Sunday, 20 October 2013

Out with the Angels: Girls Night Out

The excellent cartoons are by fellow Street Angel, Cate Field, an illustrator and art teacher. They capture the spirit of street angels, who are 'here to help people by listening, caring & offering practical help'

Friday night we had three teams out in Woking, 7 of us in all. Here are a few highlights to give you a flavour of what goes on in the Town centre, as part of what is called the Night Time Economy.   I've changed names to protect individuals...

10:15 Team 3  
Met Angel, an Irish Gypsy Traveller (ex con) who was feeling rather nostalgic  ‘everything not what is used to be’  I told him nostalgia is a thing of the past, but he didn't get it...
King the bouncer at Yates told us he had stopped a man with a rucksack full of drugs who was then arrested by the police. 

10:30 Team 1  
Young couple walking along, having drunk – he was verbally abusive to everyone he saw ‘attacked’ the ….. around the building  …  he started to get aggressive to girlfriend so we called on walkie-talkie. Police arrived immediately. Eventually they went towards the station, but vying for  a fight with anyone along the way. Went to subway & then heard girl scream – police ran to investigate….

11:30-1 Team 3 
Nice chat with Pakistani Taxi driver who said we shouldn’t give out flip-flops cos girls should bring their own. Also mentioned one girl he’d given lift to where WSA had paid fare was doing it for a laugh. She had the money…(its what you call being taken for a ride!)
Kevin was under canopy with a girl and a bloke who called him grandpa. He seemed to like the attention.  Checked he had something to eat. Said he had Chinese burger! (also saw him outside MacDonald’s later checking paper bags and he found 2 more burgers!
Drunk, scantily dressed, mouthy girl, falling about the Canopy flower beds was very abusive to female angels (her friend apologised) We walked away.

01:30 Team 2 
Attended slightly cross couple of ladies who had suffered slight cut to ankle as a result of a glass being thrown near them. Police also in attendance who said they would speak to the lady who had allegedly thrown the glass.  Wet wipes and tissues handed to lady who cut her ankle. They appreciated our help and left. We swept up the broken glass 

02:15 Team 3
Fight outside KFC a young Zulu Man and 2 older white men and younger woman.  Very racist comments being made. I asked Pakistani Taxi driver who was there who started it – he said ‘50:50 same same’  The two East European Bouncers did really well keeping them apart.  Radioed in and CCTV kept eye on it and Police came.  They talked to all concerned, took details and decided to check CCTV to decide whether to proceed. The Zulu man was picked up by his girlfriend. 

02:30 Team 3 
Opposite Yates – a girl sitting in gutter with her girlfriend. Falling about, very drunk. a young medical student & boyfriend helping. Ambulance called.  Given blanket to keep her warm and water  Ambulance crew decided she was being dramatic, acting, but taken off to St Peters anyway (at great cost!)    

03:00 Team 1 

At 01:45 Nigel was kicked out of Bed Bar and walked with us for a while. We left him outside and told bouncers he was waiting for his brother inside. At the end of the evening it turned out he’d been ‘bottled’ and taken to St Peters. His brother went to be with him at St Peters after negotiation with Taxi Driver (fare paid from Kitty).  Loads of time spent swapping SIM cards to make contact with police, brother etc  because of his phone had run out of battery

03:30 all teams
We decided to call it a day after we’d got Nigel's brother in taxi. The Woking Town Marshalls (Whiskey Tango Mike) had after all also left at that point ….. 

Paul McCartney was in concert on TV back at Council offices singing Eleanor Rigby:  ‘All the lonely people,  where do they all come from?’ Seemed rather poignant..... 

The Best quote of the evening  – one angel was told: “Oi Mate, you’re a legend……. you fought in the war didn’t you!"  (I wasn't even born then)

We decided it was a very strange atmosphere tonight (not jolly under the Station Canopy as people were leaving, as is often the case). Maybe it was because so many girls seemed particularly bitchy during their night out ….  which might be why we gave out so many lollipops to blokes (as a sort of compensation?)

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Play Time in Seoul - Happy Armed Force's Day!

I was passing by the shops in the Bukchon Hanok Village area of Seoul,  when I was grabbed by an image in a window, and discovered an exhibition  ......

Play Time-Dana Ramon Kapelian Exhibition, 1-13 Oct 2013, Jongno-gu

The visual artist, a French-Israeli photographer, who studied in San Franscisco, was present and happily signed a card with the soldier image. I commented that it was an appropriate image for Korea's Armed Forces Day. (celebrated every 1st October, to mark the 38th parrallel being taken in the Korean War)  She hadn't made the connection ....

The image made me think of the thin line between play and reality, and how even great empires play at war. The war between the North and South Korea is still being played out, under an fragile truce.  Yesterday's parade was all about a show of strength (see BBC news) another type of exhibition. But it is a more costly game, and countless lives are lost. As the old protest song goes: 'when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?' 

The exhibition is entitled PLAY TIME  and her other images are previewed here
It is currently on at Gallery Gahoedong 60, presenting the solo exhibition of the Israeli artist, Dana Ramon Kapelian.   She writes about the exhibition: 
The images are about the boundary between a child's imagination and an adults fantasies and actions. It is all in the seer's mind.Things can be interpreted as innocent or devious, playful or full of temptation.
and the text that inspired her .....
In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person
complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding
comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul.
Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.

by Angeles Arrien Ph.D.
(the author of The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Healer, Teacher and Visionary)

Singing, dancing, stories and silence... I like that.   There is something about becoming like a little child in order to enter the Kingdom of God ....

I'm staying at the Doo Guesthouse.  It's a traditional Hanok style of Guest house. Very Korean.  
I'm taking the opportunity to catch up with some blogging. (I'm surprised to discover its been nearly 3 months - I'll try to fill in some of the gaps with some retro blogging - a new word I've just made up!)  

Not quite what you would call a typical day at the office  but #someonehastodoit. It's just a part of the life on the road, wandering for the love of God