We welcome writer, larrikin and social commentator, Barry Dickins.
Barry has joined Friends of Public Housing Vic and the fight to save Public Housing.
Here is his Barry's first contribution to this Blog including his drawings.
The other afternoon I was motoring along a pleasant street that faced the old Carlton Football Ground. The terraces looked genteel and Christmas-Cake sweet, and the upper middle classes jogged, examining their blood pressure on costly gauges worn decorously around their beautiful wrists, and well-off people shook hands with expensive hyper-sensitive architects, and all the cars were BMWs or better.
Then all of a sudden I observed about fifty 'down-and-outs' trying to get out of the unexpected rain and into sleeping bags that looked comfortless. Cold they all looked, so cold.
As opposed to the discrete ruling classes exercising their egotistical prowess with no stress about what supper shall fetch to their hypersensitive taste-buds, the silent Wailing Wall of Homeless wouldn't have the foggiest what the cold snap would fetch in the middle of an atrocious August.
And I just took them into my retinas, retained them in my Agony Camera. No Red Cross vans were there to dispense hot soup or a slice of toast and no police officers, who in my opinion, should lead the charge in defense of the homeless against the unwritten crime of sleeping rough. No media covered the homeless, who should have covered them, not with paragraphs, but with blankets.
I got out of the car and sat on the railing, and watched one after the desultory other, take his or her place amongst the squashed lines of flattened cartons for pillows, and wet-through newspapers and slippery expanses of plastic and vinyl for their beds. They were so lost and hopeless, you half expected some of them to cry out, but night was falling fast and sleep loomed in its vagrant fashion.
Something in me wanted to cross the wet park and perch a while with them, as I wondered about their fate. I wanted to see for myself what they had to chew on, and sip on. The elderly amongst them looked like me in a fashion- as in 'out of fashion', and the old white-heads and care-worn ladies looked not so much defeated as plain starving. Some were sipping from bottles of water, and others sat and smoked in a calm or sort of bored-stupid way.
Although the real stupidity was the fact that right near them, there was so much unattended, unoccupied Public Housing.