You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » Tramps » Popular | Search
This is a question Tramps

Tramps, burn-outs and the homeless insane all go to making life that little bit more interesting.
Gather around the burning oil-drum and tell us your hobo-tales.

suggested by kaol

(, Thu 2 Jul 2009, 15:47)
Pages: Latest, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Manchester Hobo - a tale of homelessness and happiness.
He was a lovely chap and I'll call him Fred.

I first met Fred when he was sleeping on the steps by Oxford Road Station.....in the snow. At least he was wrapped up. His girlfriend was asking for change, as homeless people do. I gave her a couple of quid and noticed her hands were blue- really blue - so offered her my gloves. She gave me such a lovely smile and woke up Fred to tell him. I sat down with them and had a little chat, gave them a couple of cigarettes and went off to uni.

I'd see them most mornings and that little act of generosity ensured they'd remembered me. Most mornings I'd give them a smoke, have a 5 minute chat and take them both a coffee. I found out they 'lived' in the alleyway at the back of the Salisbury which was a bit grim. Still, they were lovely people.

One day they weren't there, nor where they there the next. I was a tad concerned. A couple of weeks later I saw Fred selling Christmas hats on Oxford Road. He called me over gave me a hug, thanked me for all the coffees, change and time that I'd taken to have a chat each morning. He explained that his girlfriend had gone down south, he'd moved to a hostel and things were looking better. He gave me a free hat, shook my hand, thanked me once again for everything I did. To me it wasn't much - a bit of change, a 20p cup of coffee, a couple of roll-ups and 5minutes to day hello. To him it was the world - someone took the time to look past the dirt and treat him with respect. I smiled, shook his hand again, wished him a merry Christmas and walked away with a tear in my eye.

I saw him again occasionly, the time between each sighting getting longer and longer. I finally saw him outside the Uni wandering up Oxford Road as happy as can be. He explained he was still in the hostel but now on a waiting list for a flat in Hulme. I didn't see him again for a long time.

The happy finale: About 2 years later I was out in Manchester. There were only 3 of us and we were having a few beers around Canal Street waiting for my mates fella to turn up. There was a tap on my shoulder and there was Fred! Fred looked really well - he'd put on a bit of weight, had a shave, a decent haircut etc. He explained that shortly after I last saw him he got his flat in Hulme. This allowed him to get sorted with regards to benefits etc. Having a proper address meant he was able to find work. He'd got a job, worked hard and was doing pretty well. He bought me a few pints, and as he left he thanked me for all those morning chats etc. He then looked in to my eyes and gave me the most sincere thanks I've ever been given. He told me that our 1st meeting - when I gave him a pair of gloves - was the greatest thing anyone had done for him, yet to me it seemed so insignificant. He nodded and left. I did a little cry.

I've not seen him since.
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 12:10, 17 replies)
Not the funniest & quite long.
I’ve been volunteering for a homelessness charity in the UK for the last 8 years. This post isn’t a boast about that (I only volunteered in the first place to try & impress a woman I was playing hide the bratwurst with), but it is now something I could never see myself not doing – it’s a fucking brilliant experience.

The charity runs temporary centres for the homeless for eight days over Christmas (many of the hostels in London close over this period). The charity itself was founded as a result of a few people (I think 12 or so) setting up temporary shelter in a church (the charity is not a religious organisation) in response to the 60’s film ‘Cathy come home’. These 12 individuals expected about 30 or so homeless people to visit the shelter. Approximately 400 homeless people turned up. We now get approx around 2000 visitors (we call them guests in an attempt to give them at least some dignity) each year – of whom around 500 are rough sleepers with the remaining being either sofa surfers (temporarily staying with friends) or living in hostels.

I began as a general volunteer (there are several thousand volunteers across 7-8 centres that the charity operate) and for the last 4 years have been one of the team that manages one of the centres. We have operated centres in all sorts of buildings from the Dome (O2), London Arena (now demolished), empty office blocks, schools and colleges. We receive gifts in kind (food, clothing etc) from individuals and large companies worth a couple of million quid each year. Few of these mention it publicly and the level of philanthropy is humbling.

The mix of people who become homeless is unbelievably diverse, including graduates, professionals and about a third have served in the armed services in the past (these typically end up homeless from not being able to adjust to civilian life).

Anyone can become homeless. There is an estimate that before the recession the average adult in the UK was financially about 6 weeks away from homelessness if they lost their job. Fuck knows how much that figure has reduced since the start of the recession. A lot of people end up homeless as a result of a relationship break-up.

Yes of course there are pissheads & druggies and a lot have mental health issues. A lot of these ended up like this as a result of being homeless (remember the snow we had in February – you’d want to get off your head if you had to sleep out in that).

Typically the different problems the homeless suffer are made up of thirds. This means a third are ex-services, a third have substance dependency problems, a third have mental health issues, a third have suffered physical or sexual abuse, etc, but we see a lot of people with what we call multiple thirds – e.g. have mental health issues and are ex-services or have experienced abuse and have dependency issues. We have also seen an increase in homelessness since eastern European countries joined the EU – this is common – every rise in immigration comes with a rise in homelessness - fuck me can these boys drink.

The volunteers are fucking amazing. Some of my best friends are other volunteers who I’ve had hilarious nights on the piss with, brilliant holidays etc. I’ve also got a few shags out of it as well (volunteers not guests!). The volunteers come from a very diverse background – from leftie students to people in the 70’s.

I have met ‘A list’ celebrities who volunteer anonymously every year, quietly and with no publicity. We also have former homeless people who the charity has helped get sorted who come back & volunteer. The professions of the volunteers are so diverse the charity are able to operate dental, podiatry & general medical services, provide legal advise, teach basic skills (literacy etc) as well as dependency counsellors, cooks, sewers (to alter clothing), plumbers, carpenters, etc to make the buildings we get habitable.

The relationships the charity has with other organisations and councils means about 200 homeless people are re-homed over the 8 day period we are open – some go to hostels (first step to getting off the streets), some require further medical attention (long term residency due to mental health issues) and some are re-housed by councils.

I have on occasion taken rough sleepers to their new homes which is an incredibly emotional experience (and I am one of the most cynical & non-emotional cunts you would ever meet) – witnessing the sheer joy for them of getting off the streets & being able to get themselves sorted (jobs, qualifications etc) is extremely humbling.

Of course there are rough sleepers who don’t want a roof & four walls but they get the same access to services if they wish and we treat everyone equally (for example volunteers and guests eat together whenever possible) to break down barriers – the isolation of homelessness is one of the worst aspects and definitely contributes to the mental health issues that many will experience.

Yes we also get the occasional cunt who wants to spoil it for everyone else – fighting/ stealing etc. but as more experienced volunteers who run the centres we are trained by the charity on how to restrain these wankers & we ban them quickly (with the “help” of the rozzers where required). However these incidents are rare (probably 5 at each of the 7 centres across the week – 35 out of 2000 is a pretty good rate. Our first concern is the safety of guests and volunteers. Only one of the centres allows alcohol. Weapons & drugs are banned from all. One of the centres is women only & this is operated in anonymous location so these guests can get away from pimps, abusive partners etc.

When I turned up at my first shift in 2000 I didn’t have a clue what to expect, was slightly apprehensive and I only turned up to impress a sexy nurse I was seeing at the time. In fact the only good thing I got from my relationship with her was my introduction to volunteering and the friendships and fucking amazing (often hilarious) experiences I have had.

So if you’re based in London & don’t like the whole family Christmas thing you can volunteer at www.crisis.org.uk or gaz me for further details.

I have experienced some extremely funny times when volunteering but will post these separately.

And no I don’t read the fucking Guardian before you ask.
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 10:08, 17 replies)
There is a ceratin breed of cyclist that simply oozes mug self righteousness

"I'm saving the environment" they say.

"I'm fit and healthy" they show off.

"I actually quiet like the feeling of lycra against my frank and beans" they probably think.

Anyway, there are plenty of these tools around London whizzing in and out of traffic, zipping straight through traffic lights and squishing under lorries.

One beautiful sunny day in London town I saw a swarm of these brightly coloured piss weasels pull up at the side of the road for a hydration session (drink to you and me).

As they glugged down their isotonic hydrating glucozoidal treacle something wonderful happened. A tramp came around the corner on "his" bike, he was giving it some beans as he was probably late for a dinner party or some such thing. He going fast enough that the rudimentary cloak that he had fashioned from old plastic bags flew majestically in the breeze like some kind of Tesco value superhero, SuperWino!


When he saw his cycling brethren he slammed on the brakes and pulled up beside them, lent down to the lower cross bar of the frame of his bike where there was a water bottle holder and pulled out a shiny can of Special Brew.

The cyclists looked on in disgust as he raised it up, opened the top, shouted/burped "CHEERS" and downed the lot, before crushing the can with snarl and riding off to his next SuperWino adventure fortified by his magic potion.
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 13:01, 6 replies)
daffodils
I live near an area of Dundee that's affectionately known as "needle row"... pick a closie and you could wrap a christmas turkey with the amount of used tin foil in it. Between needle row and the town centre, there are plenty "interesting" people to meet. Many are the usual crazy/drugged up hobos you see all over Scotland, but there are a few who are true legends. Apologies now, this is not a funny story, it just kinda highlights that not all homeless people are junkies, some are the complete opposite.

Lisa was awesome. She used to sit in the overpass at the station in the winter, minding her own business and staying warm. She was quite possibly the sweetest girl i've ever met, so cheerful even though she'd had a horrible life.

The first time I met her, it was early December. She hadn't eaten in about 9 days, and was nearly unconscious. The pile of Big Issues she'd been trying to sell lay unsold beside her, no one buys them in Dundee. I took her to MacDonalds and she told me her story. Her parents were junkies in Glasgow, both heavily into heroin, and used to beat her, or worse, pretty much when the mood took them. She'd ran away when she was 15 after they'd tried to prostitute her to earn drug money. She didn't have a proper education, but was desperately trying to get a job. She'd go to the job centre nearly every day, looking for jobs and getting out of the cold for a bit. She'd applied for several jobs, but they all refused her as she didn't have an address. I got her a hotel room once, she insisted that she'd get a job in Tesco or something and pay me back. she ripped a corner off a Big Issue and wrote me an I.O.U. Everytime we met she told me how her job search was going, what she'd been up to, where she'd been. Sometimes she'd spend her day wandering about the parks, picking flowers. She loved them, she was amazed that something so pretty could grow from nothing but dirt. She told me once that it gave her hope in the spring when the daffodils came out, she knew that she would be ok.

For someone who'd lived on the street for nearly a decade, and had no more than a primary school education, she was incredibly warm and quick witted. Any time I was getting a train, or if I was bored in town, I'd sit and speak with her for ages, sharing cigarettes and cider and having a sly laugh at the businessmen who spent their whole day getting stressed over things that don't really matter. Someone gave her an old mobile phone once, the only numbers she had in it were me, a couple of my mates and the Samaritans hotline. I always felt a bit guilty when I went home to my warm house, knowing that she was still out there, huddled in the overpass trying to keep out of the rain. Whenever she saw me going for a train she made sure to give me a hug, and told me she prayed that I'd get there safe.

The council started to revamp the area around the station last year, and knocked down the overpass. Lisa had to move to the station doorway, with no shelter from the elements, but was still her chipper self, chattting to whoever would listen and sharing her last cigarette.

They found her on the 20th January this year, sat in her usual spot at the station doors. She'd died of pneumonia, and was frozen solid. She'd been ill for weeks, but refused to move in case someone stole her spot. She'd been grieving for one of her friends, another Big Issue seller who'd been stabbed outside M&S a week before. It was strange to think that Lisa and her flowers wouldn't be there anymore, and to see the impact she'd made on the lives of other Dundonians.

When spring came this year i made sure to leave a bunch of daffodils in her spot, along with a cigarette and the I.O.U. ripped in half. Next time someone asks you for change, please don't snub them and justify it with some druggie excuse... even if you only have 5 minutes, get to know them a little... they might just be another Lisa.

Apologies for lack of funnies. And length.

here's a link to the BBC site about her, any other Scumdonians on here might remember her and her awesomeness :)

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/7861600.stm
(, Sat 4 Jul 2009, 5:33, 10 replies)
Grunge is not dead
I was enjoying an afternoon pint with a friend sitting outside a pub in Oxford on a glorious day several years ago, when we suddenly hear 'excuse me guys...'

We both looked up and there's a mid-twenties bloke, thick beard, straggly hair, looking like he's been sleeping rough.

Before he even says anything we both go for the automatic response:

'No, sorry mate...'
He looked a bit surprised
'Eh?'
'Haven't got anything to give you - sorry.'
Now he looked totally bemused...
'I'm... I'm not homeless- I was just going to ask for the time! I'm a student for fuck's sake!'

We paused for a moment, awkwardly as he was still stood there glaring at us, then my companion piped up...

'Well, have a fucking wash then - this is supposed to be a respectable university'.

I laughed my arse off... Then I felt sorry for the guy... Then I laughed my arse off some more.
(, Sun 5 Jul 2009, 21:21, 2 replies)
Tramps, illegal raves, axes, coppers, goths, a bloke who'd missed his train and a free breakfast.
Me and my mates had attended an anti-war protest in Manchester a few years ago, it was very nice, peaceful and organised affair… The police were cool, the protestors were cool…. T’was a great day…

Anyhoo, after the protest had finished we sauntered off to a few pubs and had a few scoops and debated whether to get the last train home or stay in Manchester and get pissed. We decided (sensibly) that the latter option was the better one.

So we wandered across the city through a small park in the centre looking for a nightclub. As we passed through we could hear loud techno music being played and we noticed a large converted bus was parked up, a generator had been set up and some one was DJ’ing.

So we nip over and we notice that a loud crowd of assorted types were pretty much raving in Manchester city centre.
The group consisted of:

The bus owners: A six foot seven, dreadlocked geezer in a kilt, his lovely missus, and a few of their friends. They had driven up from Cornwall for the protests and decided to make the best of it.

The rest of the crowd consisted of:

A few protestors, some goths, also some skater kids, some chav kids, some punks, a bloke in suit who’d missed his train and three homeless guys.

But despite the rather obscure mix of people, this actually turned out to be a great, free outdoor/inner city rave, especially because we all knew this was breaking the law but nobody really gave a shiny shite. We got chatting to everyone and despite the cultural boundaries we all had a ruddy good time….
Until six copper suddenly ran over to us, very angry and quite possibly looking to arrest who ever it was who had set up the rig.
That is until the large braveheart looking guy approached them (towering over them all) and politely informed them that it was he who’d set it up and that yes, he will turn off the music, if the police could suggest somewhere that he could continue his antics.

I think we were lucky, one of the coppers just said ‘anywhere, just not in the city fucking centre’ and then a radio call came through and the coppers legged it.

Okay, so we basically had permission off the police and the braveheart bloke told us all to jump in his van. So, the Goths, the punks, the skaters, the chavs, the protestors, the tramps, the bloke in a suit who had missed his train and us guys got into his converted library bus and the tramps told us they knew of a good field on the outskirts of Manchester.
Sure enough they were right. Except a large padlocked gate prevented us from entering the field with his bus, leaving the braveheart guy with little choice but to take an axe to the padlock and smash it open…. To a loud cheer from us all.

The field already had a bonfire roaring, and many more homeless people were sat in the tents. The Braveheart guy and his missus rummaged in their bus and pulled out some pots and pans and got some food on the go and gave it all to the homeless.
He and missus then rolled up about five or six joints, set up the rig and blasted out some drum and bass tunes and then proceeded to get everybody stoned….

We all partied through the night, warm, happy and loving this act of complete randomness, as were where technically surrounded by complete strangers but we all made the very best of it.

Eventually the sun came up, people started to drift off and the few that remained all decided that breakfast was in order. So we jumped back in the van and as we were driving back into the city, one of the homeless guys told us all ‘that breakfast was on him’… and he gave braveheart guy some directions and sure enough we finally stopped at a donation centre.

The homeless guy led us inside and told the workers that we were his friends and we all got given free fry up, a cup of coffee and a place to sit. Now some of you stuck up types might cringe at the very thought of dining with the down and outs of Manchester, but it was something very different for me. They had returned the favour, and that in itself was all they could offer, but it was a hearty meal and we were eternally grateful.

We finally left, after a few of us had a bit of a whip-round and gave the three homeless guys whatever change we had left. The Braveheart guy and his missus donated the rest of the weed to the three guys and we eventually all went home.

I like to think that the homeless guys had a genuinely great time, I loved the fact the carefree attitudes of a couple of people from Cornwall turned a potentially boring night into a randomly beautiful act of human kindness. And I also like to believe the bloke in the suit finally got his train home (and hopefully still thinks of this event as much as I do).

It made me realise that at the end of the day, no matter where you are from, or what occupation or opinion you have, or what clothes you wear or how you style your hair or whether you live in a tent or a mansion…. We are all the same, we all appreciate human kindness, a fire, a meal and a smoke.

Peace.
(, Tue 7 Jul 2009, 0:43, 8 replies)
Richard of York: tramp agony aunt
My dad is a vicar. Those of you who have had bad experiences of organised religion, feel free to wave your pitchforks now. Done? Good.

But as a vicar's son, I sometimes glimpse, behind the scenes, all the good my dad does that no one ever hears about. Dealing with people's secret pain - the help he gives to those who come to him in distress. It was one such tiny act of kindness from him that sparked the following chain of events.

It begins with a phone call...

The scene: A small Yorkshire town. The time: summer of 2006. I had just graduated and was inhabiting the strange ghost world between university and real life. I had been fired from a temp job for breaching national security (but that's another story) and with the World Cup on the telly had no intention of getting another for at least a month. So I was guarding my parents' house while they were on holiday and doing a spot of gardening to keep myself busy.

*bring bring*
SELF: "Hello, this is the Vicarage."
MYSTERIOUS VOICE: "Hello, is Reverend Of-York there?"
SELF: "No, I'm his son, can I take a message?"
MYSTERIOUS VOICE: "Oh, well, I hear you've been having trouble with some kids messing around in the churchyard."
SELF: "Why yes, yes we have."
MYSTERIOUS VOICE: "Yeah, well, I've sorted it."
SELF: "Er... yay?"
MYSTERIOUS VOICE: "Yeah, I'm an old mate of your dad's and I heard in the pub you were having trouble with some kids, so I thought I'd come and sort it. I used to be in the army, so I know a few things."

Anyway, we talk a bit more and it transpires he's in town for one night but doesn't have a place to stay. So, I say - and I'm still not sure why:

"Oh, well, if you're a friend of my dad's, why not come and stay here?"

He accepts, says he'll come straight round, I put the phone down and suddenly realise that I've just invited a complete stranger to spend the night with me, and not in the good way. Did he say he was in the ARMY? He sounded pretty tough - and what did he do to 'sort out' a bunch of 15-year-old chavs, officially the scariest breed of mammal found in nature? What if he's not an officer and a gentleman, but some crazed killing machine of a squaddie? What if even now, blood-soaked strips of burberry are blowing across the churchyard?

With these terrifying thoughts in mind, I quickly hid all the family silver (well, the DVD player anyway) and was fashioning a makeshift weapon out of a broom handle and a toasting fork when the doorbell rang.

*ding dong!*

Trapped, like a lamb in a field full of bastards. With bated breath, I approached the door...

Fortunately, on the step stood, not a seven-foot Terminator, but a five-foot five middle aged chap with trace of a West Country accent. I hadn't picked up on that over the phone. His name, he said, was Steelie.

Figuring that if the worst came to the worst I could probably take an aging Bristolian shortarse in a fight, I invited him in. He had indeed been a soldier in his youth, but after leaving the forces had been homeless for many years. It was at some time during this period when my dad had, apparently, saved his life (but that's another story). Eventually, the love of a good woman set him on the right path once more, and as proof of this he showed me a photo of himself in a rather natty suit, alongside a woman who, while not exactly in her prime, was holding up well for her age and looked a pillar of respectability. She could definitely have been the head of a village WI. Steelie told me that she was off visiting her sister, and he was on the road again "for old times sake." Perhaps I should have been suspicious at this point, but I was so reassured by the picture of the WI-lady that it passed me by.

So, anyway, what do you do to pass the time with a reformed tramp who you've invited over for the evening?

We went to the pub.

Here, Steelie told me a bit about life on the streets, including some really quite interesting stuff about 'famous hobos throughout history' (or 'gentlemen of the road', as he preferred to call them). I can only remember a few of the stories now:

- Casanova tramp. This was an Irish fellow who lived in the 1800s and apparently shagged his way around the southern counties; it seems no lady of good breeding was able to resist his twinkling eye and silver tongue. He had something incredibly amusing inscribed on his tombstone but alas, it now escapes me.

- The doctor. This was a terribly sad story about a medical man who lost his wife and kids in a fire. Something went snap in his head and he took to the living on the streets. The last time Steelie saw him all his teeth had been kicked out by a gang of youths.

- These two other tramps who stood about under a tree all day waiting for some guy. Actually, I may have heard that story somewhere else.

Anyway, it gets to chucking-out time, we stagger home, I show him to my sister's room (shut up, she was away as well) and say goodnight. The next morning I haven't been murdered, he's still there, I give him a cuppa and send him on his way. End of story, or so I thought.

That night, he was back.

The old chap looked somewhat the worse for drink. "Mate," said he, "you've been generous enough already, I'll just sleep in the garden if it's all right by you." He wouldn't accept the offer of a bed, so I gave him a sleeping bag, and he laid himself out on a bench.

The next morning I awoke, looked out of my window, and saw him still down there. Being the ever-generous soul that I am, I made a cup of tea and took it out to him. Steelie, it was clear, was in a perturbed state of mind. He had a kind of dismayed expression on his face, as if he'd just heard Princess Di unexpectedly come out with a really racist joke.

"I really need to see my missus," he said. "If you give me some money I can catch the bus to York and she can pick me up from there."

'Aha!' I thought. 'Here comes the sting!' "Listen, I don't feel comfortable giving you money," I said (my generosity strangely disappears when it comes to parting with actual cash), "but you can ring your missus from here and hitch-hike to York." He agrees, and I hang around sheepishly in the garden while he makes his call. He hangs up, and comes over.

"A bit of bad news, mate. She's left me."

And THAT is how I found myself sitting on a bench in my garden, in a dressing gown, comforting a heartbroken tramp.

Turns out WI-lady had grown increasingly frustrated with Steelie's unwillingness to fully give up his hobo lifestyle - it's not something you can really do part-time - and they'd had a bit of a bust-up, hence the trip to her sister's and now her callous if understandable phone-dumping. I sat with him on that bench for the best part of four hours, listening to his thoughts on life and women. At one point he got out a little book from his bag and read me a poem. I started wondering if he was ever going to leave - if when my parents returned in a week's time I would have to make out like he was some wacky uncle who'd always lived with us, like when they write in new characters to an American sitcom. It was gone noon by the time he finally decided to depart. I gave him a couple of cans of beer for his journey, and away he trudged, out of my life, forever.

My friend who runs a charity shop in York saw him a couple of days later and gave him some clothes. Beyond that I don't know what became of Steelie. Nor do I know if any of his tale was true, but it seems an elaborate lie to tell for a place to sleep and two cans of Carling.

Personally, I don't think I'd do what I did again, but I learnt a lot about trust and human nature (and famous tramps, obviously). Steelie didn't murder me, and he didn't steal anything. And he did get rid of those kids in the churchyard - not through army skills but through genuine tramp cunning. But that is yet another story...
(, Sun 5 Jul 2009, 21:56, 7 replies)
Kid.
No funnies, no apology. Just plain sad.

Many moons ago when piglet was still being incubated, me and my six months pregnant wife were walking through the town centre when we came across a filthy young man sitting on a blanket. He had his hands out and his head lowered, lifting it only occasionally to direct a beseeching glare on a passer-by. As I looked into his eyes I caught this attention and he looked at me. Then through me. I suddenly understood what a thousand-yard stare looked like. Looking straight at him I opened my wallet and give him my last fiver and walked away.
Curious as to the reason behind my strange burst of generosity (I am known as careful by my Scottish friends) my wife asked why I had done it. So I told her his story.

Long ago in what feels like a different life I used to be a playscheme leader in some pretty rough areas. Attending one of these was a young lad of about 12 who was always fighting. Always. The other kids would wind him up just to see him fight. And he never backed down once, not ever, even in the face of some barely sentient knuckle-dragger who would pound him senseless. But this ginger haired freckly kid had one shining light: His Sister. She was a few years older than him and looked after him and the other kids in his family, he worshipped her as the mother he didn’t really have. He wasn’t the brightest diode on the circuit board but he was capable of following instructions and as stated before, an unyielding fighter. So as soon as he was able he joined the Army.

At this point I have no idea what happened but he went off the rails. His reaction to initial training was that everyone was bullying him, being ginger\freckly probably marked him out and knowing the way he reacted to physical pressure I can only presume he continued to react with his usual flair. Strangely he made it through training and came out as an infantryman. He lasted another two years before being discharged on medical (mental) grounds. He wasn’t very good on his own so his sister took him in and helped him look after himself. He became involved in petty crime but was cunning enough to keep himself out of bother. Then his sister met her husband.

After a whirlwind romance she became pregnant with the first of her three kids and they were married. Kid never got on with his brother-in-law. He never trusted him and would often end up leaving the house before he did violence on the prick (for prick he was, I knew the lad at school and he was a cunt of the highest order). Unfortunately during one of these periods Prick decide that he wanted to be re-housed by the council and firebombed his own home. With his wife and kids inside. They burned to death and he was sent to jail.

When Kid returned he was inconsolable and wandered the streets howling his grief like a madman. He had lost the only good thing he had ever had in his young life (he was still only 23 at this point). He was interned for treatment at a local mental hospital but it didn’t take and he eventually walked out one day and disappeared. Until I saw him on his blanket. I knew I couldn’t help him in any real sense, no-one could. So I gave him some money and hoped he would spend it on something that would help him forget for a while., he always knew how and where to get fed. I’ve never seen him again (cliché? Maybe) but hope he’s found peace, I doubt it’s in this world though.

Peace to you Kid, wherever you are.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 23:41, 4 replies)
A bizarre one
As unlikely as this sounds it really happened.

I was standing behind a tramp on the underground a while ago, on the escalator - he was a traditional, "fun" type tramp, but he had matted ginger hair down to his waist. In front of him were two japanese teenagers. They had matching yellow rucksacks on so they must have been on some kind of school trip.

The tramp started going "arr soor! aaaar soooor I'm Bruce Lee!" and karate chopping the air.

I was cringing at this basic level of slightly racist humour, until one of the boys turned around, waggled his fingers at him and said "arr soooor! I'm Mick Hucknall".
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 11:41, 2 replies)
I've just remembered another one
When I went to visit somebody in Portsmouth, I saw a tramp on the street, with a small puppy. He didn't ask for anything, just offered me a bottle of water. I politely declined, but gave him some advice as to where he could get free injections for the dog, and he told me his life story. Fucked by a divorce, only drugs he did was smoke. Didn't even drink.

Two years later, I end up moving to Portsmouth. In the same spot, there is the man (Dave) and his dog, now looking grown up, but in excellent condition. In Daves bag were tins of dog food, and Dave was looking skinnier. In his defence, he did use some of his begging money to use facilities in some sort of hostel, where he could shower and shave. Even bought charity shop clothes.

Every time I saw him, I'd buy him a 10 deck of fags, a few cheap (I was skint) sandwiches and a tin of dog food. He was the most appreciating man I'd ever seen.

Fast forward 8 months, and I see another man with the same dog. Dave had been taken to hospital with pneumonia. I was gutted for him, but the also-tramp mate had been looking after the dog, so I bought them the usual. The man asked if my name was Sam - Dave had been talking about me!

I saw him again, briefly. He excitedly told me that the council had given him a house (after 5 years!) and would let his dog go with him. They'd even given him money for furniture, which he held at his ex-wife's house. A charity had given him some toys and a bed for his dog.

I never saw him again. It makes me smile to think of him in his new house, and his dog curled up next to a fire and Dave watching TV.
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 1:43, 7 replies)
sing along


I walked past a homeless guy and he started singing "when I was young I thought that life was so logical....."
I said that's supertramp. He said thanks very much
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 13:23, 4 replies)
Tramp-o-gram
During my time as a travelling salesman I was paired up with a succession of evil bastards. One of them was a fella named Harry. Unfortunately this was prior to the Harry Potter thing, so I didn’t have the opportunity to rip the piss out of him all day about this. Instead I nicknamed him Krishna. He thought I was being effectionate and matey – I wasn’t. I hated the prick.

One time we’d just finished lunch in some Toby Carvery somewhere or other in South Wales. Krishna spent the meal talking with his mouthful about how fucking marvellous he was – his favorite subject. As he was technically my superior I nodded, silently stabbing a fork into my leg to stop myself from delivering a haymaker straight round his smug, cuntish, inbred face.

Eventually, we left the restaurant. Krishna went to get the car and I hung about, happily releasing a succession of stinky, silent farts (gravy dinners have this weird effect on my guts, its a bit like lobbing a light match onto a bonfire doused in kerosene). While I'm happily trumping away, breathing in the vapours (nothing quite as satisfying as the smell of your own farts), a tramp ambled up to me. I smelt him first - even above the noxious gasses I was emitting like a badly conditioned moped; the tramp gave off the sort of vapor trail you see in the Yogi Bear cartoons – only this bloke was emitting the pungent smell of stale piss and cheap booze, not the contents of a lovely pic-er-nic basket. The tramp stood next to me. I made a mistake then, I nodded at him as if to say: awight. He then started telling me his life story. He was friendly enough, I suppose.

Then I hit on an idea. I asked this tramp to do me a favour. As a little sweetner I passed over a tenner. As I couldn’t tell Krishna how much of a cunt he was to his face (politics of the workplace and all that bollocks), I hired this affable vagrant to do it for me. Not a bad deal for him; tell a random stranger he’s a cunt – ten quid. Fuck me, if I could get that sort of employment contract sorted I’d be earning a couple of grand a week with hardly any effort.

I nodded to my new mate as Krishna drove up in the company Lexus. My new best mate winked at me, scratched at his haggered old chin, and ambled off towards where Krishna was pulling in. The look of horror on Krishna’s face was worth the tenner alone. I smiled inwardly and waited. God, I wanted this cunt I was partnered with to know he was a cunt so much. I’d been waiting a long, long time to let him know. And now I was about to tell him via the rather peculiar medium of tramp. It was the perfect fucking crime.

The tramp rapped loudly on the windscreen. I steadied myself, staring intently at Krishna, just waiting to see how he’d react to some random abuse (he was a bit of a wet blanket underneath the brash exterior, I anticipated he’d cry or piss himself, or – hopefully – both). The tramp rapped on the window again and said: “That bloke over there says you’re a cunt!”

...bugger...
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 16:59, 3 replies)
Repost but quite funny
I was about 15 and walking up Guildford high street with my pals. Just past Church Street and the local tramp jumped out from behind a bush, swigging from a can of Tennants Extra. Usually this particulr tramp performed shows outside Burger King with little puppets on the end of his gnarly toes, but on this occassion he was playing a harmonica.

He stood in front of us and did a little dance; his cock was dangling cheerfully from his string-tied trousers as he leapt about.

After a minute or two we gave him some change for his well earned performance. He said "listen lads, some advice - get a trade. I know this looks like a glamarous life, but it has its downsides".
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 10:43, 4 replies)
Tramp Joke
courtesy of google...

There was this tramp.

One cold winter's morning he was walking along a country road, when he
heard a cry for help from a nearby lake.

Without a moment's hesitation he ran out onto the ice and slipped and
slided over to a little girl. He managed to pull her out without
breaking the ice further and carried her back to the road. He took off
his coat and wrapped her in it then began looking for a car to flag
down.

Coincidentally the father drives up. "How can I ever thank you sir?"
he says after putting his daughter into the warmth of the limo. "Just
name your price - I'm a wealthy man."

"Ah, well..." stammers the tramp, "... uh, I'm a little short of cash,
perhaps you could help me out."

"Oh dear," says the father, "I don't carry much cash with me, I only
have ten pounds - but come home with me and I'll get more from the
safe."

"No! No!" says the tramp, "Why ten pounds is more money than I've seen
in my whole life - that'll be plenty."

"Ten pounds," thinks the tramp, "I'm rich! I'm rich!" and off he goes
to the town to buy himself a holiday.

He finds a travel agent, walks in - much to the disgust of the staff -
and goes up to the desk. "I'll have one holiday please!"

"Ahem, which holiday would sir like?" asked the girl at the desk,
forcing a smile.

"Oh, any holiday I don't mind, anything up to ten pounds," replies
the tramp.

"TEN POUNDS! You'll NEVER get a holiday for ten pounds," says the girl
incredulously.

She goes into the back of the shop, and searches in the deepest,
dustiest filing drawers she can find. There - to her amazement - she
finds an old file.

"Well you'll never believe it," she says to the tramp, back in the
shop. "I've got you a holiday - its a super-duper, ultra-hyper, mega-
economy class round the world cruise - and it costs ten pounds."

"Yippee!" exclaims the tramp, "I'll take it!"

A few days later he arrives at the port, and there in the dock is the
most beautiful, most elaborately decorated, most expensive looking
ocean-going liner he has ever seen.

"Get off my ship ye dirty bum!" shouts a voice, and an irate captain
storms down the gangplank and kicks the tramp down onto the dockside.

"But I've got my ticket!", responds the tramp, "super-duper, ultra-
hyper, mega-economy class, and I want on!"

"Well okay," says the captain, "but you can't come on just now, I
don't want my first-class passengers seeing you. Come back at midnight
when it's dark and I'll let you on then."

So the tramp finds himself a quiet spot among some cargo cases on the
dockside, and he falls asleep.

"Psst," says a voice, waking him with a start. It was the captain.
"Hurry up, it's midnight, let's get you to your cabin."

The tramp toddles after the captain, along the dockside, up the
gangway, and onto the ship - and what a ship!

First they went down through the first class level: Oriental carpets -
6" pile. A genuine Rembrandt on every wall. Leave your shoes outside
for cleaning, and the steward brings a new pair. 24 ct gold trim
everywhere.

Then the second class: As above, but perhaps the carpets were only 3"
deep, and so on...

3rd, 4th, 5th class, down past the casinos, and the ballrooms, down
through the crew's quarters, down through the galleys, and the engine
rooms, until finally, at the lowest point in the ship, against the
very hull, the captain opens a watertight door into a tiny 7' x 4'
cabin, with a hammock, a bedside table, and an alarm clock.

"Sheer luxury!" exclaimed the tramp, "A room of my very own."

"I'm glad you like it," replies the captain, "but there is one more
thing... Your class of ticket only allows you to use the facilities of
the ship, at night - when all the other passengers are asleep. So
that's what the alarm clock is for. Enjoy your cruise."

Well the cruise began, and the tramp had a whale of a time. Sleeping
by day, and up on deck at night - he loved it. One-man-tennis, clay
pigeon shooting, more food than he'd ever seen...

Then one morning, a week or so into the cruise, the tramp decided he'd
have a go on the diving board of the pool. He had just enough time for
one dive before he had to go below.

He climbed up the ladder, stepped onto the board tip, bounced, and
dived...

... and what a dive...!

Perfectly poised in the air, he hit the water without so much as a
ripple.

Now unknown to him, the captain - who'd grown rather fond of the poor
old tramp - was standing watching this.

"That was amazing!" exclaimed the captain, "Where did you learn to
dive like that?"

"Um, well I've never actually dived before," replied the tramp.

"Well that's incredible!" says the captain, "I've never seen..." He
broke off. "Hey, I've got an idea", he started again. "How would you
like to train a bit, and we'll put on a show for the other passengers.
I'll pay you, and you can then afford to go first class!"

"It's a deal!" says our man. For the next 3 weeks the tramp practices
like he's never practiced before. Back-flips, front-flips, triple-back
sideways axled dives, you name it he tried it.

Then one morning the captain comes to talk. "Okay, I'd like you to
stay in your cabin for the next 2 days. We're going to erect a high
diving board for you."

"Okay," agreed the tramp.

Two days passed, and the big day arrived. The ship was humming with
excitement. Everyone wanted to see the mystery diver. The captain had
provided the tramp with a new pair of swimming trunks and he wore
these as he stepped out onto the sun-beaten deck. Gasps of
astonishment from the crowd, and a hushed awe. Higher than the eye
could see, towering up and up, rose a slender column of metal.

"Well, tramp," said the captain, shaking his hand, "Let's see what you
can do." And with that the Captain handed him a walkie talkie. And the
tramp began to climb...

up and up...

below him the ship grew smaller...

on and on...

past a solitary albatross...

and still higher...

till the ship was but a speck on the ocean below...

and on still further...

till the ocean grew dim...

and the earth itself...

began to shrink...

past our moon...

and on...

and Mars...

and on...

higher, and higher...

through the asteroid belt...

and on and on towards the diving board...

past the outer planets, until...

on the outermost reaches of the Solar System...

he reached the board.

He climbed on top and radioed the captain...

and then...
.' '.
. .
. .
he jumped. .
.
.
.
.
:
Slowly at first, :
:
but speeding up, :
:
:
:
faster, and faster, :
:
speeding past Pluto, :
:
and the other outer planets,
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
through the asteroid belt,

past Mars,

and the moon,

faster,

and faster,

faster - ever faster,

and by now the earth was growing large in the distance,

the oceans and land masses grew clear,

faster, and faster,

past the albatross,

double-back somersault,

and he could see the ship, tiny in the distance,

hurtling down now, he posed, ready for the final 500 feet,

Down on the ship the crew strained their necks,

"I CAN SEE HIM!" yelled a passenger, "LOOK!!!"

The tramp streaked down towards the pool, did a last triple flip, and
dove...

NOT A RIPPLE ON THE SURFACE!

DOWN THROUGH THE WATER!

SMASHED THROUGH THE POOL BOTTOM!

DOWN THROUGH THE FIRST DECK!

SMASHING THROUGH THE SECOND!

DOWN!

DOWN!

THROUGH THE CREW'S QUARTERS!

THROUGH THE ENGINE ROOMS!

SMASHING THROUGH HIS OWN LITTLE CABIN!

AND DOWN THROUGH THE STEEL HULL OF THE SHIP!

STILL DOWN...!

DEEPER,

DEEPER INTO THE MURKY DEPTHS,

TILL.........

SMASH!

Into the sea bed, sinking a 37' shaft in the process.

Desperate for air he struggle out of the shaft, his lungs bursting he
swam frantically for the surface.

Up and up, desperate, gasping...

Out of the water, up the ladder onto the deck of the ship, into a
throng wild with acclaim.

"HERO!" "WONDERFUL!" "AMAZING!" "BLOODY GOOD SHOW THAT!"

And handing him a heated towel the captain spoke, as a hush fell over
the crowd.

"Well tramp, I have NEVER seen anything like that, EVER. That was the
most *STUPENDOUS* piece of diving I have ever seen."

The tramp blushed.

The captain went on, "but tell me, most amazing of all is how you
survived smashing through this boat after you dived - how did you do
it."

And the tramp looked at the captain, and the crowd and replied
modestly: "Well you see...

I'm a just poor tramp...

so you must understand...

I've been through many a hardship in my life."
(, Wed 8 Jul 2009, 10:55, 15 replies)
What some people will do for a cheese sandwich
The first time I met my ex girlfriend Emma’s brother, Eric, was what Shakespeare would probably describe as a monumental, colossal, immense, we’re talking Biblical scale fuck up. It wasn’t my fault. It was the sun. And the fact I’d skived off work to soak up the rays like a gigantic, bronzed twat. And the beer garden. And the beer. And the shots. And the other beers. And, to a lesser extent, the chocolates my mate Steve brought with him to the pub (they were those whisky liqueurs which I tend to crack open with my teeth, drink the contents, and then spit the chocolate shells into the bushes).

Emma gave me a call at about two to explain I had to go and meet her brother off the train at Euston at four. Fair enough. No problem, Emma. So, roll onto five-thirty and I’m still attempting to consume my bodyweight in Fosters and gin and tonic chasers (I’m either gay or an old woman when it comes to the hard stuff). Steve, my erstwhile drinking companion, advises me I had to be somewhere an hour and a half ago, but he’s fucked if he remembers what or where I was supposed to be. We do the only sensible thing. We get in another round.

At six I get a text from Emma: WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU – ERIC’S WAITING IN THE PUB JUST OUTSIDE THE STATION! STOP BEING A LAZY CUNT AND GO AND GET HIM!

Buggeration... Never, ever, EVER piss off you’re girlfriend. She allows you pussy privileges, and if you piss her off, well, the chances are you’ll find yourself masturbating furiously in the shower every morning for the next week – and if it comes down to a choice of shooting your load against a nice wet cervix or a cold wet shower curtain, well…

So, I stagger out the pub, hail a cab, and rush down to Euston. Because I’m drunk I forget the details about Eric, Emma’s brother, waiting in the pub outside. I rush in. Look round. Panic. And then I see him – I recognised him, sort of. He’s sat over on a bench with his backpack on the floor in front of him.

“Eric?” I ask. He looks up at me. “I’m Spanky – Emma’s boyfriend. Sorry I’m late. You must be starving, mate.” Eric looks a bit confused. But I explain it quickly away: “Sorry, mate – I’m absolutely shitfaced. Been drinking all day.” I explain Emma’s busy at work and won’t finish until nine or ten(ish); this seems to clear things up. “Let’s get you home,” I reach out, grab Eric’s arm and lead him out into the lovely warm evening summer sunshine. He starts saying “thanks” in the thick scouse accent I’d learned to understand since knocking boots with his sister.

One brief cab ride later and we’re back at the gaff in Hackney. Eric’s quiet. Pretty shy. Nice fella, though. Tall and thin. Scruffy little early-twenties-man-trying-to-grow-a-beard-thing going on all over his face like a bad, hairy rash. I told him to help himself to whatever he wanted in the fridge and he did. Then we settled down to watch Mallrats while we waited for Emma to get home.
Then, after about an hour, I get another text (Emma worked in an office with terrible reception and could only pick up her calls when she got to go outside on a break; she used to text me as regular as clockwork when she went out for a ciggie). I feel my phone buzz, I reach into my pocket, expecting all sweetness and light, hugs and kisses and the promise of a blowjob later for being such a great boyfriend and getting her brother back safely. But I didn’t get that, no, not at all. What I got was:

ERIC’S BEEN TRYING TO PHONE ME FOR TWO HOURS! HE’S STILL AT THE FUCKING PUB! WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU YOU USELESS DRUNKEN CUNT?!?

I put my phone away, looked over at Eric, who was happily watching Kevin Smith’s second film while munching on a cheese sandwich: “Errr… who are you?” I ask.

The lad turns to me and says: “I’m Eric.”

“Are you?”

He nods, and then he says, quite suggestively: “If that’s who you want me to be.” And he puts the sandwich to one side; as if to say: you’ve given me food and shelter, now I need to give you something in return.

As I’m drunk and been out all day in the sort of heat that would make a lizard say: “Fuck me, its too fucking hot – I’m going for a fucking ice bath.” I just sat and stared at this lad for a bit, formulating a genius response. All I could come up with was: “I’m not gay, you know.”

“Neither am I.”

Now I was confused. I said: “I wasn’t, you know, cruising, I haven’t brought you back here to, well… erm… fuck you… ”

He seemed to realised then I wasn’t into bumming Scouse vagrants in exchange for a cheese sandwich. We both stared at each other for a bit. Eventually, he got up, grabbed his backpack and fucked off in a bit of a mood (I think he may have really fancied a quick hide-the-salami sesh). Thinking about it in hindsight, I did think he stank a little bit too much of piss; but I did live with his sister for a while and her personal hygiene routine occasionally left something to be desired, truth told – I just thought it was a weird family trait.

Oh, and I was reduced to wanking in the shower for nearly two weeks after this… Curses!!!
(, Thu 2 Jul 2009, 16:44, Reply)
Walking along Oxford Street, London
after a heavy night out, pizza in hand. I staggered aimlessly past a street dweller and he struck up a conversation with me.

"Is that pizza, my old mucker?"

"Erm, yes it is" I replied.

"I'm fucking hungry mate, would you mind if I took a slice"

Of course, I obliged. He really did look hungry, and as dirty as a freshly dug potato.

I wasn't expecting his next comment though. "Eurgh! Pineapple! Nah, you can keep it". Apparently beggars can be choosers after all.
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 2:30, 6 replies)
Poxy hotel policy vs hobo = win.
As an infrequent poster, chances are not many if any here will remember my post or two around the time my father died some year-and-a-bit ago. Anyway, while he was hospitalised and in the process of doing so, I was called up to the city at very short notice (ie "they're transferring him to the big city hospital NOW and he might not make it to the morning"), as happens. He stabilised a bit, and we, the family, organised ourselves vigil-wise. So I head into the city to find a room for the night.

I have many years' toil in the hospitality and accommodation sectors behind me, and am thus well acquainted with what I am likely to discover. Or so I thought. Biggish city this, but at 1AM there seems to be a dearth of rooms available. Rather, as I am at this juncture not all that well cashed-up, there are no apparently budget-type rooms available. So armed with my knowledge of general hotel policy at this hour, namely, sell a room at whatever price you can get above cost, I proceed to offer $150 (AUD) on the first $300 room I encounter. Surly geek number one manages that classic trick of displaying absolutely NO change of expression and merely repeats the price of a room. I attempt to use his pity and/or compassion gland and briefly outline my situation. Still $300.

Around the corner I go, repeat the experiment, fail, repeat again, and again. I am tired, emotional, and although I could just have stumped up the cash I just simply resented the ridiculous bumf I was hearing from the mouths of these gormless jobsworths, whose managers would most likely have ripped them new arseholes for not selling rooms at a profit. To a man (and they all were) they just wanted to go back to tossing off or sleeping behind their desks.

I exit the marble and glass lobby into a deserted street, pause, and glance over to my left. Here tucked into the shrubbery is a sleeping gentleman of the road, smelling like his fermented anaesthetic of choice has had plenty of time to work its soporific magic. Here I am, imminent-father-death-stupid-hotel-dork-bone-tired perspective in hand, with the $150 in cash I simply cannot seem to give away for a room. And here is he. So I very gently reach down, tuck the neatly rolled bills safely in his jacket pocket, and stroll off healed of my woes for now, to spend a cold, but dry and safe night sleeping in my car in a park.

Who cares what he did with the money? The moment of joy is the thing.
(, Sat 4 Jul 2009, 8:29, 3 replies)
REVENGE
“What do you see in that guy, Karen – he's a complete prick,” I commented, talking about her new boyfriend, a high flying city gent named Stefan who was a) a German, b) a banker leeching thousands off us tax payers, blowing (literally) ridiculous amounts of cash to fund his nasty habit for Columbian nose candy, and c) he was a fucking GERMAN.

Karen thought for a moment and replied: “Stefan's rich and he's got a fucking huge penis.”

Fair enough. But that was then. A few months later when my mate Karen and this sour kraut were getting heavily involved, it all changed. Fine by me – it was just fucking off putting having her waddle about, bow legged, asking for a cushion to sit on on account of her badly bruised and expanded vag from all the super-sized bratwurst action she was receiving.

Karen sat in our local and fumed. Stefan had given my mate Karen a rather nasty case of the clap he'd picked up from some random sexual conquest which took place in a club toilet with some, and I quote Karen: “fucking under age tart who probably didn't bother putting knickers on that night to save time later.”

Now, if there's one thing I've learned its that you don't fuck about with Karen. She's a Gateshead girl, hard as fucking nails, and incredibly, astoundingly nasty to those who deserve it. Karen then told me what she'd done to get even with this city wanker, I mean, banker. I didn't believe her. So we left the pub (me somewhat reluctantly), got in her car and drove down to Somers Town round the back of St Pancras where all the tramps used to hang out.

And I pissed myself laughing.

“Does Stefan know about this?” I asked.

Karen nodded, “I left him a note. He's an anal little shit so he'll come down here to look for himself. But I don't imagine he'll want anything back.”

I gazed for a bit longer. It's not everyday you see this sort of thing. Then – not being an expert on this sort of thing – I enquired: “How much did all this stuff cost?”

Karen, without batting an eyelid, responded: “About ten grand, so Stefan says.”

I laughed a bit more as I gazed from the car at a collection of elderly, smelly, disease-ridden bearded gents gathered round sitting on empty beer crates and flattened out cardboard boxes, merrily drinking cans of tesco value lager and blue nun. Only these tramps were a little different. They looked the fucking business. What with several of them wearing pristine Gucci suits, others decked out in Armani's finest, and the rest sporting catchy little numbers from the latest Jean Paul Gaultier collection.

It looked like a scene from Miami Vice...

...only Crockett and Tubbs and all the other guys in the vice squad had really let themselves go...
(, Thu 2 Jul 2009, 23:10, 7 replies)
Dublin 2004 - three days after passing my medical finals.
The preceeding 2 months had been a hell of enforced purgatory as a result of drinking and dossing my way through medical school, occasionally forging signatures to pass modules. I was on the cusp of fucking up my entire career and it was time to deny myself life’s little pleasures in order to protect the only job I was able to secure: whipping boy in Man’s Worst Hospital.

But that was the past and this is now. And by now I mean 2004. I celebrated my academic good fortune by lying on the grass in Phoenix Park, beer in hand, sun in sky, the dulcet tones of the Pixies hitting my tympanic membranes - they had just reformed. Although, having chomped my way through 2 boxes of Pro-Plus and having not slept for 72hrs I was finding the gig rather difficult to enjoy. The crowds of people surrounding the stage had begun to resemble the waves of the sea and, accordingly, I began to feel a little sea-sick. By the time the headlining act, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, hit the stage this sensorial torture had become unbearable and so I headed towards the centre of Dublin, buying a sandwich and plonking myself down on a bench in St. Stephen’s Green.

As far as inner city parks go, St. Stephen’s Green is a peach. To my memory, ornate bridges span burbling water features, with broad aged trees providing much needed shade over the benches that border the stone paths. It’s not a very green park but it’s a great place to sit and watch the world go by whilst you lunch. St. Stephen’s Green is also notable for being the setpiece of my favourite tramp encounter.

I had never seen Irish tramps before, although I was not surprised to see that they were alcoholic. There were four of them in total, and pretty interchangable in that they each had a bulbous red nose, hairy cheeks and malodourous rags for clothes (except for one, who was wearing a green Ireland football team shirt to compliment his dubiously stained black trousers). They staggered in formation towards the bench next to mine. I increased my grip on my soda bread. I noticed that the tramp in green had taken on a sort of leadership role and was cradling a tube that was wrapped in white paper. The other three tramps followed excitably behind, almost pawing at the paper tube.

“C’mon now, this belongs t’all of us. Y’know that,” said one of the interchangable tramps to the tramp in green.

“Ah, to be sure, ‘tis a great afternoon indeed,” replied the leader, slowly unwrapping the paper tube to gasps from the amassed tramp populace.

The tube was actually a bottle of medium-priced Jacob’s Creek red wine wrapped in paper, the sort that you’d get on offer at your local supermarket for about £5. To my sophisicated friends here on b3ta I’m sure that the opening of a bottle of Jacob’s Creek is something of a non-event; but to the tramps of Dublin, this bottle represented their entire day’s begging money. This wasn’t the opening of a bottle of wine, this was the opening of the Ark of The Covenent.

With great ceremony, the leader removes from his pocket a shiny metal object with “MALLORCA” written across it in gaudy rainbow lettering. From this, a corkscrew swings out on a hinge next to a metal ring for hooking your keys to. The bottle is uncorked. The tramps applaud. They really APPLAUD and my sandwich goes uneaten as I watch, mesmerised, not entirely sure whether my insomnia has led to wild hallucination. The leader lifts the neck of the bottle up to his fat red nose and inhales deeply, a wide grin appearing on his face before exhaling with a satisfied sigh. Cheers abound. Then, as in a spirit of community, the leader takes a long gulp from the bottle and hands it to the tramp on his right, who is sat on the bench.

I like to believe that leader tramp had the time to think “Christ that’s better than K cider!” I’d like to think that he enjoyed his gulp of Aussie shiraz before he was knocked unconscious by his violent colleague, who had plucked an empty bottle of Stella from the bin and had twatted the leader around the head with it. On his way to the ground, the leader’s head crashes into the edge of the bench and I can see a thin trail of blood beginning to run down the path. There follows a stunned silence for what seems like an eternity. As an honest-to-God newly qualified doctor I’m contemplating running away lest someone recognises me and asks me to do something. Luckily, the silence is broken by the tramp holding the bottle, who composes himself and yells, “What the suffering fuck did you go and do that for? Jesus and Mary!”

Violent tramp is hyperventilating: a real ball of fury. “You know how fucking disrespectful that was! Fucking bastard, I should’ve killed the fucker, honest to God,” he fumes.

“But what? Why? You have to be patient for your turn on the wine.”

“Jesus suffering fuck, I’m surrounded by fucking animals,” laments violent tramp, “You’ve got to let the wine BREATHE!”
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 16:14, 2 replies)
Realisation
Some years ago I was walking with a friend through Bath. A rather wild looking young man came up to us and seemed about to speak. I flinched and moved away.

Then in a gentle, sweet and desperately sad voice he said ... "Please don't be scared."

And you know, I was scared. Scared and, when he pointed it out, bloody ashamed. I gave him every penny I had on me, and I've never forgotten him.

Don't be scared. They're people.
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 17:20, 2 replies)
I once gave a lady tramp 50p just to get rid of her
I was trying to enjoy a beautiful summer evening drinking with work colleagues in the centre of Bristol and this woman just wouldn’t leave us alone. Against my better judgement I gave her the coin and quick as a flash she kissed me on the cheek and told me I was welcome in her bed any time. Yuck.

I thought that would be the end of it. Wrong. The next day at work the woman who sat near me said “I hear you kissed a tramp?” I spent the rest of the day explaining to curious colleagues that I had not kissed a tramp, but the more I denied it the more the rumour spread. At the time I worked in a building with about 800 employees and from then on whenever I met someone new it would be “Ohhh, you’re the guy who kissed a tramp!” There’s only so many times that you can explain through gritted teeth that you had NOT kissed a tramp before you go postal.

One day the central London sales manager came to Bristol to see us. I had worked with him over the phone but we had never actually met. I introduced myself and a look of recognition flashed across his face. I knew what was coming next. “Oh, you’re the guy (here it comes…that sodding tramp, will I ever live it down) that sorted out that key-man insurance with the multiple policy holders. Thanks for that, we almost lost the client”. With relief I confirmed that I was indeed that man. As an afterthought he turned to me and said, “Is it true that you once kissed a tramp?”

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 12:15, 6 replies)
Tramp-clone
Me and the missus were walking through Oxford Street, and we hapened to pass a tramp, sitting there bothering people by the cash machine.

"Oh my god Fantomex", bleated the missus, "look at that tramp!"

There, lo and behold, was a tramp wearing exactly what I was wearing, from head to foot.
Sure, his clothes were grubbier, and smelt of wee, but for all intents and purposes, I had found my tramp-twin.

Of all the luck, owing to a tooth removed by the dentist, I was also at the time missing the same one as my domestically-challenged doppelganger.

Humiliating, yet intriguing.
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 19:08, 1 reply)
Porn mag on the train station.
Sitting waiting for my train with 5 or 6 random women and one smelly old tramp in a very bad pin-stripe suit. It was a small village stop so not much around. The tramp, while constantly groaning and spluttering pulls out a grotty copy of Fiesta and stands right by all the women blatantly rubbing his nuts and laughing. I was just about to stand up and say something like 'I say old chap, it's just not on!' but instead all the women shuffled around and ended up standing around me, I realised, hoping I would protect them! This bolstered my manliness to the max thinking that all these ladies needed me for protection from the weirdo so I stood between them and him with my arms crossed looking annoyed. For an Englishman this is a grave threat and the tramp wandered off muttering and rubbing. All the ladies thanked me for my braveness and I felt genuinely useful for once in my life.
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 14:00, 4 replies)
Abigail's Ink.
A lady of my acquaintance is, how shall we say, of negotiable affection. She is also very attractive, very good company and as such a cut above her immediate colleagues. However her one big failing is that she is a tart with a heart and will probably never get rich as the negotiations often entail goods in kind from all sorts of tradesmen, professionals and various shopkeepers. Just as an aside she has never needed to pay for legal representation. Ever. But I digress.

One such negotiation was with Steve, the owner of a local Tattoo and Piercing parlour. He promised a tattoo of her design based on a minute for minute trade. This sounded good to Abigail (her working name) as she had been fancying a bit of the old ink for a while. She saved up his visits for a couple of months and then visited him.

Unfurling the design he said it would probably take slightly less than the time she had banked and being the kind-hearted lady she is she told him to keep the change. After nearly 2 hours she a beautiful pink ribbon design with a lovely intricate knot. Lots of shading and some gold rings tattooed on so that it looked like the ribbon was part of a piece of lower back corsetry cinching her actual waist in.

Steve stepped back to admire his work and suddenly a frown of concern appeared. “Abigail, you know with being in your profession don’t you think it’s a bit of a cliché to have a tramp stamp, beautiful as it is?”

“Oh no,” said Abigail “It isn’t a tramp stamp. It’s a Ho-Bow.”
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 12:08, 3 replies)
El Duderino (If you are not into the whole brevity thing)
This won’t involve Miami Actress or any acts of gross indecency, but it did happen on the same trip.

Key West, 2001. I met ‘The Dude’

And really, he was. He was the absolute dead ringer for Lebowski. He looked like Jeff Bridges, he sounded like Jeff Bridges. He was a fucking rock star.

I sat on Duval Street and got as high as a fucking kite and as drunk as a lord with him and his hobo friends. The man who made hats out of palm leaves and looked like he was carved out of mahogany, the man who made a living giving out cards for the strip club (and yes, of course I went, and met the nicest stripper ever, when $40 fell out of my pocket, she called me over and gave it back) and the man who hustled tourists over the pool table at The Drunken Parrot (or whatever similar name that place had). I supplied the booze, they supplied the dope.

The Dude didn’t even get pissed off with me when I stupidly asked him if he had ever seen The Big Lebowski (‘Man, do I look like I own a video player? Where would I even plug it in?’)

And, one of the most bizarrely smile inducing things that has ever happened to me – I was sat on the edge of the wall, looking over the water at Mallory Square (I think that’s it’s name? Anyone know any better? My memory does not serve me well sometimes) watching the famous Key West sunset while cats tightrope walked at the show nearby and American students got drunk on frozen margaritas from Fat Tuesdays, when I heard ‘Scarpe! Dude! Good to see you man’ being yelled at me.

From the water.

As The Dude went sailing past in a bath tub with an outboard motor attached to the back, waving at me like a mad man.

Dude, I salute you, you were fucking awesome. May your bath float on forever.
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 16:31, 1 reply)
Tramp on a boat
I have two dogs, and regularly walk them alongside the Leeds-Liverpool Canal near Apperley Bridge, on the Leeds/Bradford border.

About two years ago the hull of a boat - not a big boat, maybe a two-berth cruiser type - appeared one weekend, moored by the butresses of an old bridge.

Slowly but surely a superstructure has been built up on the hull, made entirely of rubbish - old kitchen units, doors etc..Essentially this wreck now has a serviceable, if ramshackle, living quarters.

And I can't help but envy the old dosser who lives in it. It's rent free, he's done a very good job making his little cabin waterproof, he's not going to be bothered by chavs and I often see him making his way back down the towpath with bin-pickings from the very affluent areas nearby.

This boy lives for nothing and I've never seen him ask for anything, in a rustic, peaceful little corner of the West Yorkshire rat-race.

There's the irony - his floating house is next to the railway lines from Skipton and Ilkley into Leeds, with trains conveying polyester clad arse-lickers from Barratt Home to call-centre and back, stuck in 9-5 land with only Big Brother to entertain them.

Hats off, Canal tramp. I'll print this, and any replies, and leave it on his boat tomorrow.
(, Thu 2 Jul 2009, 18:53, 18 replies)
once I was homeless...
...for quite a while, living in a stolen car with a friend.

It was about 10 years ago: I was 19, I'd been in Australia (Byron Bay) for quite a while and was running low on cash, but didn't want to get a job. i remeber pissing it up on Xmas day safe in the knowledge that I was spending the last of my cash and that was a good thing, as I would no longer have to worry about getting closer and closer to being broke. I would just be broke, and it couldn't get any worse.

So on boxing day morning i moved out of the youth hostel i'd lived in for the last 4 months, and into a car we'd been occassionally "borrowing" (it was presummed dumped, it had been in the hostel car park for several months).

It was a huge 1970's Holden with bench seats (I had the front since you ask) and massive boot, so plenty of room for all the crap I'd foolishly brought travelling and enough room to sprawl out and sleep.

And so we stayed in there for about 10 weeks, until the hostel owners asked us to leave the car park... after that we drove the car around various other places near by until the police removed the plates as we had no tax, mot (green ticket or something) or insurance.

Then we slept on the beach for a couple of weeks - but everything started to get really sandy...

Finally I called up my folks and asked them to lend me £100 to go to Sydney and get a job, but really i would have happily stayed living on the beach if i could - it was getting a little colder though and starting to rain more - and tramping without a roof aint no fun in the long run!

Something amasingly invigorating about having nothing at all!

I'd get up in the morning with no cash in my pockets, no wallet to worry about, no keys to loose (and this was before everyone had mobile, so didn't have that to think about) and just do whatever I fancied.

We usually popped in to one of the various youth hostels and helped out for a bit to earn a free breakfast before hitting the beach all day, and then returning to our original hostel to help cook an evening meal they sold there.

We often seemed to find cash on the streets - enough to get some bread and honey once in a while... and usually some group of fellow travellers would ask us to join them in a box of finest Auzzy wine, so most evenings were free fun down on a beach. If you build a big enough bonfire - people will come.

Only thing i actually wanted cash for was to develop a couple of rolls of film I'd taken, but that waited.

My friend found it a little harder as he was a big smoker - and resorted to hitching to the next town to rob a store of 4 large packs of rolling tabaco. Before that he'd taken to smoking dog ends through a pipe... Desperate times for him.

---

i have some amazing memories (and photos) of that time of my life, really was a glorious time for me, being a true beach bum. I missed having a tan so much that when i came back to the UK for uni i bought a tanning bed... but that wasn't quite the same as spending all your day doing fuck all on a beautiful deserted beach...

I'd do it again in a second if i could unravel myself from modern life! The book 'diary of a supertramp' is well worth reading if you are interested in living outside! Though my ultimate dream is to live the life of Tom Neale - 'An Island to Oneself' is my bible.

(sorry, story not funny... just wanted to share!)
(, Wed 8 Jul 2009, 20:56, 3 replies)
strangest mugging?
I was once walking home late at night in Grimsby, and a man walked past me - in a smartish looking suit, I thought nothing of it at first, until he'd walked past and I heard somebody behind me running.
The same chap who'd just walked past me was now in front of me, waving a knife in my face.
'Give me all your money'
'I dont have any' A likely story, he probably thought.
Thing is, I really didn't - I had no electric in my flat, the meter was in debt from the last tenants, and the landlord had done sweet FA about it - i also had no food whatsoever. I was living on water, while waiting for the dole to get their act together and sort my claim out.
I told him this, and he put his knife away, embarrased and apologetic - he kept shaking my hand.
'sorry mate, sorry mate - i'm in the same circumstance.. im waiting for the dole too - but you've got it worse than i have'
and with that, he dug deep and gave me his change - more than a fiver and walked off!
(, Fri 3 Jul 2009, 17:57, 6 replies)
Foot in Mouth
My favourate encounter with a homeless person occured when wondering back from Peterborough's classy Queensgate shopping centre over the foot bridge to the station.

There was normally someone on this bridge asking for change, and this particular day was no different. Being a young, caring Padawan (or maybe due to an annoying strong conscience, I once went back into a shop to give them back 10p which they had over-changed me - I had been agonising over all day, yet I digress) I checked my pockets but realised I didn't have a single coin to rub together (nor a one-handed clap).

I asked him if he smoked instead and he said yes so I offered him the packet with the immortal line that still makes me cringe to this day:

"Cool well have one of these, sorry, they're only Lambert and Butlers but Beggars can't be..."

It was at that point when I realised what I was about to say. My face went white and the guy looked sharply at me seeing if I was taking the piss. The look of horror on my face must have been priceless as he burst out laughing. I threw the whole pack at his feet before stammering an apology and running across the rest of the bridge, his laughter echoing after me all the way...
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 16:44, 1 reply)

This question is now closed.

Pages: Latest, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, ... 1