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Pilot Issue 6 : February 2011


Get involved with FLACK

Homelessness Sunday

Got an idea for an article?

Concert of Words & Music

Interested in learning some new skills?

and Heroes Exhibition

Want to help with binding or distribution?

Sunday 30th January 3pm

FLACK NEEDS YOU!

Leper Chapel, Newmarket Rd

We’re at Wintercomfort every Monday from 10 – midday and at 222 every Thursday 3 – 5pm

everyone welcome

email: kirsten@flackcambridge.org.uk text Kirsten on: 07962 685220 or drop by on a Wednesday 1 – 5pm : 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.

Street Voices Toby Peters ~ Nick Ward & readings selected by FLACK

Why FLACK ? 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.

Don’t worry about not knowing how to use a computer or spelling - we can help with all that it’s your stories and ideas we need.

about the front cover Claes Oldenberg is an artist who made small things big, like a bridge which is a cherry on a spoon, or a bean bag hamburger as big as a house. So I painted a big F for February ... or maybe it was for FLACK? I don’t know it’s F for February, that’s it.

Jay Raphael


Object of the Month #6 by Josie Camus (Fitzwilliam Museum)

Larry Rivers’ Camels 1962, Oil on canvas Camels! But not just any camels…This distinctive beast is instantly recognisable as the long time logo of Camel cigarettes. (Although technically he is a dromedary, and not a camel at all, as he only has one hump!) The original logo was based on an Egyptian board game called ‘Hyena’, but the silhouette of a hyena in front of a desert was changed to a Camel. In this painting, Larry Rivers plays with the crisp Camel logo, making it fuzzy, changing the colours, repeating it over and over, to give it a hallucinatory vagueness, as if it were a mirage in the desert heat. Friends described him as the only man addicted to nicotine who didn’t smoke, as he was fascinated by cigarette packets, and did lots of paintings of them. Before becoming a painter Rivers made a living as a jazz saxophonist, and this seems to show in the way he paints. It is as if he is riffing on the theme of the Camel like an improvising musician. Camel cigarettes were the first pre-packaged cigarette in 1913. Their inventor RJ Reynolds, was told that there was no market for ready-rolled, and they would never catch on! You can find Camels in Fitzwilliam Museum’s Adeane gallery, number 12, on the first floor.

Harry Flack reports ... Photography: Homeless Harry Text: Simon Flack

The start of twenty eleven saw some showbiz news as the  seven dolls from the rock sensation Frizzet were finally caught winter holidaying together in Cambridgeshire. Rumours began to erupt after Sylvia, alter alias Miss Honey, who is only  seven and half  inches tall sprained her ankle getting off the Ely train before the rush hour commute. The bands spokesperson registered an official complaint with the National Rail Authorities over the height of the platform. The groups lead vocalist, Paulette B,  refused to comment over allegations of binge drinking as a team of journalists took pictures of the group skiing together on the river Cam in the first week of the new year. The band who are reportedly working on their latest top single "Height doesn't stop the beat" were later given the opportunity to show us their softer side by caring for animals at a local wildlife sanctuary. Another member of the band, Sugar Dee, was  further seen  during the  week showing off her glamorous new pink hair style by giving a helping hand at  Wintercomfort, a  drop-in centre for the homeless, by making cups of tea and preparing sandwiches.


FLACK Fun For February Never ask our Editor Kirsten Lavers a simple question, without fearing editorial consequences. The question I refer to was, “ Kirsten, what's your Porn Star Name?” “Pardon, what do you mean? I don't know! - how do you find out?” And so it began....... Adult movie stars, are always given a different name, and the way their “adult names” are calculated is as follows; take your first pet's name and your mother’s maiden name, combine the two, thus giving you your Porn / Party name! At FLACK we're always up for fun and games and boy did we have fun!

TOPAZ SALDJI

Sabre Love

Noodles Forbes

Valentine Roschmann


HENDRIX JOHNSON

Levi Crowley

Biscuit Dickson

Tiggy Badcock

all pics by Toby Peters - what a talent! and special thanks to: Julian Raphael, Diane Morrison, Emma Hyde, Kirsten Lavers, Daniel Lopez, Kerry Packham, Pete Naughton, Jude Evans and of course Curly! for being up- for- it!


A Dream ... by Jay Raphael It was suggested by Diane Morrison I give a brief explanation or analysis of what this dream might mean. This I am unwilling to do right now, although I expect it would make an interesting read. What I will say here (and it’s a slight cliché for us poetic types), that if I paid as close attention to my real life as I do my dreams I wouldn’t be the shambolic, quivering individual I am. So to be clear, what follows is a dream. …girl-woman outside, face changing around the eyes so as I notice she has same facial bone structure as Thom Yorke, intones “I inject children…I am DYING!” – she says she likes the starkness of Thom Yorke Radiohead’s lyrics off album DRY. Doctor Y? I say if I quit smoking I will be fitter, happier, more productive…but I am getting time sequenced back to front, this girl-woman who I suddenly fallen for winked down at me and mentioned Ethel Merman and began to sing again, she was totally self possessed and flicked flung clear water from a glass jug at the other wonderful young Cambridge students outside in the sun, another young woman came up to me, just as wonderful in aspect as the other, some conversation, then I noticed crowd of the ‘fittest’ have moved to another wooden table and at my table a group of day-tripping mongols, first one introduces himself as Trevor and then Trevor introduces his brother next to him, Nigel or something and asks me who wrote the last Monty Python Flying Circus film, I don’t know, one of my student friends shouts over wondering if I want to join them at the Gambling Table to partner Tina at shooting Craps. I say I am fine with my new friends. Indeed I was, the mongloid girl,woman beside me snuggled up talking with her head resting between my own and my chest, she needed a neck-brace, she says life is boring. I said, “but you get out you get out to places like Cambridge, the old yellow stone small jutting windows buttery orangey in the bright sun, the river the blue sky all as it was 600 years ago.” This girl-woman said muffily she had been in Cambridge her whole life and saw nothing special in it…earlier I’d been fairly convinced I was pregnant, this started off as a favour to a friend, a female friend, I will get p re g n a n t fo r yo u. N ow c r u n c h - t i m e w a s approaching I was getting very nervous. I knocked about this apartment room looking at the windows, I took a pill then regretted it, I had a pain in my belly, the baby was dead I felt, if I avoided my friend she would forget, but no a knock. “where’s my baby?” I played dumb. I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re talking about…that pill was not working thank god. My friend chased me around my apartment with a knife trying to get at the baby which was kind of her baby. I escaped as the sun came up. I was still sort of

pregnant or something. Fear had ruined my chance at mother/fatherhood. Suddenly I had to sit down. I was very tired, either I fell asleep or got confused but it seemed I had gone back in time to when Cambridge was all footmen carriages long wigs for men and buckles on shoes, Isaac Newton Cambridge, I still had stomach pain, Clair my adoptive sister turned up and tried to tell me that I was fine, I placed my hand onto my abdomen and gently depressed the muscle whereupon a ball of gas or something more substantial bulged through my fingers What is that I asked my adoptive sister. Something she laughed off. Turned out it was a trade marked jar of Vaseline, what happened was suddenly Clair grabbed it and yanked it out of me with utter determination, she’d have made an excellent surgeon I thought later; what Clair had done to the jar of Vaseline lodged in my abdomen had also caused my left knee to explode, the wound was almost bloodless revealing a fascinating mess of yellow fat, I was left staring at an immaculate University building feeling dazed, I still wanted to sleep now the baby is gone, young blonde guy I had noticed fishing earlier came out of the University carrying a wooden column(also yellow in colour), he walked past me but I pretended not to notice him although the column was about ten meters long and he was splashing through water to get to the river (more fishing) so he took about thirty seconds to actually pass me, I got the opportunity to talk with him later because he came back to me in the university gardens my knee was still exploded and I showed him the jar of Vaseline saying it had been lodged in my knee, I kept telling this account of my recent medical mishap as more and then more of his friends arrived, while this was happening it seemed Cambridge was gradually flooding, my jar of Vaseline floated away along the streets. Which was sad. My last souvenir of almost being pregnant.Then there were races but I COULD NOT JOIN IN I was too tired. Peter Cummings, an old school friend, turned up and ran even though he has asthma and he told me to lie down and rest which I did and got bitten by a huge, black dog.I ran away and ran into this girl-woman who did her Thom Yorke impersonation ...


Slice Three Going to the gallows and fresh hell by Jude Evans

A couple of months into real life and the honeymoon is over! Time to decide if this is what I really want because my old adversary is starting to put me through fresh hell. The flat is all under control bills wise. My Community Care Grant application is in its third stage, to be re-scrutinized by an independent review service. I'm standing my ground! Scrutinize this mother f***er! But, this constant anxiety makes me feel like I'm going to the gallows! I know from past experience that staying clean would be a lot harder than getting there in the first place, I feel more stressed every day. I'm walking around with an intense, unfamiliar, perhaps forgotten fear. I have to face it. An active addict is wrapped up in fear of the rattle, the cluck, the turkey ; an undetermined, indefinite period when the brain's opiate receptors and body's nervous system scream out for relief – but there is none. If you do have to tough it out, you probably won’t die but I can tell you from a lifetime of experience, you'll wish you were dead. There is a great deal of misrepresentation when it comes to people with alcohol and/or drug dependency and there is truth in the saying 'all an addict cares about is where their next hit comes from'. An addict has to be aware of how to keep chemically 'well' or face a hell even those who love them are too scared to save them from. I would even go as far as to say that an addict becomes so afraid of withdrawals, they use before sickness kicks in, just in case. Anyone who thinks withdrawals are flu-like symptoms, well, they don't know what they're talking about. The treatment for addicts who cannot pay (like me and most of my peers) is very hard to work with, no matter how genuine you are about maintaining a drug-free lifestyle. It’s important to appreciate free treatment but as far as being prescribed goes, no one trusts a drug addict with drugs, so the medications you feel you need are rarely what you get.

The Scream by Edvard Munch 1893

'Pills aren't the answer' - I've been told that my script is not a stand alone intervention yet when I need more it isn't there. Key workers and doctors have power over me When the cycle of earning a fast buck (in ways that can make you have to switch off your soul) and sticking filthy poison into your mother’s child is your reality, (which often goes on for years) you've a very blinkered view of the world. If you are lucky something will trigger a strong enough motivation to want to put an end to the self-destructive cycle. Mixed with the right circumstances and armed with meds, fueled with a passion that there can be hope. For me, fear, getting older, ill health and having a home of my own keeps me on the hard healing path. Wish me luck.


WHAT’S ON @ wintercomfort

8.30 - 10: Street Outreach

8.30 - 10: Street Outreach

8.30 - 10: Street

10 - 3.30: Weaving & Sculpture with Roger and Susanna

10 - 3.30: Weaving & Sculpture with Roger and Susanna

10.30 - 3.30: Will with Roger

10 -12: Knitting Club

10 -12 : Knitting

1 - 2: Computers with Alison

10 - 11: My Cam Alison

for the homeless

10 - 12: meet up with FLACK

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

10.30 - 1: Squeaky Gate Music

& elsewhere

2 - 5pm : FLACK Workshop Make an appointment and we’ll help you contribute to the magazine . 07962 685220

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

2 - 3: Squeaky Gate Choir

1.30 - 3.30 : Sports with Ally 2 - 3: Shaw Trust Advice (by appt) Roots ‘n Shoots: 9.45 pick-up from Wintercomfort 9.30 - 10.30 RSPCA Open Surgery, Abbey Pool Carpark 12 - 1 Football Kelsey Kerridge

sunday

monday

30Jan

31Jan

Homelessness Sunday Concert

Food Hygiene Course @ Wintercomfort

11 - 2 : Film Club

1 - 2: Maths with

11 - 5 : Reworks

Cyrenians Ceram pick-up from Wi

1 - 5 : FLACK Dr

tuesday

wedne

1

2

Cupca @

Leper Chapel, Newmarket Rd 3pm FREE

CENTRE CLOSED FROM 10.30

Badminton& Tennis leaving Wintercomfort at 11.30

3pm : Cambridg Meeting @ 222 S

6

7

8

9

Table Tennis @Wintercomfort at 1.30

Live Jazz, from 8.30 Cricketers Melbourne Place FREE

13 Mischief Exhibition Kettles Yard Gallery, Castle Hill 11.30 - 17:00

20 27

Making Mental Notes Cambridge 105FM 15:00 - 16:00

Improv Poetry Midday - 1 : FREE Kettle’s Yard, Castle Hill

Cupcake Class 1 @wintercomfort A @

14

15

16

8 - 9 Medical Advice Drop In @ wintercomfort

5-a-side at Kelsey Kerridge leaving Wintercomfort at 11.30

Cupcake Class 1 @wintercomfort

21

22

23

28 8 - 9 Medical Advice Drop In @ wintercomfort

8.30 - 12: St John’s Footcare @ Wintercomfort Swimming leaving Wintercomfort at 11.30

Cupcake Class 1 @wintercomfort A @

FLACK CA


Outreach

low Weaving

g Club

mbridge with

9 - 10: Mental Health Drop-In with Laurence

8.30 - 10: Street Outreach

8.30 - 10 Showers, laundry and clothing store

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

Roots ‘n Shoots: 9.45 pick-up from Wintercomfort

Cyrenian’s Women’s Pottery : 10am - midday

11 - 5 : Reworks Bike WkShop

9.30 - 10.30 RSPCA Open Surgery, Abbey Pool Car Park

12.30 : Women’s Group @ 222

9.30 - 10.30 RSPCA Open Surgery, Abbey Pool Car Park

10.30 - 2.30: Meet up with Cambridge Link-Up

b

h Alison

s Bike WkShop

mics: 9.45 & 1.45 intercomfort

rop-In

3 - 5 : FLACK @ 222

esday

ake Class 2 - 3.30 @wintercomfort

ge Link-Up Self Build

12 - 2 t Art Group 12 - 3 @ wintercomfort

12 - 2 t

12 - 2 t Art Group 12 - 3 @ wintercomfort

& every day..

9 - 11: Alcohol Drop-In with Malcolm

10.30 - 3.30: Willow Weaving with Roger

9.30 -12 Homeless Joinery @Woodworks

thursday

friday

saturday

3

4

11 - 12 : Carpet Bowls 12 - 1: Yoga BOTH FREE Salvation Army Hall (Mill Rd)

7-8pm: Football Chesterton Sports Centre

10

11

12

11 - 12 : Carpet Bowls 12 - 1: Yoga BOTH FREE Salvation Army Hall (Mill Rd)

7-8pm: Football Chesterton Sports Centre

11 - 5 : Reworks Bike WkShop

17

18

19

11 - 12 : Carpet Bowls 12 - 1: Yoga BOTH FREE Salvation Army Hall (Mill Rd)

7-8pm: Football Chesterton Sports Centre

24

25

26

11 - 12 : Carpet Bowls 12 - 1: Yoga BOTH FREE Salvation Army Hall (Mill Rd)

7-8pm: Football Chesterton Sports Centre

11 - 5 : Reworks Bike WkShop

Street Voices 10.30 - 12.30 Akeman Street

Street Voices 10.30 - 12.30 Akeman Street

Street Voices 10.30 - 12.30 Akeman Street

Street Voices 10.30 - 12.30 Akeman Street

5

11 - 5 : Reworks Bike WkShop

FLACK Flicks

Film Club at FLACK Base 8pm

11 - 5 : Reworks Bike WkShop

FLACK Flicks

Film Club at FLACK Base 8pm

ALENDAR ~ February 2011


Let me live! Homeless Harry makes a special plea for a Cambridge Oak Tree

It’s not fair. I have feelings too you know. Here I am by the river. A good spot to plant oneself. A spot where I can watch the world go by, and may I add, the world as it goes by, pays more than a little attention to me. I may be small but I get noticed, perhaps it is because I am small that I get noticed. But I think the real reason is because I am in prison. May I hasten to explain that I have not always been a jailbird. I was a free tree once upon a time, but then the councilmen came along and built me a little wooden prison. I have plenty of witnesses who will testify to my good character. The lovely people who walk the river footpath, some of them walking their dogs, will tell you I never complain when they make a convenience of me. The little ones in pushchairs are always pointing at me. I am more their size, I am on a scale they can deal with. May I call upon another group, those who live on the boats on the river. For them I am part of their neighbourhood. Part and parcel of their day, I am

interwoven into the tapestry that is the rich fabric of their lives. The men from the council have been back recently with a declaration of my death sentence. Being in prison was not enough for them. I have to die. And I am not the only one; between ourselves we’re calling it “Death Row” around here. My crime of course was that I didn’t grow up properly. That’s what the council has decided. Yes, yes I hear you cry, that’s what they all say, they all blame their incarceration on their childhood and their misspent youth. But that’s no excuse for growing up dysfunctional. Then a bunch of hippies came along and hugged me and that’s not all; they decorated me and dressed me up like a Christmas

tree and put posters and poems all around me. Now at first I don’t mind admitting to you, I was not very pleased. I mean to say, I am an Oak Tree. It’s not that I have anything against foreigners; in fact some of my best friends are Fir Trees. But I am an Oak Tree and I do not think that being covered with ‘bling’ is a dignified way for an Oak Tree to appear in public. However I have relented, after all people now come from far and wide to see me and I make them smile, particularly the children. I admit my crime, I am not the straightest of Oak trees. But now, I am a reformed character, I promise I will grow straight and be upright and upstanding. I am the only Cambridge Christmas Oak tree.

So before special branch leaves me stumped. Wood you root for me and make them leaf me be? Twig on that I ain’t no sap and my bark is worse than my bite. I trunk you.


FLACK Food

Homeless Joinery

Shortbread

Daniel Lopez

175g Plain Flour/plus 1tbsp for dusting 55g Caster Sugar 115g Butter/plus extra for greasing 2 tsp Golden caster sugar Pinch of salt Method: Mix the flour, salt, caster sugar together. Then rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Make sure the butter is well rubbed in with the dry stuff, until it forms a soft dough. Grease a tin with some of the extra butter, then lightly press the dough into the tin. Or roll out the dough on a floured worktop and place on a baking sheet, pinch the edges into form a scalloped pattern. Once placed in the tin, use a knife to cut into portions you’re happy with. Then prick with a fork all over the dough. Bake in the oven about 150c/Gas 4 for 45 to 50 mins until the shortbread is firm and just coloured. Cool in the tin and dredge with the golden caster sugar. Cut again where you cut before, then remove and put on a wire rack. Store in a air tight container in a cool place until needed. Chef On The Move - Daniel Lopez

Ready Steady Ping

Eggy Muffin Break two eggs into a dish and whisk with fork. Add two dessert spoons of sweet corn and half a chopped tomato. 1-2 tablespoons of tinned black eye beans. Season to taste and whack into the microwave for 3mins on full power Serve hot on buttered muffins or toasted bread.   Bon Appetit! Simon Flack

The Homeless Joinery Group meets every Friday morning at Woodworks in Occupation Rd. (marked on map at the back of FLACK) Years ago Paul Waldmann said to himself he’d like to work with his hands so at the age of 24 he became a carpenter. He had the idea to start Homeless Joinery last year and it’s been going since July. The group is based at Woodworks, a local waste timber recycling service and luckily a charity have been helping out with equipment. Paul is also involved with the London based charity Kid’s Company which helps youth offenders and children. Since the Homeless Joinery workshops started, Paul has helped clients to build bird houses, tables and candle holders. They share a market stall with Cambridge Cyrenians on Sundays, and sold some of their woodwork at the Mill Road Christmas fair at the end of last year. Volunteers are welcome to the workshop - if you have an idea of something you’d like to make for yourself or the stall, please pop by and get stuck in. Carpentry is a dying trade so it’s really good Paul is doing these workshops to help homeless people learn new skills and be creative. Homeless Joinery Need a Volunteer Carpenter! If you’re stuck at home with nothing to do and you have some experience in carpentry, Paul is looking for someone to help him in the workshop. It would include showing people how to use the tools in a safe way and building some great woodwork.


FLACK CROSSWORD # 6 FLACK JOKE thanks Anne! Three engineers in the pub discuss God’s profession ... Electrical engineer: “It’s obvious God is an electrical engineer. Just look at the human body. The nervous system is just a wiring circuit working on electrical impulses from the brain.”

Across compiled by CERSOBLEPTIK 1. Cannes Festival (4) 2. Trendy togs in a song by Bowie (7) 3. Football Association (2) 4. Quentin beat it to a pulp (7) 5. The Furry _____ Brothers (5) 6. Tiny tooth merchant (5) 7. Uno little motor (4) 8. Blushing pink bird with lovely long legs (8) 9. Concentrated gaze (5) Down 1. Nowt as queer as (4) 2. More than a magazine (5) 3. Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (3) 4. Every four years you leap the day this month gives away (8) 5. A drink that goes pop (5) 6. Fruity laxative swear word (3) 7. Young Oxford 5 piece band. Album 'Total Life Forever' (5) 8. Pigs (5) 9. Spider's Snack on your zipper (3) 10. It covers the River Tyne and it's not yours cos it's all mine (3)

Mechanical engineer: “No no It’s obvious God is a mechanical engineer. Just look at the human skeleton, bones and joints held in place by the muscles.” Civil engineer: “No you’re both wrong. It’s obvious God is a civil engineer. Who else would put a waste pipe in a recreational area.”


Street Voices : Akeman Street CD Reviewed by Homeless Harry Almost a live album. An authentic sound achieved by Peter Cook’s use of basic recording equipment. The phrase “sum of the parts” springs to mind. The songs are at once diverse and divergent. Their website calls them a band, yet this album successfully showcases their talents individually and collectively. On first listening I was intrigued, it seemed a juxtaposing of styles too diverse to sit happily on one album. But listen again, there is a thread running through this – I am tempted to say compilation. Track 1: Nick Dominguez’ “Hills Rd Blues”. Now I must declare my colours, I am a blues fan and this is a good solid blues number, don’t overlook Gene Thunderbolt’s guitar playing. It is truly special. Track 2: Lee J. Thomas’ “Up in the Sky.” A softer folk song reminiscent of the early sixties folk revival. Track 3: back to Nick Dominique “Black Hat Blues.” On the money blues and again that guitar. A change of pace. Cate Williams “The Past.” A hauntingly beautiful bluesy ballad. Just exquisite. I love her voice. You just have to listen to this track. Enough said. To give the listener a chance to recover, Gene Thunderbolt relinquishes his guitar to give us a delightful piece of performance poetry. “Feline Ditty.” Another change of pace Emmanuel Emenalon’s “Friendly Advice to a Friend”, defies a ready label: A poem? A rap? Or an old style Ska song to himself. With simple but evocative musical backing. It is innovative. Very. Another innovative piece “Phrasal Verb Rap”, a kind of bluesy poem. Risk taking, but worth it, with Gene Thunderbolt again hanging up his guitar. Back to Lee J. Thomas “Regrets” another melodic folk song, and he’s good at this, I’m back in the sixties again. And then onto another song reminiscent of the sixties, Emmanuel Emeralon’s “My Song For The Women” He’s trying to produce an anthem, a protest that’s gentle and powerful. This guy’s pushing the envelope and why not.

Does this one hit its mark? I’m not sure so I asked some women. They think it does. “Be Like All The Rest.” Another Cate Williams song. Any hyperbole is going to be inadequate. I don’t care who you if you bought this album for Cate’s 2 songs alone, it would be money well spent. And that is no disrespect to all the other musicians, singers and songwriters on this very worthwhile album. And then another gem. Nick Dominguez’ “Leslisa (The Riverside Song)” A lovely folksier blues song. The kind of number you just fall into and let it carry you away. All I can say Nick, is keep them coming. We then have a secret track; “Frankie’s Song” an authentic pub singer’s folk song written by Frankie Divers and delivered in his own inimitable way. He truly captures the spirit of this wail of a song given life by the singers unique personality. It earns its place here. It would be a sin to throw away an historic document. Power to your elbow Frankie. My opinion of this CD? Buy it. I recommend it to you. As a combo, and I use the word advisedly, they do go off at tangents, but interesting tangents. In amongst this catalogue of self-penned songs there is talent that out punches its weight. I liked it. Street Voices’ Akeman Street CD is available to purchase from Millers Music Centre. www.myspace.com/streetvoicescambridge


Remembered Friends - Paul Longhurst

I got close to Paul when I worked at 222. Paul was an Ayrshire man and would love to reminisce about 'auld Scotland' and the colourful characters he knew. He grew up in the tiny village Corrie in Arran with his mother. He never met his Father. I think he left Arran as a teenager and it really saddened him that he never returned. He loved speaking about the old days, mostly about drink! He told me about the wild drinking whiskey soaked hermits who lived in the surrounding hills, that he befriended as a boy. 'Ah'm gon for an all-day sesh ma. If am no back before Tuesday put the buckets oot !'. Maybe it was with these men of the mountains he felt most akin? One story was of the infamous Bute Bar – renamed 'the deid body bar, not due to it's roughness, but because every one was mashed before lunch and there were bodies lying everywhere. The gay barman would disappear onto Swedish ships and come back proclaiming 'Ma pockets are jinglin' and ma arse is tinglin!'. Paul in Cambridge was something else, as we all know. He often saw himself as a rebel raging against authority. A night would not go by without incident. Police, ambulances and firemen were a regular occurrence at 'the two's' when Paul was there. A walking breathing Dylan Thomas poem, he was a one-man riot. He would not yield! Once, when he was waiting to get sentenced for some daft oense he came back into court in dress. He said the judge

couldn't pass sentence for laughing. He certainly breathed life back into the word character and gave convention a well-needed shot in the arse! At the same time this big wild hairy man when sober was a pure gentleman, impressing everyone with his articulation and intelligence. His letters from prison were beautifully written, full of insight and spirit. He knew the system well and his views had a strong humanitarian feel. I bumped into him not long before he went into hospital and he said he was tired and had reached his end. He had just been thrown out of Willow Walk and the prospect of wandering around another winter in the freezing cold was daunting. He was as gloomy as I'd ever seen him. Then, out the blue the head was up and he shouted with a smile 'The Windy Ha' in tribute to a dive bar in Saltcolts and burst out laughing. The fire still in him, stories flowing again, Paul could still have a laugh even in the worst circumstances. Deep down Paul was a sensitive intelligent and engaging man with a very big heart and too much emotion to hold onto. Wherever he is now, heaven or hell, I'll guarantee he'll already be on a twenty-eight day eviction notice! The man deserves a horse and cart procession through Cambridge with tartan-clad drummers, we are unlikely to see the likes of him ever again. I will miss him. 'Lang may yer lum reek!'

Jamie Perritt


Paul Longhurst was a very special friend who would always help you with a pound or two to get another beer or bottle to get us through. Sometimes the pair of us had to beg for money to get another drink. The doctors would not help Paul due to the fact like me he had chronic alcoholism to cope with after serving in the military service, it is a drinking culture in the military. When he came out he was left on the streets with no home and nowhere to go. All it did was make his alcoholism worse. We have sat on benches and in the parks drinking to find a solution to it! We both agreed the problem is that alcohol is everywhere and the government makes money out of it. Alcoholism is a physical addiction and for some people male or female there is no help for it apart from to go out and get another drink. The problem with alcohol is that it’s legal but it is poison to blokes like myself and Paul - NO HELP!! Just carry on drinking and eventually you will die. Paul had the same difficulties as me. It’s not funny I wake up at night sweating and shaking. The only way to try to stop it is to have another drink . I will never forget him, I hope you feel better now, like me as they quote “life’s a bi**ch” and living on the streets is hard and they wonder why. Rest In Peace, I guess in some ways it is better up there for some people. Michael James Dwyer I met Paul for the first time in 2004. By then Paul had gone a long way from the kid who'd grown up in a council house next to the sea on the Isle of Arran, whose shyness made it hard for him to deal with people, and who one day – he must have been thirteen – had his first drink and was blown away by the magic of the effect. He'd gone from a shy young boy, to the tall red-bearded figure that would sway along the roads of Arran looking pretty fearsome to local kids, to the 40-something red-and-greybearded figure that left Arran on the night his mother passed away because he couldn't bear the memories, to wend his way through Scotland and then down to the south. When I met him, one night when I was volunteering at Jimmy's, his face was fiery-red from drinking and he could hardly stand up straight; but it took little to see the spirit and gentleness he had about him. We hit it off immediately. Over the next few years, his shock of flyaway grey hair became something to look for on the streets of Cambridge where he would often be standing selling the Big Issue or

sitting on his own in the park. Arran by then was more than ten years behind him, but in many ways it was still with him. He would tell me about wandering through the mountains, about the weeks he'd spend camping on the mountains and fishing for whelks which he'd then sell on, about swimming huge distances in cold weather (he'd once escaped the police by jumping into the water and swimming out into the open), he'd tell the story of the lone flamingo – imagine! – that appeared one day on the south of Arran. There'd also be funnier stories, like the day – this time in |Edinburgh – when his housemates gave him money to buy potatoes and he came back with a cactus because, he said, “it had spoken to him.” The love of nature he had absorbed in Arran was also still with him. Sitting by the river, he would talk to me about his interest in sharks, about the latest David Attenborough book he'd read. Then he'd get into stranger stories he picked up about Africa (there's actually places there where women have beards for Pete's sake!), he'd talk about about Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time and he would repeat his conviction that it couldn't all have come from nothing. I loved these conversations; but what made them special was Paul's distinctive warmth, sensitivity and spirit. These – as well as his self-awareness, and, strange though it sounds to say, his humility – were some the things I loved in him most. What pained me most was the selfawareness he had about his drinking trouble. He was, without doubt, one of the most remarkable people I met while in Cambridge, and I'm grateful for that. I will miss him. Sophia Vasalou

John Cook John Cook passed away in hospital shortly before Christmas. Becky was by his side. All of us at FLACK send our condolences to you. When you’re ready we’ll help you pay proper tribute to John in FLACK.


Useful Telephone Numbers

DWP : 0845 6043719

Access Surgery : 01223 358961

FLACK (Office) : 01223 366532

Addaction (Alcohol): 01223 723069

Jimmy’s Nightshelter : 01223 576085

Addaction (Drugs) : 01223 723020

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?

FLACK # 6  

FLACK involves homeless people in all aspects of its production. We are currently at pilot stage and aim to launch on public sale in June 20...

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