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Pilot Issue 3 : November 2010

more than a magazine


FLACK extras ...

get involved with FLACK

Got an idea for an article? Interested in learning some new skills? Want to help with binding or distribution?

FLACK NEEDS YOU!

Turn your beer can into a camera! Mark is a local photographer who has come up with an ingenious method for converting empty beer cans into pin-hole cameras. Mark will be showing us how ...

Saturday 20th Nov 11- 4pm at the FLACK Base

We’re at Wintercomfort every Monday from 10 – midday and at 222 every Thursday 3 – 5pm email: kirsten@flackcambridge.org.uk text Kirsten on: 07962 685220 or drop by on a Wednesday 1 – 5pm :

If you would like to make photographs using a beer can and learn more about traditional dark room processes give us a ring on 07962 685220 to book your place, there are 6 available.

The FLACK Base is is a friendly welcoming place with a reliable supply of good conversation, tea/coffee and biscuits. It’s marked on the map on the back cover – very near the Access Surgery , just ask for FLACK at Reception.

There will also be more opportunities to get involved in the future with workshops at Wintercomfort and 222.

Why FLACK ?

Persian Miniature Paintings - Visit and Workshop Wed 10th Nov 2pm - 4pm Fitzwilliam Museum A chance to see this very special exhibition and to get inspired and creative in the Fitzwilliam Art Studio.

Well ... homeless people get a lot of flack ! (aka random criticism) ... and ‘to flack’ means to publicise and promote and that’s what FLACK is all about ... providing a positive insight into who homeless people are, what they have to say and offer.

front cover We found this great face pinned up on the board at Wintercomfort ... we tried hard to find out whose drawing it is ... honest ..

FREE tea and coffee too !

Please let us know if it was you!

meet outside main entrance at 2pm.

We are always on the lookout for front cover images - do get in touch if you’ve got artwork you’d like us to consider.


What’s so special about Lamp Posts ? Kirsten Lavers’ tribute to Glyn Putwain

Just before he died this summer, I was privileged to spend some time with Uncle Glyn Putwain chatting about childhood memories, his passion for theatre and literature and his work at the Refugee Council.

I first met Glyn three years ago when he submitted a poem for the Willow Walker calendar and since then have often enjoyed his company and thoughtful conversation. He was a passionate member of Cambridge Link-Up and helped with the staging of several Willow Walker concerts as well as performing his poem, Guy Fawkes, for the Both Sides of the Tracks CD which Link-Up produced in 2008. Glyn had often mentioned his fascination with lamp posts! Indeed in his room there were several photographs of Lamp Posts pinned up on the walls along with witty quotes such as “ Rule1: I am always right. Rule 2 : When I am wrong see Rule 1” I am very glad that during our last chat I finally found out what it was all about. Here’s Uncle Glyn, in his own words, explaining why Lamp Posts are interesting ...

“It’s because of my art teacher, Mr Frampton. Mr. Frampton, always neat and dapper, I admire that, his son was in a pop group, so he was popular. You weren’t thought to be gay if you liked him as a teacher. Everyone liked art, it was a skive. One day he gave us this piece of homework that was to go down a road and draw ten different lamp posts, and we all went “awww Mr. Frampton there aren’t ten different lamp posts in the whole world” I lived at Blanford Road at this time, I couldn’t believe it ! I went about, can’t have been more than 500 yards, just up the road and along. I didn’t go off on any funny side tracks or anything and I couldn’t believe it. There were ten totally different ones! That made me stop and think what else I wasn’t seeing? So, if ever I want to wake someone up, I cheat and use Mr. Frampton’s lamp post lesson. I say go and find some. For example this little Tesco here (Newmarket Rd, Tesco), I know there is a spot where you can sit down, on a wall or a bench and see ten different lamp posts from one spot, different ones in the car park, different ones on the store, all over. Favorite one?, I haven’t got a favourite lamp post but I’ve got a favorite place, there’s a kitten crawling up a drainpipe, its real because it’s solid. I like the lamp post on that green, near Short Street, that big green where the fair is, because there’s a lamp post with three prongs. If people ask me about God and Jesus and things like that, I say god the father, god the son and god the holy ghost .... bang one lamp post and three lots of light but they all issue the same light. It’s a perfect metaphor for the trinity, physically right in front of you. But of course they say what’s that one with four prongs? Aliens.”

“Now, you are going to look for things more than you did before, the thing is you become more proactive and that’s important not just in lamp posts and kittens.”

Rest In Peace Glyn Putwain


Banksy or Bollocks? Jade Rivers interviews Jon Bates of the Blight Society

photos: Jade Rivers

As some of you may have noticed, Newmarket Road is looking a bit brighter these days and that is thanks to a light bulb moment had by one man a couple of years ago and the skill and creativity of a collective of artists called The Blight Society. So I met up with Jon and asked him to tell me how it all came about. “Well, I was just walking around town and seeing all these amazing pieces of artwork that people were putting up in the middle of the night and then seeing them come down the next day when the council white washed them because they didn’t have permission. I thought what a waste, really, because there’s a lot of talent out there that people aren’t seeing. And I thought maybe there’s something I can do about this.” So, frustrated by such non-appreciation for talent Jon set up The Blight Society as a website providing a secure platform for urban artists to exhibit their work with the potential to make some money too. Overall, Jon deals with much of the organisational side of things, as well as updating the website and working closely with about thirty other artists. I asked Jon whose idea it was to splash a bit of colour down Newmarket Road, how it came about and who else was involved. “To begin with we were looking for people from the local area that could benefit from some artwork, like people who had some run down walls they couldn’t afford to decorate. Future Business has a lot of property that they rent out to other charities and social organisations at cheap rates. Because they are a charity they don’t have money to spruce up the outside of their buildings. So we approached them and asked would you let us paint our artwork on your wall for free? They jumped at the chance.”

Now, my clever Cambridge readers, could you have a bacon sandwich without using brown sauce? No! I hear you cry, well, neither can I and nor could I stop myself, whilst chatting with Jon, from mentioning Banksy. I asked him did he like Banksy, what he thought of his work and his rise to fame? Where and at which point he felt that graffiti made the transition from vandalism to art? And whether or not it would still be considered graffiti if you had permission? (Par for the course it must be said, we both laughed!) “Amazingly I do like Banksy, yeah! He has really done good things for bringing graffiti and street art into the mainstream and making it more acceptable for people to give permission to having their walls painted. Even in some councils, they are taking some of his illegal work that he has painted without permission and getting the council workers to protect it and even repair it when others paint over it.” “Banksy is making councils and the general public question “ Is this art? ” and should they be looking after it and protecting it or should they be protecting all of it and is it important? If this one guy Banksy manages to make a large amount of money and make a lot of people happy with his artwork because people like seeing it, then maybe there’s something to be said for this illegal artwork after all. Definitely there’s been a change in the public’s opinion, I don’t necessarily think the art’s changed, I think people have became more used to seeing it.”


“People like things that they can relate to and that relates to them. If street art communicates with them, it changes the way they think. It raises issues, gets people talking and this is very encouraging for the artists and the graffiti artform.” Meeting Jon was great, he’s a really cool guy and good to talk to. So if any of you have any further questions for John or any creative ideas you want to put to him you can contact him at www.blightsociety.co.uk Personally, at this time of year I think it would be interesting for there to be big graffiti nativity scene done for Cambridge. So, if you know of a nice big clean wall that’s feeling unloved you can email me with your ideas at info@flackcambridge.org.uk and I will have another coffee with Jon and see what happens!

PAKI I heard the word ‘Paki’ the very first day I stepped off the DC-10 that brought me to this country. I heard it through my school and college days all the way to my adulthood and still do from time to time. Funnily enough, since I’ve been homeless I hear it a lot more. Now, what does it actually mean and where does it come from? Well, it originates from the word Pakistani, the people of Pakistan origin. However, this slang is widely used as a derogatory racist remark for anyone of south-east Asian origin mainly of the Indian Sub-continent. I always hear the word ‘paki shop’ being used to refer to corner shops, newsagents and off-licences. My so called friends say the word ‘paki’ followed by ‘Oh! Please don’t take any offense’ or ‘I am not being racist’ etc. Or some would even say, as I am a Bangladeshi and not a Pakistani, it should not bother me. Fellas, it encompasses all people of South Asian appearance, even if they're say, Indian, Sri-Lankan and so on. It just goes to show the users’ ignorance. It’s a nasty word, a bad word. A word that generates hatred, pain and anger. It annoys me every time I hear it and sometimes it even hurts. Yet, sometimes I myself use the word preempting a situation to make a joke of it, so it defuses any tension. Many of the folks even admit their ignorance and say they don’t know where Pakistan or Bangladesh is, or their geographical relevance. Therefore I have included a map which shows you exactly where each country is. We are not all the same. We are talking about five six countries with different cultures and heritage. Like every race, there are bad people and there are good people. A couple of months ago, I came across a Caucasian

(white) person who at first meeting started making racist remarks and giving me very dirty looks. To say the least he hated me. He even said, my presence put him off his dinner. He made no attempt of hiding his dislike of me. Every time we were in the same room I felt the tension rise. At first it angered me, in return I hated him too. But I did notice that he is intelligent and there is good in him. So, one day instead of fighting fire with fire, I decided to be nice to him and show him that I am not a bad person. To show him that people with dark skin can also have a good heart. And you know what? Shortly after he started warming up to me. Now, we might not be best of friends but we have mutual respect for each other and enjoy conversing over a cup of coffee and a fag. Fellas, in future please try not to use the word, it really not nice and you only embarrass yourself.


FLACK CROSSWORD # 3

compiled by CEROSPLETIK Across 1. Capital of Jamaica (8) 2. _____ and shine (4) 3. Flower Market, Central Market 4. America abbreviated (2) 5. Dept of Works and Pensions (3) 6. Island split between Greeks and Turks (6) 7. They come from outer space! (3) 8. Skirt worn by a man (4) 9. Jonathan _____ (4) 10. Unit of time (4) 11. Emotion of being afraid (4) 12. Abbreviated Doctor (2) 13. Board used for filing nails. (5)

FLACK JOKE # 1 Picture the situation. I am sitting in the cabin of my boat in the North Pacific. Ship to shore radio: Beep beep (in a Canadian accent). Sir, I suggest you change you course to North North West." Beep beep ( American accent) "Sir we suggest you change your course to South South East. We are the American Pacific fleet." Beep beep ( Canadian accent) "No sir I suggest you change your course NNW" Beep beep "Sir, we are the American Pacific fleet and we are on military maneuvers. We suggest you change you course SSE" Beep beep " Sir, we suggest your change your course." Beep beep "Sir we are the American Pacific fleet. We have 10 Destroyers, 4 Aircraft carriers, !5 gunships, 25 Submarines and 50 Aircraft on board. We suggest you change your course." Beep beep "Sir, we are a lighthouse. Your call." Thanks to Homeless Harry for this one ~ please send us your favourite jokes.  

FLACK                  BARGAIN HUNTER # 3 Andy Flack rushed into the FLACK office the other day to tell us that the Viking Chip Shop on Milton Road sell a good sized portion of chips for 60p. Got any tips for those days before pay day ?

Down 1. NIRVANA 2. Iron Ship designed by Brunel (5,7) 3. One and _____ (Chesney Hawkes) (5) 4. Animated film about an old man and a flying house. (2) 5. Albrect ______ (medieval artist) (5) 6. Firework – female (9) 7. Self Road (anag) town in Lincolnshire (8) 8. Vic’s comedy partner (8) 9. I think therefore I __ (2) 10. Footwear (4) 11. __ what ? (2) 12. Egyptian Sun God (2)

OCTOBER CROSSWORD ANSWERS


FLACK RECIPE #3 Thai Green Curry (simple version not authentic) by S. Robin Ahmed There are lots of ways of cooking this most commonly known dish of Thailand. It is mouth-watering and infused with citrus and tropical flavour. Ingredients: Serves: 3-4 3-4 chicken breast: diced into cubes 1 lime 1-2 red or green chillies (optional, if you like a little bit of kick) 1 tin of coconut milk 1 stalk of lemongrass: cut into two Handful of fine beans: tipped and tailed (Handful of asparagus if you can afford it) Dash of fish sauce or light soy sauce © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Handful of fresh lime or coriander leaves: torn in small pieces

object of the month # 3

1-2 tbs of vegetable oil

by Josie Camus (Fitzwilliam Museum)

Salt and black pepper Method:

A friend of mine used to use the word ‘blamedonkey’ to mean someone who always catches the flack. It is a bit like the traditional ‘scapegoat’, but conjures up an image that is a bit more melancholy, and less fleet-footed… And there can be no finer example of a blame donkey than this magnificently bearded, pipe-smoking figure; the original Mr Nobody. He has had the guilt of millennia piled upon him. For when cries ring out of “Who did this?!” The answer is always “Oh... nobody.” Nobody appears in Homer’s Odyssey, when the hero makes his escape by giving his name as ‘noman’. He also appears in the bible as St Nemo, for ‘nemo deum vidit’ (no-one has seen god). But although he makes appearances across Europe, it is only in English that we get the bonus pun illustrated by this figure. For this Mr Nobody really does have no body. He is just a big pair of breeches, and head joins straight onto his legs! Nobody is a 23cm tall earthenware figure. You can find him in gallery 27. Join us for for a FLACK tour and workshop at the Fitzwilliam on Wednesday November 10th @ 2pm

Zest the lime and juice it. Add the chicken to the juice and zest and let it marinade for an hour. Heat the oil in a saucepan or a wok. Add the chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until chicken is browned on all sides. Mash the lemongrass with a rolling pin or whatever you can find. Add the vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and the lime juice if any left in the bowl. Add the fish sauce or soy sauce. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce hit and simmer for further 8-10 minutes. Add the chillies, stir it in. Take it of the hob and top it with fresh lime or coriander leaves. Ideally ser ve with jasmine rice and enjoy. Oh! And don’t worry jasmine rice is supposed to be a little sticky when cooked.


WHAT’S ON @ wintercomfort

for the homeless

8.30 - 10: Mental Health Drop-In with Laurence

10 - 3.30: Weaving & Sculpture with Roger and Susanna

10 - 3.30: Weaving & Sculpture with Roger and Susanna

1 - 2: Computers with Alison

10.30 - 3.30: W with Roger

1.30 - 3.30 : Sports with Ally

10 - 11: My Stor

also welcoming people at risk of homelessness and those who have moved on into their own tenancies.

10 - 12: meet up with FLACK

& elsewhere

2 - 5pm : FLACK Workshop

see the map on back page for where these activities take place >

11 : Film Club 10.30 - 1: Squeaky Gate Music

1 - 2: Maths with Roots ‘n Shoots: 9.45 pick-up from Wintercomfort

Make an appointment and we’ll help you contribute to the magazine . 07962 685220

Cyrenians Ceram pick-up from Wi

monday

1

tuesday

2

8 - 9 Surgery Nurse 9 - 1pm St John’s Footcare @ Wintercomfort

8

wedn

3

3pm : Camb Meeting @ 222

9

10

FLACK tour & cr shop Fitzwilliam pm meet outsid trance. FLACK will be cl

Watch the Poker Players @ The Six Bells 7pm

14

11 - 5 : Reworks

1 - 5 : FLACK Dr

sunday

7

8.30 - 10: Street

15

16

17

21

22

23

24

Faith Fair from 2pm Meadows Community Centre

8 - 9 Surgery Nurse @ Wintercomfort

9 - 1pm St John’s Footcare @ Wintercomfort

28

29

30

Check out Mr Nobody Gallery 27 Fitzwilliam Museum

8 - 9 Surgery Nurse @ Wintercomfort

Star Radio 107.9FM Neil Jones Rock Radio Show 7pm - 9pm

FLA


& everyday...

t Outreach

8.30 - 10: Street Outreach

8.30 - 10: Street Outreach

Willow Weaving

8.30 - 10: Ceramics

9 - 11: Alcohol Drop-In with Malcolm

8.30 - 10 Showers, laundry and clothing store

ry with Alison

10.30 - 3.30: Willow Weaving with Roger

9 - 12 : Quiz and Board Games 12.30 - 2: Cooking with Wendy

Free cooked breakfast for rough sleepers or £1.75 + free sandwich lunch if taking part.

2 - 3: Literacy with Alison

8.30 - 3.30 Internet access

Cyrenian’s Women’s Pottery : 10am - midday Unit 7 Barnwell Drive

11 - 5 : Reworks Bike WkShop

th Alison

s Bike WkShop

10.30 - 2.30: Meet up with Cambridge Link-Up Roots ‘n Shoots: 9.45 pick-up from Wintercomfort

mics: 9.45 & 1.45 Wintercomfort

12.30 : Women’s Group @ 222

Drop-In

3 - 5 : FLACK @ 222

esday

thursday

4

bridge Link-Up Self Build

11

reative Workm Museum 2 - 4 de main en-

closed today.

18

25

CALENDAR

friday

saturday

5

6

Art Group 12 - 3 @ wintercomfort

How many spent fireworks can you find?

12

13

Street Voices 10.30 - 12.30 Akeman Street

Art from Jamaica New Hall College, Huntingdon Rd 10 - 6 FREE

19

20

Art Group 12 - 3 @ wintercomfort Street Voices : Drumming 10.30 -12.30 Akeman Steet

Beer Can Photography Wkshop @ FLACK 11 - 4pm book your place!

26

27

Street Voices 10.30 - 12.30 Akeman Street

Handmade Xmas Market Guildhall 10 - 5pm

~

NOVEMBER


Paranoid Play for the Day by Julian Raphael

Scene 1: (Geordie voice):

Day thirty eight down the Big Brother mine. Pablo is screaming his head off about being stuck down here forever until we all die, Dario, Yonni and Samuel are all quietly cracking up in the corner and Ariel has just knocked screaming Pablo out with one punch to the chin.

Ariel:

I can’t think with people screaming about dying all the time.

Samuel:

But why aren’t they here yet, it’s been ten days? Couldn’t they have drilled down here in three?

Ariel:

Yeah I know, I’m finding that a bit worrying.

Dario:

They don’t care about us, Saint Stephen gold and copper don’t give a shit what happens to us.

Ariel:

But there’s our families up there and the TV! They’ll get us out eventually. They’re just letting us stew.

Samuel, Dario and Yonni: Ariel:

Letting us stew! Sacre bleu! Why? Why letting us stew?

I don’t know. I’m starting to think there are hidden cameras in this place and we’re being watched all over the world on the internet.

Dario and Yonni:

Huh?

Samuel:

What, like the movie My Little Eye?

Pablo:

[Coming round, rubbing his jaw] What, My Little Eye directed by Marc Evans and released in 2000?

Ariel:

I think we’ve become a social experiment.

Pablo:

That’s just paranoia, you been reading too much from da book El Magus by the John Fowles hombre.

Ariel:

What! I’ve been looking for secret cameras.

Samuel:

Find any?

Ariel:

Yes, here [He throws two little cameras at the stony ground].

Samuel, Yonni, Pablo, Dario:

Hmm…weren’t they just down here anyway like security?!

Ariel:

Security down a mine? It’s not a diamond mine!

Pablo:

They’d have to have sound pick ups too.

Ariel:

Yeah, I’ve found these microphones [he throws two microphones].

Pablo:

But what makes us so interesting? We’re not wannabe entertainers, none of us want to be on the cover of OK! or release a pop song or meet Russell Brand, we’re just miners, miners with the blood of… miners in our veins.

Ariel:

Yes we’re miners but we’re more than just that, we’ve had dreams and we’ve had other jobs.

Samuel:

Yeah. I used to dig for the railways.

Ariel:

There you go, you see, Samuel used to dig the rail lines.

Pablo:

No I don’t get it, we’re not very interesting, we can’t be being beamed world wide, just cos we’re stuck down a mine.


Ariel: [to camera]

We’re the next generation of Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Forty thousand people applied to be housemates for the first ever Big Brother, we’re honoured to be chosen.

Samuel:

But we haven’t been chosen! We’re stuck down a mine! We’re not on Big Brother!

Ariel:

Listen, this is what Craig Phillips who won Big Brother 1 said just this year before our mine collapsed, “I think the show is exhausted now. You can change the personalities and characters in the house but the format of them living together and people voting to get rid of them means it can’t change very much.”

Pablo:

Let’s all have gay sex.

Samuel, Yonni, Dario, Ariel: Pablo:

What!

We’re all going to die down here! I don’t wanna go with a whimper, I wanna go with a bang!

Pablo tries to kiss Ariel. Ariel:

What are you doing Pablo? Are you crazy!!! Are you gay?

Pablo:

No, I’m just scared and what does it matter, we’re all going to die anyway!

Ariel:

But if we have sex and then get rescued won’t that be embarrassing? I don’t think I can handle getting out and being outed, especially since it’s all being filmed. Scene 2

(Geordie voice):

Day sixty five down the Big Brother mine, everyone’s a bit unhappy.

Pablo:

I can’t fucking believe we’re still down here, this is getting ridiculous. They’ve sent us some clay and told us to see who can “fashion” the best bowl and spoon and then they’ll send us something really nice to eat. What a stupid note. Y’know I’m starting to think Ariel is right. I found another small camera.

Samuel:

Yeah I’ve got this note from the pipe saying put these horns on your head and dance around singing ‘Deeper Underground’ by Jamiroquai. I mean why? Unless we’re being watched?

Pablo:

I think we should just have gay sex!

Samuel, Ariel, Yonni, Dario:

Pablo, shut up! Go and, oh I don’t know just sit over there and shut up.

Pablo:

I’m going to go brush my teeth again, they’re fucking hurting!

Ariel: [pointing]

I think it’s him, I think he’s the inside man.

Samuel:

What? Daniel?

Ariel:

Yeah Herrara, he’s the one suggested we get in his truck and go deeper just before the crash remember? and remember he was very insistent we all go with him? He’s the one fitted all the cameras. Or they were all here before.

Pablo:

But why, just because as Craig Phillips said the original Big Brother format is exhausted itself, Pop has eaten itself so now the art form is even more devious and deviant and we’re like the kids in the Blair Witch Project.

Ariel:

That’s exactly it, The Blair Witch man! It’s always dark, things keep moving, around, we can’t get out!!! We’re like David Blaine man, we’re Art!

Pablo:

And people are paying to watch this?

Ariel:

People are dumb perverts. Sick wicked voyeurs.

Pablo:

Blair Witch was a bit boring though, even ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ was boring.

Ariel:

They want to see anything happening, any heavy victimisation, prison rules! They want to see if we turn into gladiators or gladioli ......

Pablo:

Well instead we’re just one big happy family.

Dario, Ariel, Samuel, Yonni:

Hmm.


Them and Us ? Homeless Harry sets the cat amongst the pigeons Homelessness is the same anywhere for the person experiencing it, but in Cambridge the causes of it and the options open for the homeless may be a little different from other places. Why? Because Cambridge is so bloody expensive when it comes to housing. House prices are shockingly high and as a consequence so are private rents. Yes, we do have council housing and housing association homes, and God be thanked that we do, but there aren't enough! Is there a lack of political will, both nationally and locally, to deal with the shortage of homes? To listen to the politicians, one would think not, but does it translate into political action that meets the housing needs? No, it doesn’t. This is because of the "them and us" attitude that many of us suffer from. Homelessness does not happen to the likes of "us". I am writing, as a homeless person, not to raise awareness for the plight of "us" or should that be "them". I feel terribly sorry for the thousands of miserable "us", which to me is "them". Have I got you confused? Well let me explain. I am alone and living in a homeless hostel, and a very professionally run one at that. Yes, it can be difficult living on a budget, but it can be done, just. But here's the rub, I am happy. Single and happy. Why? Because I am not chained emotionally or financially to another human being. I am not in a marriage or partnership where I have to

be. In short, I do not have to put up a charade of pretending to be happy, sharing a home with someone who is driving me mad. There is of course one consolation, you can hold dinner parties and talk about the equity you own, as property prices rise feeding the "feel good factor" allowing spending to buoy up the economy. Chained to another individual by economics. Ah, the hopelessness of your situation. Well dear "us", do something about it. Start a new life. Oh, sorry I forgot. You can’t afford anywhere else to live. You know that to make yourself homeless is just too great a risk. So why is that? Because there is not the political will to address the acute and chronic housing shortage which helps keep house prices high fuelling the feel good factor that's so essential to an economy bereft of any alternatives. There are no votes in homelessness because of that "them and us" attitude. Dear householder, you are "them" and we are "us". Many countries measure Gross Domestic product and Gross National Income. Some enlightened places are now measuring Gross National Happiness. How does one measure that? I really don't know, but surely it should take into account those poor unfortunates (them? us?) who cannot afford to move out of domestic hell!

What gives her the God given right? Emma Hyde I read an article recently that made my blood run cold. An American lady (and I use that term loosely) by the name of Barbara Harris is touring various countries offering drug addicts and alcoholics £200 to be sterilised. I was an alcoholic for 10 years, and had I been approached by Barbara Harris in that time, she would have been my new best friend, I would have snatched her arm off for the £200. Two years ago I successfully completed a detox, and 8 months ago, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Daisy. People with addictions are incredibly vulnerable, most are unemployed so the chance to earn £200 by doing what might seem like nothing at the time is an opportunity few would miss.

What I'm trying to say is that people with a drug or alcohol problems are able to change, and are just going through a blip which had a beginning and Emma and Daisy can also have an end. What Barbara Harris is doing is playing God with peoples lives, targeting the weak and needy, and subsequently denying people one of the most rewarding and precious experiences in the world, the opportunity to become a parent.

What do you think? FLACK would like to hear your views. Should addicts be allowed to have children?


FLACK poetry Weetabix Man by Gary Barratt

Gene Thunderbolt was inspired by this feline shaped cloud to write a little ditty ...

I was sitting off doing my time like every single con. I was sitting off in Peterborough prison just like every single one. I got a job in the tea bag shop so I can get up to sum tricks. I thought of an idea and put my name in the weetabix I got a reply  a couple of days later off a girl called Rachel. She kept on writing  to me, and this was really special.

One can hear a purr in the winds at night! For the great moggy is out and about,

We lost touch for a while and things got really dull. Then one day a letter slipped under the door and the feeling begun once more.

The brush of a whisker across the sky And a paw strike of lightning no doubt! The swish of that tail tickles the moon

I thank you for being a friend and keeping it real as you can. And respect to the girl called Rachel, who was writing to the Weetabix Man.

And she shines with a definite exuberance! Glistening down onto the fabulous feline Who responds with sonic ebullience!

Ruminations On Risk

by Simon

At another time Simon worked as an actuary. What is an actuary you might ask? Actuaries use their skills in maths and statistics to solve genuine business issues. Much of what actuaries do involves planning for, measuring and managing risk. Where do you like to handle risk? My preference is relaxed in discrete lengths, for example I can remove the kitchen smoke detector for fear of cremated bread. However what’s your personal view as attitudes do vary? Perhaps you grunt like me with the intrusion or pass this issue with a smile knowing you’ve got a superior toaster that doesn’t over toast your bread. What about facing the risk of losing your accommodation and becoming the next candidate for ghetto life. You’re at present out of customised options, seriously. “Horror is close enough to breathe”. You’re looking down the barrel of losing the warmth of your central heating although not receiving those red bill reminders is pleasant consideration. Risk, yep there’s a danger of this situation turning bad, real bad. It’s reasonable to suggest that homeless people are

twice as likely to experience verbal or physical abuse. However it’s [Monday] afternoon and this state is the least worst of your feelings. You look a mess, you’ve not had time to make yourself look sexy and you’ve gone to the machine and the bank isn’t dishing out any further currency. Personally, I think risk is different once you’ve actually experienced the trauma rather than reading about it in your favourite magazine. Are you more or less likely to take risks after the worst has occurred? After fifty hours of thought , the question remains unanswered for me ... what about you? Taking the risk to change my career in pursuit of happiness has led to additional risks and bouts of trauma however after four years it’s very hard to think I was wrong not to leap into the unknown for an adventure.


What happened to Evolve? Jude Evans I’ve known Gary, on and off, for many years. He'd be the first to admit his notorious (ex) reputation among the drug community in Cambridge. The first time Gary used ‘H’ he was only sixteen and he loved it. Next came crack and then prison and many subsequent groundhog years of selling and using drugs, hurtling toward disaster. During his last sentence he faced a major crossroads and a very poignant decision - in his own words 'prison, death or recovery - pick one'. I hate the over used phrase - 'turned their life around', because it's a sanitised cliche for an unbelievable achievement and enormous strength of character. Gary's life these days couldn't be more different. He glows with the pride of a family man and on top of all that he wants to give something back. He's always on the look out for some way he can help those still struggling. About two years ago ‘Evolve’ appeared. It was a publication developed by a group of Addaction service users, all of whom were at varying stages of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. It's fair to say that Gary was at the forefront of its conception and development. The group known as the Evolve Peers’ produced a fascinating and informative magazine about class A drug use (specifically Heroin). A valuable informative and educational tool, the magazine included everything from where heroin comes from, to experiences of use and addiction, safer injecting, recommended books/films and a word search! Part of what made the magazine so unique was that it was put together by those who've been there, felt it, smelt it, tasted it, been to hell and back.

Prison Poems by Gary Barratt i am going to make it simple but not as hard as you think i planted my plant a few weeks back now it started to shrink i gave it a bit of water, it really started to grow i watched it spout over the edge, it started to show i got a hanger for my plant, hung it on the ceiling every time i look at my plant i get a really good feeling

Unfortunately, 'Evolve' never made it past issue one. Gary says part of the reason for this was a series of stumbling blocks put in his way. Yes, it was a great idea and he had plenty of resources in terms of information and experience with the subject matter, but he is only one man and as we know at FLACK, it takes more than that to get a publication off the ground. It's fair to say Gary feels let down by Addaction, the service provider he approached for help. He needed them to match his drive and enthusiasm and sadly he feels this didn’t happen ... “they weren’t supporting us…they weren’t on board”. Was Gary let down by service providers he approached for support? A lone crusader betrayed , like an ex junkie Braveheart?! One thing is certain; the guy is a living, breathing example of how it's never too late. A force of nature, once he used his powers for evil, now for good and healing. It would be wrong to categorise 'Evolve' as a failure or a waste of time. It's so easy to be negative. I prefer to look at it like this; 'Evolve' is symbolic of what you can achieve against the odds. Respect. If you would like to see a copy of Evolve - we have one at the FLACK Base - drop by for a coffee and a browse through our library. Gary talks about his life on You Tube search for 'My name is Gary'

change is about today and change is about tomorrow to change I must not follow stripping down the beliefs I believe and planting those little seeds what's done is done, I ask my self  have I got to put the rest  on the shelf?  

it’s all about change I ask again slipping sliding is this the end?  days go by then into weeks just waiting for a little bit of peace the change will  come come as they say and I'm prepared to change in every way


Cambridge for two days, June died suddenly and unexpectedly as a result of the damage her drinking had done to her heart. Daz never got the opportunity to make up with June and he wants to send out a tribute to the woman, he describes as the missing piece, the other part of the puzzle. “We used to drink in the park, and she always used to sit behind me, she was always cuddling up to me and everyone could see, we were like proper for each other.” June had also become an alcoholic because of a marriage breakdown, and she also had to leave her two children behind. June and Daz bonded over their common experiences. They opened up to and relied on each other in a way that neither had for a long time.

‘This is My Goodbye’ Daz has been a street drinker for fourteen years, ever since his marriage broke up and he had to leave his two young boys with his wife, taking nothing but a black plastic sack of belongings with him. In his time on the street, Daz put up a ‘wall of stone’ to protect himself and his emotions. It was only when he met June earlier this year that he fell in love and met his “guardian angel”, feeling able for the first time in many years to let someone into his heart. “I was a full time family man, and I worked very hard for my wife and kids. I bought my house in the first two years of working, when iwas nineteen, and I’ve been working since I was sixteen.” Daz became addicted to speed in order to stay awake for grueling thirteen hour shifts overnight, six days a week, as a security guard. “I went three days without speed, to come off it, and realised I didn’t love my wife any more. I had to tell my two boys, and then I was on the street, I left with a black sack, that’s all I had, I then lost my job, because I started drinking and became an alcoholic” Daz met June on the street and he immediately noticed what a kind and caring person she was. That day he bought her a 101 Dalmatians teddy which she treasured from then on. The two fell in love. Daz helped June with the opportunistic fellow drinkers who used to sleep in her room, eat her food and steal money from her pockets when she was drunk. He applied his skills to help manage their budgets jointly, and they had a happy life together. However, after a fairly trivial disagreement which prompted Daz to take time away, bringing him to

Daz knows that if June was still alive they would be together, and his biggest regret is not saying goodbye to her. He still thinks about her every day and hopes she is having a better life ‘up there’ than she did down here. Daz hopes God is looking after June and wants her to know she is always in his heart.

Editor’s Note: Sadly, Daz does not have a photograph of June so we decided to include a picture of his first gift to her instead.

How this article came about ... Daz read Lee Gaskell’s story in our first issue and this gave him the idea that FLACK might be able to help him grieve for June by publishing his ‘goodbye’ to her. Daz got in touch with Kirsten and talked about the idea. He said that he didn’t want to actually write it himself because he wasn’t sure he’d be able to write exactly what he wanted to say. So, Kirsten and Daz met over a cup of tea, she asked Daz a few questions and recorded his answers. Then a FLACK Volunteer, Diane, transcribed the tape and turned it into this article. We showed the draft to Daz for his final approval before it went to print. If you have a story to tell or something to talk about that you would like published in FLACK don’t let worries about your writing ability get in the way. We can record a chat and start from there. Contact Kirsten on 07962 685220 or drop-in at the FLACK Base anytime on a Wednesday afternoon 1 5pm


Useful Telephone Numbers

DWP : 0845 6043719

Access Surgery : 01223 358961

FLACK (Office) : 01223 366532

Addaction (Alcohol): 01223 723020

Jimmy’s Nightshelter : 01223 576085

Addaction (Drugs) : 01223 723069

Police: 0345 456 456 4

Addenbrookes Hospital : 01223 245151

Willow Walk Hostel : 01223 519400

Cambridge Link-Up (Emma) : 07527 646045

Wintercomfort : 01223 518140

Camdoc (out-of-hours) : 01223 464242

222 Victoria Rd Hostel : 01223 352718

Centre 33 : 01223 316488

Boots Late Night Chemist: 01223 357487

Crisis Loan : 0800 1695198

any others we should include? let us know ...


FLACK # 3