
Am all good. just got to hotel at 10am from my night on the streets of London, checked in and they have let me have the room early, charged phone enough to write this which ran out of juice about 2am, feel like a zombie, will write up later, what a experience and wont forget that in a hurry, London looks and feel very different in the small hours, didn’t dare close by eyes all night. The homeless are some of the most vulnerable but I now know are some of the most brave as well. Thanks everyone for your support, am a lil overwhelmed, quite emotional but focussed more than ever. I hope you all have a nice day its lovely outside, for me I have a taste in my mouth which is of exhaust fumes, I got to brush my teeth and a hot bath to shake London out of me and then bed. Feel like I could sleep for a week. I found there are many reasons people can find themselves on the streets such as loss of a job, domestic violence, or victims of child sexual abuse and I witnessed alcohol problems, substance abuse, mental illness along with deep psychological and behaviour problems. I can’t help them all but hope some of them become survivors. My biggest concern in the short term is for Jack though who I haven’t heard from or seen since just before midnight. I will go search for him later and find someone who is on the streets tonight to give my sleeping bag to. Its a new month but make the most of everyday cause you never get it back,
JACK UPDATE POSTED BELOW ON THURSDAY 2nd MAY 02:32am
Got some good news and bad news about Homeless Jack. The bad news is I can’t find him but the good news is the reason why is that it appears he has gone back to his parents and am told that part of his decision was meeting me, the support workers yesterday and the chats we had over the 48hrs or so we was together and on seeing me on the streets last night he had thought it was time for him to move on. I don’t claim to have said or even suggested he should go home to his parents but hope he is safe now and with people that genuinely love and care for him. Just been told that he had enjoyed the looking at filming locations, the trip to Crisis and it had made him feel more positive and wanted to face what he was running from. Don’t know how to feel but pure elation. So happy right now. I have to interview him if he will let me. This is a positive thing. Am made up for him and can’t help but thinking he is no longer homeless Jack but Jack and am so pleased your safe.
For more details I have a page on Facebook which is dedicated to the film am making, my own journey, my continued on going research for the film and to bring awareness to what so many of our UK’s most vulnerable face every night please do check it out for the updates which becuase of the very nature of what am doing I sometimes have to post quick and fast. Or you can check out the other sections at the top of the page or keep reading below. Stay safe everyone. Johnny Lynch
I will end and just say that the decision Jack made, he came to by himself and whatever the catalyst all I can say it must have happened quite quickly I suspect.as he was with me one moment and gone the next. Whatever the reasons am pleased, I probably just did his head in.
Today I have been off scouting for locations in Hackney and Elephant & Castle in London for my homeless film with Jack a man that as been on the streets for 2 years. Must admit its been a little overwhelming at time but I had a lovely lunch at a centre for homeless people in Hackney with Jack and a dozen or more of people whose company I have enjoyed for there honesty and spirit although they all face this battle alone. Its been my privilege to chat to them and at this point I just want to send my love and appreciation to all the volunteers that really do make a difference to some of London’s 6500 homeless. Am more inspired than ever to make this.film because as the image shows because of a few bad decisions or loss of a job we can all hit a downward spiral and this burnt out home above a Chinese restaurant where the couple couldn’t afford the home insurance shows it can land any of us in this situation.
Today I have persuaded 2 homeless people to go to a shelter tonight so although been a day to remember I will recall it with some positives although deep down I can’t help feel heartbroken for what I’ve witnessed. I started this journey a while back and see no better way than this to continue it.
Thank you for all your support.
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