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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, 7, 6, ... 1

This question is now closed.

A short one.
Walking through Newport Town Centre a couple of weeks back I saw a female tramp sitting on some cardboard with a guitar.

Now, Newport normally has a pretty high level of street-performers, from the electric-guitar duo to the Pink Floyd cover-band.
This woman, however, was just strumming the open strings of the guitar and wailing tunelessly.
Even I could do a better job than that.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 16:16, 3 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)
This is George. He's an absolute legend.

I like to think this was God, Jesus, Buddha or some other fictional character beaming another can of Tennents Super into his pocket.

(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 16:12, Reply)
Nutty Nigel

Legendary if you live in Newbury but I suppose the name means nothing to the majority of you.

Rumour has it he was from an extremely wealthy family and chose to live on the streets. He'd ask if you had any change and if you said no he'd give you some of his own - saying everyone should carry spare change about with them.

Oh - and he'd frequently hold McDonalds up for ransom, jump over the counter and relinquish them of a Happy Meal...
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 16:06, 1 reply)
I'm gonna get killed for this one, but it's kind of appropriate
Knock, Knock

Who's there?


Bigish who?

Not today thanks!

Hahaha! How childish of me *Looks sheepish*
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 15:48, 3 replies)
Little Pearoast for the king of tramps
For I met him, and it was "all good"

It was summer 2007 and me and a friend have made our merry way to Bestival on the Isle of White. Mid way through the first day, the sun high in the sky, me somewhere alongside but at the same time lying on a grassy hill infront of the bandstand, awaiting the king of tramps (or I guess, ex-tramp now) Seasick Steve.

He duly appears and I get that tingly feeling you get when you see one of your idols at reasonably close range. He starts warming the crowd, wandering round, shaking peoples hands and generally getting closer and closer to me and my mate. Then he gets to me, I extend my hand... and he ignores it! I am crest-fallen, that is until he whips out his slide and starts the show at my very-freaking-excited feet!

It was a truely awsome gig and my favorite festival moment of my life. We met him later that evening sippin' his hobo wine and he was a thoroughly wonderful guy. He even signed my friends sandal with (almost) his favorite phrase "its all god"

Pics in replies if I can find it out
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 15:47, 5 replies)
Nothing Special
I have shared change and chat with a few homeless people and one that earnt a living on the streets.

If you have been thru West Hampstead Thameslink, the tattoo'd gut is call John and is a really nice guy. I got chatting to him while waiting for a train. He has a weird library thing going on. Grab a book and make a donation, as a sellers lisence cost several thousand pounds.

The other one that stands out is DJ. Use to sit on geogre street in Edinburgh. He lived on the streets as he once ended up in prison and saidhe would never go back. Really nice guy, pretty chilled out. Also a dope dealer. As he is who my housemate use to get his supplies from.

All boring, i know.

(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 15:34, Reply)
I assulted a tramp.
It was pissing down, my motorbike had broken down, and I was freezing. Whilst waiting for the RAC to turn up I decided to nip over the road to Tesco to get some cigarettes. On my way back, I saw a woman standing at the bottom of the ramp leading down to the store.

She was in her 50s, with scraggly grey hair and mad eyes. She was muttering to herself. At first I thought she was talking on a mobile phone. As I drew closer, it became obvious that she was mental.

I was wearing a hi-vis jacket - as I often do when riding a motorcycle - and I think she mistook me for a policeman. She started following me. "You think you can fucking control me!" she slurred. "I'm self medicating! I'm fucking self medicating! What do you think of that?"

I was starting to get concerned now. I walked a little faster. I glanced over my shoulder. She was stumbling along behind me, pointing at her wrists. "I'll do it! Fucking bastards!" God only knows what she wanted. I crossed the road. She followed me.

At this point she was starting to get agressive ("Come over here! I'll have it out with you! You fucking bastard!") , and I was starting to get annoyed.

Has an idea ever flashed into your head? Have you ever acted on one of those ideas, even though you know you really shouldn't?

I have. I'm not particularly proud of it. But I did it. I picked up a plastic bin bag full of rubbish that happened to be on the pavement, and threw it at her with all my might.

Time stood still. The bag hit her and burst, covering her with old teabags, bean cans and fuck-knows what else. She fell backwards, surprised, and landed on her arse.

And I legged it, laughing my backside off.

I'm evil, aren't I?
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 15:21, 3 replies)
how he got there
Sorry that this isn't funny, but I still feel the need to share.

My brother had a really good mate through school. One of those scarily clever people. A bit lazy, but people that smart tend to be, because they can basically breeze through school. Which he did.

Thing is, he didn't have the best home life. His parents never seemed to want to have kids and just saw him as an annoyance. Whenever they noticed him, they would constantly put him down - basically say he was useless and he would never amount to anything. As a result, he was criplingly shy, had a really bad stutter and had real difficulty coping in social situations.

Once he'd breezed through school, he got offered a place at uni. As did my brother. Since his uni was on the way to my brother's, and my parents were driving my brother there with his stuff, he asked for a lift. We were a little concerned that his stuff wouldn't fit in our already overloaded car, but didn't have to be - when we arrived at his house, he was sat on the kerb, with a bin bag with all the stuff his parents would let him take. Which wasn't much - a couple of changes of underwear, a toothbrush an a pad of paper - his parents claimed everything else was theirs, since they'd bought it for him.

We dropped him off at Uni and never really heard from him again. He wrote to my brother a couple of times (this was way before emails were the norm) then nothing.

A couple of years ago, I was on my way to meet a few mates for a drink in Liverpool. I stopped at a cashpoint to get some beer tokens and was asked for change when I looked at the homeless guy begging, I realised it was my brothers mate. I asked him how he got there and he said "give us a tenner and I'll tell you"

Turns out he just couldn't cope with Uni. His stutter meant that he could never participate in class, couldn't really afford the books and his shyness left him feeling very lonely and homesick. He returned to his parents in Widnes and quickly spiralled into a very poor state of mind - his parents, his failure at uni and living in Widnes all weighed him down and dragged him into using heroin.

One day he's being driven by a mate to swap some crack he'd cooked up for skag and they end up getting chased by the police, since the car was TWOC'd. Car ends up crashing and his "mate" legs it, leaving him in the car. Police and CPS pin stealing the car and the 6 rocks in the glovebox on him and he does a short stretch.

When he got out, his parents wouldn't let him in the house. The DSS put him on a list and he ends up in a hostel while he waits for a flat. One of the other hostel residents re-intorduced him to the joys of brown and that was him fucked. When he got his flat, he sold everything in it for smack and the council threw him out.

And there he was, probably the most naturally intelligent person I'd ever met - a baghead on the streets.

I gave him all the money I had on me and he toddled off on his way, to score no doubt. I like to think that he somehow pulled his life around and is doing alright, but I'm fairly sure he's dead somewhere right now. He was a nice lad, once you got past the shyness, but his familly fucked him up pretty badly.

Knowing him made me appreciate my mundane upbringing.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 14:58, 2 replies)
never pearoasted before, but fuck it.
A good few years back in Nottingham I was approached outside a pub by a rather desperate looking individual asking for money for a bus/taxi. This was nothing strange for Nottingham where at one point advanced training in compassion-fatigue was required just to cross the main market square with the contents of your wallet intact.

What stopped me this time however was not the usual piss-poor and unimaginative "I need 70p to get to Loughborough/buy some crack", but the rather more attention grabbing "Please help me. My colostomy bag has burst"

He lifted up his sweater, and indeed it had. His colostomy bag had burst. His entire abdomen and the top of his trousers was covered in a shitty (and I believe also slightly nutty) diarroheic goo that was dribbling out the tube in his side.

Picture the scene: Two in the afternoon, blue sky, birds signing, and a 40 year old man stood in front of me gesticulating desperately at his own poo-encrusted belly.

I immediately gave him a tenner, and wished him luck getting to the hospital.

Two hours later, as I pass by the same point on my way home I'm approached by a man. I recognise him just as he uttered the words "Please help me. My colostomy bag has..."

Now, over the years I've reflected a lot on this, and I firmly believe that he deserved that tenner.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 14:40, Reply)
I'm being stalked.
Specifically, I'm being stalked by one Big Issue seller in particular.

When I go into Manchester city centre, she's there. On those occasions that I'm back at my parents and nip into town, she's there. Last weekend, when I was in London, she followed me down Tottenham Court Road. She was in Hull, just outside Paragon Station, last spring. I could go on.

It's always the same one - I'm sure of it. She's either following me, or she's the revenant image of some deeply-hidden trauma involving headscarves, or there's a secret army of cloned Armenian homeless people stealthily taking over the world.

Poe had his Raven. I have my Big Issue seller.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 14:29, Reply)
Once, long ago, if a person was wandering down the street talking to noone visible, it was a surefire sign of mental disorder rather than a surefire sign of someone who wants to look amazingly important with a bluetooth device.

So there had used to be a high correlation between talking to the air and homelessness.

I happened to be following a tramp down the street; he was deep in conversation with noone that was visible to the rest of the world, but I could hear at least his side of the dialogue.
"... and then we drowned him, and it still didn't kill him. So we cut off his head, and we still couldn't kill him..."

A whole quarter of a century later, I'm still fascinated by the scenario being described. Who was this indestructible being, and why was he subject to such determined annihilation attempts by the homeless and helpless of North Staffordshire?
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 14:20, 6 replies)
Sheffield's "Finest"
Some time ago, I used to work for that fine purveyor of fast food, MacDonald's. I guess a good number of us here have done our time at the Golden Arches, or similar, when we were students.

For my sins, and ability of dealing with large numbers of people on a superficial basis, I was on the tills. Well, it beat being in the kitchen running round like a loony flipping burgers for 8 hours a day.

Of course, with the smooth, also comes the rough, or in this case, Sheffield's fine selection of tramps, drop-outs and other housing-deprived individuals.

One that always sticks with me is an elderly gentleman who looked like Gandalf, but smelled worse than Foul Ole Ron. You could tell when he was about to enter the restaurant because the metalwork started to tarnish and the air was filled with the sharp odour of something like TCP and urine. He'd always order the same thing- a small icecream and a coffee- and spend up to an hour just watching the world go by. I never did find the time to get his story, as he seemed like such a lonely individual, rejecting and rejected by the world around him.

And then one day, he didn't come in. And now to my shame, I was at the time relieved. I wouldn't have to endure the smell and the complaints from the customers.

He never came in again.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 14:04, Reply)
After a night out on the town a few weeks ago I was sat in the never ending line for a taxi ride home when we noticed a homeless bloke complete with dog sat on the floor begging for change. Due to the fact that I had enjoyed the night out I gave the bloke some money (and some of my takeaway pizza) and got chatting to him.

Turned out he had lived on the streets for a few years due to a number of horrid incidents at home. Despite the past and his current situation he still remained upbeat (I never did find out where he got the dog from). As our conversation continued my taxi turned up so I bade him farewell. As I headed for the door my vagrant friend yelled to me “Are you on Facebook? you can add me asa friend if you like.”

Due to the drunken state I didn’t realise until halfway home what he had said. How the hell does he have internet access? Does the blanket he was wrapped in have Windows Hobo edition installed on it and the starved looking Jack Russell act as a Wi- Fi receiver?

I could not add him as he never gave me his name but I will be looking out for him the next time I am out.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 13:58, 2 replies)
A polite thankyou
To the tramps, homeless and drop-outs of Wakefield. Even when I have no cash on me, you're all to a man gracious and courteous, even when the only thing I can spare is a couple of cigarettes.

Which is far better than I can say for one girl in Sheffield, who once asked a friend of mine for 20p in Doncaster, Barnsley and Sheffield, all on the same day. Gemma I think her name is, and her hair colour is forever changing. If she can afford to change her hair colour, then she should be able to sort the rest out, right?

Apparently this isn't a reasonable argument and is met by a very creative (if slurred) tirade of swearing.

Although one day, said friend had had enough of Gemma. Stevan's an interesting bloke- very bright, but dresses like a hobo. Which he used to his advantage one evening when he decided (as a joke) to ask her for 20p. Apparently the look of confusion had to be seen to be believed.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 13:53, Reply)
Edinburgh - Beaverheed
Has anyone seen Beaverheed in Edinburgh?

He's hard to miss. He really gets about. He has a thick beard and carries a rucksack in each hand - oh, and a massive beaver's tail coming out the back of his head.

Strange guy. I've seen him refuse change donated by passers-by, and he occasionally smokes cigars. Quite expensive for your run-of-the-mill Terrence Stamp. He's also been spotted wearing a wedding ring.

Anyone know his story?
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 13:47, 2 replies)
On being a statistic.
I've been homeless myself once. Hard to think of now, but for a while I was one of the hidden statistics- a sofa surfer, living on the very kind auspices of my friends. I was able to wash, eat and clothe myself, and I had a job, but being of no fixed abode on a sofa in the living room does make you suddenly realise how great my friends actually were.

But for them, I would have been staying in a shelter somewhere, afraid to fall asleep, just in case someone tried to get me addicted to crack cocaine (as happened to another friend of mine- luckily he was able to stay awake and eventually got himself a flat).

I'm a very lucky man indeed.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 13:46, Reply)
Huddersfield tramps
Seem to be more unusual than most. If not the famous 11p tramp (ask any Northern /talker), there are weirder ones, which have previously been mentioned, so I won't labour the point.

But one of the nicest homeless people I have met came from Huddersfield as well. Back when I was a student, and I was travelling home for Mother's Day, I nipped through Huddersfield to get something to eat for the journey, and also to pick up a card and present, as I wasn't exactly the most organised of people back then.

And outside the Tesco's was a woman, who looked in her 30s, but could easily have just been in her early 20s. The streets do age a person. And, being a student, all I had on me was my debit card, and the look of abject disappointment on her face was for me, too much to bear. One sandwich (vegetarian, just in case), drink and a packet of smokes plus lighter later, both of our days were brightened.

I've been back to Huddersfield a number of times since then, and I've never seen her again.

I can only hope that she's managed to set herself up now and get back on track.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 13:41, Reply)
No. You don't get to be a chooser.
I was on my way out, couldn't be bothered to cook, so I grabbed some chips on the way.

A homeless guy stopped me and asked if he could have some money for some chips. I said he could have my chips.

He looked at me aghast, confused, uncomprehending.

Then he took the chips and said "what the hell am I meant to do with this". He picked out one of the pointier chips and mimed injecting it into his arm ranting "oh look at me, I'm so high, these chips are exactly what I wanted".

Maybe only the frst 4 sentences of this post are entirely true.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 13:17, Reply)
He shouldn't have told me
My university college was a little way out of town so most days I needed to walk along a particular path to lectures. There was a particular homeless guy that frequented the route - a youngish chap with bloodshot eyes and a blue tracksuit. I gave him money from time to time, until one day he made a big mistake by getting chatting to me and revealing how much money he made. He said he usually could get £20-£30 a day. And for someone with no overheads, it seemed to me that frankly he didn't need any more cash from me.

I developed a theory: the only people you'll give money to in the street are the ones that are good at asking for it, and they're almost certainly the ones who need it least. Now I just give a standing order to Shelter and walk by with downcast eyes like everyone else.

I did break that rule for a guy outside Lewisham station, though. He was the sweetest old codger you ever saw in your life and I often used to have a quick chat with him. I had a toke of the strongest skunk I've ever had from him. Fuck knows what was in it (or what diseases I could have caught from sharing his saliva).
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 13:10, 3 replies)
The One-String Busker
Walking to work one morning in sunny Bridlington, I passed a toothless derelict outside Boots, strumming away with aplomb on a guitar which had a sum total of ONE string. Head-shaking, wailing away tunelessly, he seemed happy, and on the floor he had a flat cap with a few coppers in.

That was 8:30ish in the morning.

On my way home from work that evening, just after 6pm, I passed him again. Still wailing away tunelessly and thrashing away on his one string, I looked into his cap to assess his day's takings - he had the same few coppers...... and a packet of Rizlas. Someone had obviously thought long and hard about what this guy really needed more than anything else.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 12:46, 2 replies)
Outside of House of Fraser a few months ago there was a Big Issue vendor put off his attempts to flog his wares, mainly thanks to a slightly inebriated gentleman, stood a few feet away holding a box of Kleenex shouting "Big Tissue!". This was only interrupted by the occassional plea of "Mansize!" thrown in by him for good measure.

He was stood there doing this for a good few hours, much to the annoyance of the Big Issue seller and amusement of everyone else.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 12:32, 1 reply)
Special Brew
The better-class vagrant's lager of choice, Carlsberg Special Brew, was first brewed in 1950 in honour of Winston Churchill. Fact.

I think the brewers at Carlsberg might have gone a bit overboard though on ensuring that the drink adhered to the Churchillian ethos - in particular the sentiment of his famous speech where he said "...we shall fight on the beaches... we shall fight in the fields and in the streets..."...
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 12:24, 1 reply)
Big issue, please?
Outside the indoor shopping centre in the dull as ditchwater West Sussex Market Town that I have the misfortune to call home, there is a woman of Eastern European descent who stands there, day in day out, repeating over and over again the same phrase:

'Big Issue, Please?'

Nothing else, just, repeatedly…

‘Big Issue, Please?’

Morning, noon and night…

‘Big Issue, Please?’

I think it's a bloody disgrace and downright cheek in all honesty.

I mean, she's always got plenty of copies already.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 12:02, 1 reply)
Beggars can be choosers
Coming home drunk late from the West End many years ago, I'd stopped at McDonalds and loaded up on snappy happy burgers (hamburgers and cheeseburgers). I was getting the tube at Tottenham Court Road. As I came to the bottom of the stairs before the platform there was a tramp sat there begging. He looked at me and asked 'Any spare change for food?'. I had no spare money as I'd spent the last of my cash on burgers. Instead I reached into my brown McD's bag and presented the guy with a nicely wrapped cheeseburger. He asked me 'Whats that?'. I replied, 'It's a cheeseburger!'. He looked at me without changing expression and said, 'No thanks mate, I'm vegetarian'.

So there you go, fussy beggars.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 12:01, 1 reply)
I have a terminal problem recently diagnosed as ‘poodar’. If there is a tramp ready to curl one out in the streets, fear not, for the hairs on the back of my neck will stand and I will be first across the scene, retching. It should be known that I work with a homeless charity, but I draw a sympathetic line when the tramps shit on me.

On my first day at a new job in Camden, I was stood at a cash point on Camden High Street when your classic (trousers held up by a rope, pong like a chicken farm, and ohmygod that’s a compounded urine stain) trundled near me. As I am big and wooly, I jangled around in my pockets looking for a quid to give the man. He stood next to me, squatted down, shat and caught my trouser leg in the splatters. He pulled up his trousers as I whipped around to see most of Camden backing away from me, mouths covered a mixture of terror, panic and repulsion. Crowds of goth tourists parted as I ran through the streets. I sat outside my new office crying until one of The Brave hosed me down and delivered a new pair of trousers. Shitting tramp made me spend my first day of work half naked and covered in a stranger’s detrius.

A short period later, I was spending a bit of cash at Tesco Express when one of the more colourful street characters came in. I’d become familiar with him, as he often smoked crack under my stairs. He stripped naked next to the sandwiches and shat on the floor. Some quick thinking types shoved him out the door, but not before he got a handful of his own feces, which he proceeded to smear all over his undressed form. We were all trapped inside the store as a naked tramp covered in his own bowels rubbed himself against the glass windows. Gonads on glass is difficult enough to stomach, poo-ey balls leave a person with a permanent twitch. My God, people, he left snail trails of poo with his penis.

I fled Camden and moved to Oxford, assuming that said part of North London was the root cause of all this public shitting. Surely, Oxford - the city of dreaming spires and abominable toffs – would have more decorum than to allow such things. It is an honey-coloured emporium for young men who non-ironically wear pastel trousers and have lazy chins. One might assume that we would perform a termly cull on those less fortunate – the tramps – but we live in a modern world where murder is generally frowned upon.

I was crossing Magdalen Bridge, when a woman pulled down her trousers and shot fetid bottom steam from her backside. I was the only witness. Of course, I told everybody I knew (excitedly, arms waving,) how could I not? I didn’t see her again until I was out with a group of friends. She quite kindly asked for change and my friends obliged, dropping spare change into her open hand while I stood back having terrible flashbacks. No, no, I will not give you money, I said as my friends angrily accused me of betraying my liberal background. “That’s the bridge shitter,” I said. Just as they put the chips in their mouths.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 11:52, 1 reply)
8p mate?
As you walk down the ubiquitous yorkshire hills of Huddersfield into the industrial town centre towards the only attraction the place has to offer - Bars - you will be approached by 1 of 3 homeless northern scallywag bastards.

Either chavman, chavwoman or dirty old bugger will approach you and in the thickest of Yorkshire accents will ask...

"Scuse me maaate, ave yu got aaaate pee?"
For those who dont speak Yorkshire thats...."excuse me sir but do you have 8p that you could possibly spare me?"

I know what you are thinking and I have asked the question countless times...Why do they want 8p? If asked, the beforementioned will reply with some sort of predetermined and ambiguous answer...phone call/train/coffee etc etc.

After 3 years of the same question on a daily basis, a few of us began to get wise to these 3 particular people. On 2 occasions with side splitting consequences.

My housemate Tom was approached by Chavman who asked the usual

CM: "Scuse me maaate, ave yu got aaaate pee?"
T: "Sorry mate ive only got 7p on me" and proceeded on his way with me in tow trying not to fall over laughing.

This was only bettered the following day when Chavwoman unknowingly approached the same sharpwitted housemate.

CW: "Scuse me maaate, ave yu got aaaate pee?"
T: (checking his pockets for change) " ahhh damn, sorry luv, ive only got 10p, you got change?"

Her response never came and she walked away looking very confused whilst my laughter filled the smoggy Yorkshire air.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 11:03, Reply)
It's been sixteen years that are gone forever, and I'll never have again.
Groovy! I get to make a repost - and here it is...

I arrived in Manchester to study at a pretend University in mid-1990. On (I think) my second day in town I was strolling down the main road (Oxford Road) when I was approached by a well-dressed man of early middle years.
"'scuse me, son?" He asked politely, so I 'scused him. "I wonder if you can help me. God forgive me, I'm trying to get to the men's hostel in Wythenshawe and I've not got my fare for the bus and, God forgive me, I was wondering if..."
Well, undoubtedly you can see where this was going. The upshot was that I was pretty callow and naive at the time so he got some cash out of me. I wised up pretty sharply when two days later, I was walking down Oxford Road again when he came up to me: "'Scuse me son, God forgive me, I'm trying..."

As time went by I realised that this man and a compatriot would walk down opposite sides of Oxford Road, accosting everyone who passed with the tale that, God forgive them, they'd lost their fare to the men's hostel in Wythenshawe and could they be spared some change? This went on for the entire five years I lived in Manchester. A couple of times a week, "'scuse me son..."
You know how it goes. Sometimes they got some money out of me if I was feeling flush, sometimes not. I learned the location of a Mens Hostel which was literally a hundred yards from Oxford Road and went through a period of directing them to it with all appearence of helpful cheer and goodwill, saving them the trouble of getting to Wythenshawe. They didn't like that much, because apparently the central Manchester hostel didn't have the right facilities. Perhaps the pool wasn't of the right quality, or the central Manchester hostel didn't give complimentary chocolates in the rooms and Wythenshawe did. I don't know.
The most striking thing about this bloke was that he didn't give any appearence of being your average homeless man. Whilst not smart, he certainly wasn't a bum, either. He plainly took care of himself; shirt and tie, personal hygeine, he made an effort, which was enough to at least predispose me to listen and sympathise and occasionally cough up.
I did wish he'd occasionally use a different story, though.

Eventually I left Manchester. A couple of weeks before I left, I had been walking through town in a pretty poor mood for lady-related reasons when: "'scuse me, son, God forgive me, but...". I turned to him and replied:
"Look, you've been trying to get to the mens hostel in Wythenshawe for five years. I really think you could have walked it by now."
And then I left town. I thought that was that.

Thirteen years later I was staying in a central Manchester hotel whilst up there to see chums and on Saturday morning I took a walk down Oxford Road to the Manchester Museum, one of my favourite places. As I was walking, a familiar figure approached me.
"'scuse me, mate? God forgive me, but I'm trying to get to the mens hostel in Wythenshawe..."
I was so shocked I put my hand in my pocket gave him a quid.
Subsequent to this, though, I've been thinking. I'm now fascinated by this man, and what his story must be. He's spent at least sixteen years walking up and down Oxford Road in Manchester, asking people for money to get to Wythenshawe. What could make someone think that this is a good way to spend all that time? I stop and think about the thimgs I've done since 1990. I've got a degree. I've started my own company. I've seen the view from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun, the Temple of the Jaguar and the Space needle. I've seen attack ships in flames off the shoulder of Orion and T-beams glitter at the Tannhauser gate...
In the same period this guy, come all weathers, has been hanging around outside Whitworth Park pretending he wants to go to Wythenshawe. Is there a good living to be made on Oxford Road panhandling from students? Or is he on day-release from a local Sanitorium and knows nothing else? Or is he a tragic figure like King Pellinore or Sisyphus, doomed by the gods ever to quest for the mens hostel in Wythenshawe but never to find it?
I think the next time he collars me, probably in 2022 the way things are going, I'm going to offer to buy him a drink and ask him his story.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 10:54, 3 replies)
My brother the tramp
My brother has a condition called cluster ‘b’, its basically a mental condition that means he isn’t able to control his emotions. He has very, very dark thoughts and these manifest in the form of violence towards others. I grew up in a household where it was a regular event to receive a tremedous beating from this person. One time he collected together my three pet rabbits and made me watch as he repeatedly hit them with a shovel – I can still hear the squeals as they died in agony. My parents tried to get him to go and seek medical help, but he point blank refused and on the few occasions he actually got as far as a doctors waiting room he’d cause a scene and leave. Then at the age of eighteen he left my life. Turns out he was living on the continent. I did a google search for his name a couple of years ago and discovered he’d made quite a name for himself as a web designer; he was officially a success. I checked out his personal website. He had a wife and four kids; I was an uncle and I didn’t even know it.

Then, a year ago, while I was checking out his website out of curiosity, I discovered he’s been officially diagonosed with cluster ‘b’. The statement on his website goes onto explain that this diagnosis came about as a result of him beating his wife to a pulp and getting arrested. She’s now his ex-wife. He’s now a derelict living somewhere in a Scandinavian country (where his wife and kids were born). I found out he was living on the streets from a family member, an aunt, who says he’s not that bad now he’s getting treatment.

Strange thing is I don’t know what to think or feel about this. And to make matters stranger, he contacted me recently via email. He wants to make amends for the shit he caused in the family over the years. He wants to asuage his guilt, I think. He basically wants to give me £100,000 as a ‘sorry’. Not sure what to make of this. It would seem he doesn’t need to live on the streets if he’s got this sort of cash (and he has – he was VERY successful). I just don’t know what to do about it.
(, Mon 6 Jul 2009, 10:25, 9 replies)

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