Friday, 28 December 2018

Reflecting on 2018....

It's New Years Eve 2018 and I've been writing this post for the past week, cross referencing diary entries, social media and photographs.

As a regular reader you'll know I always attempt to achieve one major thing every month as the year progresses.

Last year, 2017, included my first professional acting role in the Camden Fringe, singing at the Royal Albert Hall Proms as part of the Choir With No Name, winning the Game of Thrones Marathon in the Prince Charles Cinema,  Leicester Square, watching Australian Pop Idol, Natalie Gauci, signing a song I wrote at TedX London.

But the end of the year resulted in my having one of the worst ME/CFS Crashes in quite a while. 
Thankfully one of my amazing cast members in the play (who barely knew me) took me in for three months from December to March .

SO this year started on it's knees.

But going back through my Diary, whilst I didn't have a ton of accomplishments it was definitely a year that was meant to lead somewhere.

January 2018

My year began being entirely bed-bound and literally on my knees. Fortuitously Mim Elkan who I'd preformed with in the Camden Fringe and befriended gave me the most generous gift by looking after me, having taken me in on 1st December 2017.

Everyday was a massive struggle and I didn't want to continue living,

On one of my first attempts of leaving bed later in the month, I managed to get out for my first ever visit to the Phoenix Cinema (so pleased Londoner's managed to save that amazing place from being homogonised into a chain) to watch Meryl Streep & Tom Hanks in the rather excellent The Postman.

Even though could barely speak most of the time, Solicitor Sara Lomri from the Public Law Project came out to the flat to visit me in bed so I could continue my Judicial Review against the DWP in respect to their failure to communicate to disabled claimants by email when requested.

Managed to see the fabulous Bryan Cranston in the National Theatre's production of Network.  Never have I felt more akin to a character other than in Kafka's, The Trial.

February 2018

Win yet another appeal against the DWP to reinstate my Disability payments, made in relation to my ME/CFS and the reason I was trapped in bed.

Ruby Tandoh gifted me her book Eat Up by post, after I commented on her Twitter post about it's publication. This created the first sparks of hope that Human kindness in the UK could be rekindled and granted me with Mim's kindness the power to continue.

My first proper visit out of the house is thanks to friend & performance artist Amy Elizabeth-Kingsmill and an invitation to the LGBQT party at the Wallace Collection. Find myself in an intimate audience of around thirty watching Marc Almond (he of Soft Cell fame) perform his greatest hits acoustically in one of the sumptuous rooms.

Thanks to friend & BUFF Founder Emmanuel get to see the first press screening of Black Panther a day before the UK premiere in my role as a film critic for Colourful Radio's Meet The Critics.

Thanks to friend Yasmin Omotosho I had my first lunch in the Inns of Court (she's now a qualified barrister) even though I've visited lots of times for Carole Stone's Christmas Party this was the first time I'd ever eaten in the venue Shakespeare first performed Twelfth Night.

My first play in the newly opened Bridge Theatre by Tower Bridge, was the fabulous Julius Caesar. Ill health prevented me from being involved but pleased to have caught the second play there.

Introduce my MP Mark Field into the fight against the DWP (turns out to be totally useless).

Finally (after nearly a year) persuade Metropolitan Police to investigate the theft of my son's Trust Fund by one of the Trustees,

March 2018

Find myself having drinks with Alan Yentob following a screening of Being Blacker at the BFI.

My first (and only, I'm old school and prefer to meet people in real life) internet date perpetrated through Bumble.

Fiftieth Birthday Party - still struggling to recover from ME/CFS so can barely write an email in between excursions but manage to organise a party at one of my and my son's favourite restaurants Inamo on Wardour Street. 

End up partying with Stephen Frears, Stormzy & Nick Nolte after a Sochi Film Festival event.  Ironically Frears was there too take an award. Stormzy just happened to have booked a room next door and Nick Notle was staying in the Soho Hotel where the event was being held and just invited himself.

Feeling recovered enough to return to living to the street (sadly lost contact with Mim after my departure but will be eternally grateful to her for the rest of my life for incredible generosity allowing to me to stay with her and thus survive).

Testing film idea for "How to be a proper Londoner?"  at the Widow's Son Easter ritual of putting a bun in the net.

Stay at former Daily Mail editor's Paul Dacre's Highland retreat again (thanks to friend's who rent it every year for the Easter Break) but too ill to enjoy it and spend most of time in bed there.

April 2018

Reconnect with a dear Syrian friend Areej Zayat who is over in the UK presenting the BBC Arabic Film Festival and working with another Syrian friend based in London Reem Khabazy.

Interviewed and Photographed by Buzzfeed on my views on the influence of the black vote in the UK with the upcoming elections. Suggested they speak to my nemesis from OBV which they did, who ironically did make the cut in the article whilst I didn't.

Celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Phoenix Artist's Club with their founders a favourite institution for actors and artists in the West End. Reconnected with friend Hattie Hayridge (played Holly in Red Dwarf).

May 2018
An invitation from Alex Werner (Head of the New Museum of London) to the opening of London Nights in the Museum of London allows me to view Amy Elizabeth-Kingsmill (friend & performance) photographs as she has one of herself in the exhibition.

Began living in the back-seat of a friend's Mercedes Car in Richmond.

Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Old Vic with a celebratory performance, birthday cake, Pies & mash and loads of wine.  Took a punt and just turned up. First in return queue and managed to get a £120.00 for £35 (which wouldn't have covered the cost of the wine I drank).

Campaigning with Millions Missing, set up by Jennifer Brea of film Unrest fame, a worldwide organisation of ME/CFS sufferers like myself., protesting to raise awareness of the issues of not being properly recognised or researched.  Interviewed for another documentary on the subject. Talked to ITN.

Celebrating the Royal Academy's 250th Anniversary in the new wing.

Celebrating London History Day with my first ever visit to Royal Astronomical Society

June 2018
Meeting with Photographer Matt Crossick (we met at the Widow's Son) sharing ideas around London Events. He doing it Photographically me doing it filmicly.

Have the Louis Vuitton Bag and Toiletry bag that have been with me for twenty years (with all my clothes in) stolen off me whilst asleep on a bus as I was completely exhausted and disorientated from my ME/CFS and sleeping on Public Transport having lost the key for my friends car,.

Become embroiled with the Australian Actor Geoffrey Rush's #MeToo debacle when I spot him in the newly opened Serpentine Gallery and take a photo and Tweet. His opposition lawyers get in touch asking me for a statement, as it would appear nobody knew he'd left Australia.

The fantastic Down and Out Live in the Stone Nest (Charing Cross Road) walked to sit under the balcony. So didn't realise people like Jack Monroe, Simon Callow etc. who were doing readings, were actually doing it live above me. Involved with the Q&A met Guardian Journalist Patrick

Slept on a Hyde Park Bench for the first time in my life.  This was the first time I'd slept under the stars in London.

Pitched my biography to queen of Networking & friend to Carole Stone, she sent it onto a publisher friend.

Jordan B Peterson publishers gift me his book 12 Rules for Life having spotted that I'd taken pictures of all 12 adverts on the underground.

Whitechapel Gallery - Fusions of  as I'd volunteered to be a member of the ArtNight team.

Offered to be in documentary about one of my favourite shops in London, Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium and met directors.

Visit to see my son in Bristol for the first time since he's moved there.

July 2018

Host at Art Night outside the Royal Festival Hall lovely group of students from Goldsmith, UCL and Kings with me. Brilliant London night of volunteering and helping others for no money, with free art all up the Southbank,

Attend Paul Simon's final concert in Britain in Hyde Park as a VIP. Bob Geldoff and his daughter is there too.

Lived on Narrow Boat on Regents Canal for 2 weeks thanks to friend Romany Blythe needing a boat sitter.

Help guardian journalist Dr. Frances Ryan with the book she's writing on the failings of the Welfare state in the UK by contributing my own story.

Attend the Magic Circle for the first time in my life and discover former boss, dear friend and Magic Circle Member Nick Fitzherbert had died.

Reconnect with the great Sam Bompass (we met at Square Meal Event Live) at his newly opened Museum of Ice Cream.

August 2018
Accepted onto the Museum of Homelessness Catalyst programme. An idea to encourage people who are either homeless or were homeless to come up with campaigning projects that the course would

See of Emmerson, Lake & Palmer in (probably a last performance but not advertised as such) perform in Under The Bridge venue in

Reconnect with Rachel Fanshawe who I met in Warsaw in 2011 as part of a Film Project capturing the Human Rights Film Festival there. She became my presenter. Moved to Australia and this is one of the first time she's returned to London.

Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Circus near the spot where it all started on the Southbank which was also friend Savina Sedghi 30th Birthday who came to celebrate with me.

Meet the amazingly creative & hopeful team the Digital Creative who are displaying at the BFI.

Collapse on pavement due to my ME/CFS nearby and stay there sleeping on the pavement until dawn. Again, another lifetime first.

Celebrate Smithfield Market 150th Anniversary with Sam Bompass's Cake

Reconnect with a friend from Nantes in France, at St. Pancras Station's Champagne Bar who I'd performed with in the Notting Hill Carnival with Nostalgia the oldest steel drum band in Britain. 

September 2018

Singer at the Barbican

Performance Artist and friend Amy Elizabeth Kingsmill returns to Soho after a devastating event that took place to her there a year earlier. It was a fabulous moment.

Museum of Homelessness Catalyst Programme begins, every Thursday & Friday for the whole of the month, get to meet heroes artist David Tovey, Journalist Steve Topple who I'd become friends with online and who ironically had connected with another friend Anne Sebba (and my first ever book launch) and came to discus

Rediscover Coffee, Cake and Kink under it's new branding and location Coffee, Cake and Kisses.

Streetsfest - Streets Festival's first homeless festival in Finsbury Park - I go to get my teeth seen too (there'e a dentist on site - unfortunately they don't have the facilities to treat - referred but as is most homeless people's experience nothing happens - see December).

Attend Creative Europe Connect in Barbican.  Amazing positive experience around Brexit.  Everyone there, artists, film-makers, theatre, all say the same thing. We're all working together better, we're looking outwards not inwards (productions in India, China, Asia etc.), DCMS is going to ensure any finance offered by the EU will be matched

Friend Mar Dixon's fabulous Drinks Thing at Twitter HQ in London.  Learn they've only just made money for the first time this year and that they are no longer a Social Media channel but a News Delivery one.

Reconnect with the one person in my life who has always kept my faith in Human Nature. Ex-Girlfriend Naomi Kenton who is retiring from her Nursing Career and in London to celebrate as she resides in Cardiff and continues to live in the house we bought together that I signed over to her when I left. The most generous and caring human being I've ever met in my life.

My friend Logan Sparks opens his Feature Film in London with a Curzon Cinema Q&A the perfect swanswong for his friend Harry Dean Stanton in a film that explores the end of life, "Lucky"

Meet the Menswear buyer of Selfridges at the Screening of at Cine Lumiere

Discover the Espon Pop-up and meet a VR specialist at the table (ionic as applied for Google 360 VR programme earlier in the year that I failed to be selected for)

Attend the fabulous German Film Festival in the Regent Street Cinema with friend & journalist Tim Baros.

Open night of Skethcing at Wilton's Music Hall meet James Graham in person for the first time.

Become part of the advisory group for developing the new Museum of London. Discovered the room was full of real Londoners and meet the female Chief Executive of City Read London (now friend) Andy Ryan.

October 2018

Become a mystery shopper for Five Star Hotels and Michellin Starred Restaurants.

Meeting UAL Creative Digital

A personal VIP Guided tour of the new galleries in the Greenwich National Maritime Museum y friend Sacha Coward.

Met Andy at EON Recharge Retreat.

Meet the makers of The Hate U Give writer and at Rich Mix as part of S.O.U.L London Film Festival Event.

Connect with Founder of Sh! meet Suzanne Noble friend who is a Cinema Case builder and designer.

Invited by Adria Wu to her fabulous Maple outlet in Bloomsbury. To discuss future of healthy food.

Attend the brilliant Cross Bones Graveyard Halloween event and interviewed by ITN about the experience.

November 2018

Collaborate with LovePopUps and attend Archery Fit for a fabulous Archery Lesson (hadn't done Archery since being a Scout 30+ years ago).

Working with campaigning artist David Tovey on his personal journey into homelessness performance Man On Bench Fairytale in Manchester.

Began writing my play with the encouragement of playwright James Graham (and friends actress Karina Cornell & theatre producer Savina Sedghi) Fifty Years of Trying...

Enio Morricone's last ever Concert in the O2 Greenwich, as a ninety year old, it was amazing to watch. One of my favourite composers with Michael Nyman (whom I had the chance of working with earlier in the year when he agreed to be in the 360VR film we were pitching to YouTube but who turned us down. Morricone being introduced to me when I was about eight through The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and I owned the sountrack to the Mission being moved by that in ways I didn't think possible when I was 19.

December 2018

Interviewed as a Trustee for Patchwork Foundation an organisation that assists young people from underpriviliged & minority backgrounds into politics.

Filmed as a subject for the Crowdfunding Video for Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium to assist with promoting their sex educational programme for women throughout the UK.

Rekindle my Insanely Late Summer Party.

Having spent last December in bed so pleased to rekindle most of my London Christmas Traditions. Harvey Nichols Christmas Eve, Walking in a Royal Park on Boxing Day (mine was 29th December 2019 as in St, Albans

The best event of the year (other than seeing my son), am appointed a Fellow of the RSA. So end the year being able to call myself  Paul Atherton FRSA.

Happy New Year for 2019.

Jordan B Peterson - Free Book
Pitch Sketching (what month did I actually Pitch).
Geoffrey Rush in Serpentine Gallery - MeToo
Frances Ryan - Assisting with her book about disability and the welfare system. 

Monday, 5 November 2018

Somethings never change....

It's hard to believe it's November 2018 and I'm still running around in the same circles.

In the past 5 days, I have, yet again, been let down by legal counsel. 

Sara Lomri of the Public Law Project was supposed to be supporting me in a battle against the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) in a Judicial Review in respect to getting the department to comply with their own legal requirements of corresponding to me via an effective email channel due to my disability of ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) which they'd point blank refused to do.

To a lay person this was a slam dunk case, but for some reason whenever it gets into the hands of poor lawyers, something straight forward becomes inordinately complicated and last week, she with my(?) barrister had a negotiation, that resulted in me losing everything, seemingly even my trial date.

It's hard to explain to sound thinking people the ludicrous nature of this current predicament, not least because, of every single person I've discussed it with (and that amounts to well over a hundred) they all do that annoying thing of applying logic to the situation and agreeing with me.

But here is the best explanation I've been able to give anyone below.  The nature of my current health, means I'm being looked after by friends in St. Albans, unable to write or concentrate

One of my difficulties in getting someone else to look at the case has been trying to be succinct in what this case has been about, having been dragged around the houses for 2 years.

Put simply, it was that the DWP emphatically said they wouldn't communicate with me by email even though they had overwhelming evidence of both my disability and my homeless circumstances. Much coverage of this issue had been made in the press about other disabled people suffering the same indignities of not being allowed email communications. I therefore contacted John Pring, editor of the Disability News Service, following on from one of his articles on the subject, to see if some form of class action would be raised as I would like to give evidence as part of it. He transferred me on to an organisation handling the case through Svetlana at Inclusion London and they finally passed me on to the Public Law Project (PLP), where I became a lone-case, albeit with first EU funding then subsequently Legal Aid.

PLP were however able to discover that this DWP email behaviour was systemic and widespread, with only 32 people, myself allegedly now included, in the entire of the United Kingdom granted permission to correspond with the department by electronic email communications as an Alternative Format on the grounds of disability.

As everyone knows, I worked for what was then the DHSS in the 1980's and what later became the DWP and have an IT Background having worked on the some of the most influential technological advancement launches in history, including the world's first online banking (Pegasus Software/Barclays Bank) and the world's first internet streaming video (Iterated System), so I come at this with a much wider understanding than most.

I had had for years though, been communicating directly with named contacts in the DWP for both Disability Living Allowance & Incapacity Benefit via email immensely satisfactorily, with responses generally coming within hours at most a day, problems resolved in an instant and effectively and found genuine compassion.  This of course became a problem when those benefits were phased out and replaced by ESA & PIP which are altogether different propositions that I've yet to transfer too but that are run entirely online and is of course, where these problems all stemmed.

This previous email behaviour by the DWP is in utter stark contrast with the current alleged email communications I am having, where responses are generally taking a month and then usually simply to obfuscate.

My benefits have repeatedly been incorrectly stopped.  I am yet again having to take the DWP to appeal court to get my DLA (and conceivably my Incapacity Benefit, as nobody has a clue as to what is happening with that benefit, as the dedicated Alternative Format Team in the the DWP only address communications with my DLA for some inexplicable reason) for failing to get to a medical because of the very condition they are attempting to assess. This will be the 5th time in 5 years that I've proved the DWP to be wrong yet each time going a year or more without any funds from them at all.

The DWP have been proven in lies time and time again but for some reason, that doesn't come into this

Nor indeed the impact of not being able to communicate with the department which they've used to their advantage to consistently stop benefits.

So as it stands, as I understand it, the DWP have just used court proceedings as a way of torturing me for 2 years, whilst lawyers on both sides have profited.

There were only two things I wanted out of proceedings, the first, that the DWP would never, ever be able to do this to anyone else again, and therefore garner a change of law to ensure that, or, failing that, a substantive cash payment that would mean I would never have to have any dealings with the DWP ever again.

I can live on £15,000 per year (I currently survive on £5,000 a year without housing), I'll probably not make it to my 60th Birthday (homeless people tend to live to around 48 years old, so I'm already beating the odds by 2 years; as everyone knows 6 homeless people have already died due to the changes in temperature in the past 2 weeks), but let's say I make it to 70, so to be safe, a settlement figure of around £300,000 (20 years x £15,000) would be the only acceptable amount.  I've been informed that because lawyers have not been very good in these proceedings in the past and judges are biased towards the state, this would be an impossibility.   

So as things stand, I've been starved, forced to live on the street, bullied, vilified belittled, had my family dispossessed, unable to help my son with his suicidal tendencies or mental health because of the DWP and even though there's overwhelming evidence that they have done all this through deception, lying and obfuscation they are going to get away scot free.

Having not instigated a proper email system to communicate with claimants out of their impoverished £3/4 Billion annual budget for DWP Digital, having no law changed to protect claimants from this abuse happening in the future or compensated realistically for the damage and hardships they've cause to me mentally, physically, emotionally and to my family.

So my position stands as it did from the beginning as you go into talks with them. If they are only dealing with 32 claimants, having a single individual staff member to be the conduit is entirely cost effective and means that claimants are not being made to jump though hoops. The format letters can be passed to that individual directly and the likelihood of failure or error diminished because the person will know all the people he/she is dealing with and their circumstances  (This is of course exactly as it was when I worked at the DHSS in Cardiff being responsible for the individuals in my section of surnames S-Z) a personal i.e. name of individual email is passed out to the claimants and that person and that person alone (with the exception of a number 2 to cover sickness and holidays) would be responsible for all aspects of the 32 individuals claims and responses could be then be granted in under 48 hours.  Even if everyone wrote at the same time, that's still only 32 emails to respond too (I get through that many in 2 hours) the number will not increase, because all other benefits are online, so it will simply be a decreasing responsibility until all claimants transferring have been dealt with. Let's say of £30,000 a computer and desk space £5,000 so in real terms the cost would be no more than £50,000 per year, but of course they could simply allocate a current staff member and equipment and they'd be no intrinsic rise in costs whatsoever. This needs to be agreed as law.

Failing that, a minimum of a £350,000 cash settlement from the DWP (they could ignore the over-payment of £23,000 or whatever it was) and I'll happily sign whatever document they'd like resolving them of any future obligations towards me until my death. As I'm entitled to Housing Benefit of a maximum of £250 per week, I've already saved them £117,000 in housing benefit with being homeless, add that with another 20 years £260,000 and the benefits due PIP £400 & ESA £400 per month - £192,000 (all approximate figures of course as they don't take in account any increases or inflation as I'm simply working on today's figures) means the offer will save the state just under a £1/4 Million pound over my lifetime, which I think is an inordinately reasonable offer considering their appalling behaviour and deception towards me.

That's it, there are my instructions and not up for debate.  Good luck.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

It was only a matter of time....

I haven't slept properly in days.

I'm exhausted, disorientated, depressed to high heaven and at the end of my tether.

After spending a few days in St. Alban's at a friends at the Bank Holiday I'd got accustomed to being in doors for while.

But when I was about to return a catalogue of events conspired for me to lose my Louis Vuitton Bag (including all it's content and Louis Vuitton toiletry bag).

It began when I spilt some Chinese food I'd bought at St. Alban's Street Market which I was eating outside in the grounds of the Cathedral. This meant I had to wash my jeans and ended wearing a pair of blue trousers instead.

I was residing in a friends car and she'd supplied me with a key fob (which unfortunately as the cars battery had run flat didn't work) and a manual emergency key. This key was not normal as it was incredibly thin, didn't have a plastic head and not attached to any key ring.  The change of clothes meant that unlike when it was in my jeans pocket it had no way of falling out but in my trousers it did... and it did!

Upon returning to London I had stayed with a friend for the evening (from where in the rush to leave in the morning I believe the key fell out) but the next day I discovered the key gone and I was unable to get back in the car. (Had I gone straight to the car rather than heading to his house the night before - I don't believe I would have lost it, as I would have changed back into my jeans).

This meant I was wondering around with my bag wherever I went since last Tuesday.  I'd been sleeping on buses.  And last night I'd attended S.O.U.L at the BFI. I'd had a few drinks and having barely slept all week was totally exhausted.

Ironically only the day before I asked another friend if I could leave my bag at his place but unfortunately his positive response some hours later was too late for me.  So I still had it on me when it disappeared last night.

I'm currently still fighting with the DWP and this is a direct consequence of their failures to pay what is rightfully mine.

Right now, I don't feel like continuing with life. 

Thursday, 12 April 2018

I'm living in purgatory.... and I don't want to anymore...

As ever, writing is the hardest thing for me to do.

It takes massive amounts of energy, concentration levels that exhausts and requires hours of time, re-reading, correcting and trying to get complex ideas into simple sentences.

I'm writing this is in the Shakespeare's Head Weatherspoon Pub on Holborn. 

I'm using a Lenovo Computer (and that latter word I use in its losesest sense - because this is a Window's device I didn't want, rushing in to John Lewis to find something quickly as my Lenovo Tablet was playing up (being forced by extremely poor programming and design to require an Android Update that entirely scrubbed the device). I wanted a Lenovo Yoga Computer, but even though there was one on display, they didn't have it in stock - I ended up with this rubbish windows ideapad3205.

Windows makes no sense, neither does Google Android or Apple OS.  They force me to work in a way that works for them rather than being, as it should, a useful tool for me.

The entire popultation of the city of London have become moronic slaves to Facebook, Google, Apple  & Microsoft.

Rather than improving lives and making simple tasks more efficient. Everything now requires a work around.  Something as simple as making a diary entry now takes 3 - 5 minutes as opposed to 10 - 20 seconds 20 years ago, as nothing about the interface makes sense.

I'm laden with displays that don't work for my benefit, Wifi that keeps me requiring to log onto it (and since Sky took over the Cloud - one that barely ever works), nothing about modern living has improved anything.  It's ironic that my generation who learnt to code computer from our early teens are now battling with closed systems, that are only designed to give me adverts and make money for the company I purchased from.

This laptop for instance, clashes with all things Google, just getting Google to open in the Window I want it too, requires downloads and apps, that I just shouldn't need.

Since my last post, I lost the most wonderful woman I could have ever hoped to meet.  Became bed-ridden for nearly 3 months (losing the entire of December 17 & January 7 February 2018) staying with a dear friend who I'd only recently met..

All the plans I had for 50 Years of  |Trying came to naught.  Londoners are no longer interested in the quirky, history, fun, exciting vibrant city I can offer them.  Soho reflects that perfect, as there are ore chain stores there now than there are on Oxford Street (a light exageration to make a point).

Journalists are all too young and the scope of their knowledge too limited. They (with notable exceptions of |Dr. Francis Ryan at The Guardian & Ros Wynne Jones at the Mirror) believe the system works and the situation I find myself in must somehow be of my doing. Even though the overwhelming written evidence from the DWP, MP's and my own records could easily dispel this. I don't fit the idea of someone who is homeless (though very quickly getting to that point).

I'm back living on the streets again.  Last night, I took the Piccadilly Line Tube to Heathrow Terminal 5.  When I discovered the airport as a place to put my head down a few years ago, it was perfect.  Public Showers were available and the police were incredibly helpful.

The police are still pretty reasonable, but the pressure to control the homeless at the airport has hugely increased, so it becomes a cat & mouse struggle. The public showers have gone. Timings work on the basis of getting there just after the Police doe their rounds (that used to be around 1:30am but last night was 3am).

Look like a traveller you tend to be left alone (my Louis Vuitton holdall helps inordinately in that regards).

The constant fight just to get the basic things in the UK is literally killing me now.  I've just turned 50 and the last 10 years as been a constant battle between me and the DWP (as you'll know from my previous posts).

But Mark Field MP was the final straw.  I live in a country where the DWP are now above the law, constantly lying, cheating, attacking the very people they are paid to serve,  And how do you keep fighting the odds when most of your energies are focussed on getting people who are paid 10 times more than I receive in benefits to do their job.

I've been typing for 40 minutes now and my concentration is going all over the place.  I'm getting upset at the thought of the stupidity of the situation.

Why can't an MP weigh up the facts they have in front of them.  I've PROVEN through Appeals Courts, Policy Documents, Medical Evidence and the DWP's own correspondence that they are lying & cheating. Obfuscating.

I don't what else to do.  My health is in crazy decline, help is coming from nowhere, hope has been entirely extingusihed and my drive to fight, decimated.  What's the point of living, just to survive.'

When I started challenging the state when I was in care, it didn't make sense to me then, but at 16 I made the Civil Service staff look as stupid as they actually were. Now, I can do the same, but noboy is responsible.

When you look around you, you see just how simple everything is to fix, if only people thought differently, offered to help, said yes.  When I did a deal with the manager of the Tune Hotel in Waterloo it made sense to both of us.  I'd get a room for £20 after midnight - he earned money, I got protection when temperatures were too cold to sleep in my car.

When he offered me a couple of free nights for my birthday, it was one of the loveliest gestures.  But this was the General Manager of the company, and when some 20 something manager came in, she didn't see the value of doing the same thing.

For her, the relationship had to be one way, her making money, me paying money.  Why should I get preferential rates?  It didn't cross her mind, that I was giving her money she otherwise would not have coming in.

And that's what's made the past couple of years nigh on impossible to keep fighting.

I needed someone to say yes, to help.

I'm taking the DWP to Judicial Review through the Public Law Project who've already been paid £25,000 whilst I've recieved nothing. They get paid whether they win or lose, so there laughing to the bank either way.  This is coming out of Legal Aid.  They lost the compensation part of my claim, which means the most I can expect to get covered is around £10,000 - it would have been better just to have given me the Legal Aid money directly.

What would you do if you were in my situation?

The DWP, due to your disability is your only means of income.  They've been proven to have lied about your claim, saying they'd been in touch with your GP, but your GP has confirmed they haven't communicated with him in over 4 years.

You have no home, it's impossible to get home until you know you have a regular income.

So you have no money, even though you are legally entitled to it.

You have nowhere to live.

Your health means you have the sword of damocles constantly hanging over your head.

The only person you think has the authority to put things right is your MP Makr Field - but he does nothing.

How would you resolve the problem?  Who would you turn too?

How would you eat?  Where would you get the hope to keep going rather than simply taking your own life? Who would you speak too?

I've ran out of options - so would love to hear?

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

For my dearest Andrea.....

Two months ago, I met the person who changed my world....

Not wishing to embarrass her I won't publish her full name.  But she's the best thing to happen to me in years.

Warm, intelligent, compassionate, sexy, adventuress and caring.  The platitudes are endless in fact. If I were to have written a wish-list of what I would look for in a woman, she would have ticked every box and then required me to add a few more.

After 20 years of sticking to a mantra in regards to relationships she changed everything literally overnight.

So why, may you ask, am I publishing this here.

Well in truth, it's so that she knows that I'm thinking about her even when I'm not contacting her.  I would be in contact with her probably ten times a day if it was left to me. And I don't want to come across as being needy (which I'm not) or intrusive.

We were meant to meet on Sunday, but unfortunately she took ill and so this is fact the longest period we've had not seeing each other since we met each other back on September 11th 20017 (on average seeing each other every 2 to 3 days and recently at least once a week).

Today is Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 5:24pm and I so want to drop her a line to see how she is doing, but I won't.  Emotionally this has been the biggest roller-coaster of my life.  First she let her heart control things, and now it's her head.

Me, well I think our relationship is too precious to screw up, so I'm letting her lead, in terms of timing. But we became so close, so quick, it scared her, so she's stepping back to check it's real.

I get that and respect it, but equally, should she think, she was never not in my thoughts the whole time I want a record to prove otherwise and hence this post.

There's been 3 or 4 times I wanted to say hi, how's your day going today, but she's not been in touch, so I won't.  In fact to ensure it's things at her pace, with a daily exception, I'll only respond to her  contact.

I hope this is the right way... I was ten years old when I last felt like this (which is a wee while ago) so having to play everything by ear.

But it's here for her to find if she needs it and I'll add to it daily.

To the one who changed my life for the better and the one I hope to see it out with.



Wednesday 15th November 2017 09:59

It's 10am.  I'm totally exhausted.  It was so wonderful to have received your message last night when I got back at 1am.  It really does make such a difference to my mood and my disposition. I wrote back on FB messenger, I can see you've read it but have made no response. I want to write to you now.  I miss you so much.  I do hope we get to see each other this coming weekend, but there are lots of changes coming and it may not be possible.  The worst case scenario is we'll see each other next Tuesday.  I do hope you'll come to Amsterdam with me to celebrate our 3rd moniversary together at the beginning of December.  I hope you're having fun whatever you're doing and know I miss you with all my heart.

Wednesday 15th November 2017 17:20

So wanted to be holding you as I watched amazed as my friend Gemma Louise Doyle wowed an audience of thousands at the turning on of the Christmas Lights at Marylebone High Street by of all people my teenage crush, Barbara Windsor.

Wednesday 15th November 2017 21:00

You'd have loved the girls dancing provocatively on the bar at Dirty Harry's Soho for my friend Caroline Sinclairs Birthday.

So glad you messaged me when I returned back  - it always makes me smile.


Thursday 16th November 2017 08:00

I always think about you when I first wake up wishing you were here.  But this morning I did have to share the genius tear I put in my jeans with you.

Thursday 16th November 2017 15:50 going to do something cultured (Taylor Wessing Probably) wish you were coming with me.  

Monday, 21 August 2017

It's the battle against technology that's the worst...

It's ironic, I'm in Islington Library writing this on one of their public computers.

The irony comes from the fact that I'd actually come here to update my Tweets (I'm days behind but we'll come back to that later) and because their system is so slow (I've managed to post one in 36 minutes although I can normally rattle one out in under 5 minutes), I've given up and reverted to writing this instead.

And this is the bain of 21st Century Living.  Unless you've spent a fortune on keeping all your devices utterly brand new about every 3 months, one of your apps updates, your OS, or simply your battery life diminishing will start having an impact on your real-life.

I needed a telephone to call the DWP, the public payphone is out of order and reaking of urine as most in London are.  There isn't a public pay phone in the Library. I'm not allowed to email the DWP to find out what is going on.

Being homeless, means you invariably don't won't to carry ludicrously expensive IT devices with you. I've had an Apple Mac Pro Laptop Computer stolen from my Bedside when I was in St. Thomas's Hospital, an iPhone stolen from me at the BFI on Southbank and an Asus Tablet swiped from me at Victoria Station when dealing with a crisis with my son.

I'm now sat in a Library, on a device that only gives me an hour usage, and displays the eroding time to side of the screen.  I've got 17 minutes left.

Much of my work is scuppered trying to do everything on the cloud or other people's devices.

For example some of the things I need to do today, are on a friends laptop a few doors away from the Library, but she's using it for her own work now, so I can't access it.  It has all the emails and evidence for a DWP appeal.  They refuse to take things by email, so I have to find computers to compile documents on, sourced from my webmail server, printers to print them out on (and at no cost, as the DWP have stopped all my money) and then find ways of posting them - via recorded mail.  ALL of which has cost, unlike email which is free.

Hubbard & Bell in the Hoxton Hotel where I used to do all these things, removed their computers across their 2 establishments in London a couple of months ago. I discovered a similar set up in Citizen M Hotels, but their appalling customer service means they attack anyone using their facilities without immediate purchases (and we're back to not having money again).

So then you try and access facilities in places like libraries (I'm being informed I have ten minutes left on this device as I type these words) which are ludicrously out of date, incredibly slow and invariably time wastingly useless, like today.

The only upside is I've got to write this.  Rushing against a ticking clock and I've finally got to post a blog.  Something I like to do every month as bare minimum (although preferably weekly) but technology just want permit it.

I need Wifi. I used to mock my home town of Cardiff when I went back there a decade ago and not a single cafe had Wifi.  Even Trafalgar Sqaure has it's own Wifi even the Thames I used to say.  And they did.

But not anymore.

Now everyone and his dog has Wifi so it's all useless. Now they get you to log on and waste time.  Their weak signals competing with each other and so nothing gets done.

A world where we are dependent on tech to live needs more (less than 3 minutes to go now) time an efficiency.

I'm losing the battle on every count... hope I've got enough time to publish this....

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

It never rains, it pours.... even in a Heatwave...

I'm writing this today, because I need a record of what I'm going through in this exact moment.

I haven't slept for more than 3 hours in a night for the past 8 nights.  It's catching up with me.  My sight is blurry, my concentration levels all over the place and my determination drive at an all time low.

I have a very dear,  though very young friend, who has been influenced by the talk of those around her and decided that I've been exploiting her.  It was an odd conclusion to draw.  Odder still, was much of the talk was coming from people who've exploited my hospitality over the years.  Just turning up to parties, taking the free booze and not once ever offering anything in return... you know the type.

So I was extremely saddened, when I realised she was more interested in being right than investigating facts. Recalling events extremely interestingly to fit in with her world view. She recalled making a monetary contribution to a FREE meal which she saw as an example of my exploitation.

The meal of course wasn't FREE to me. I'd paid £180 for dinner for the 4 of us (with the total bill coming to £210 and the difference being split amongst the remaining guests).  Her recall of it being free, came from the fact, that I'd been give credit for a previous poor meal experience at the restaurant on an earlier occasion  But it was still my money.

We'd consistently helped each other out.  She using her credit cards to purchase things that I couldn't not having one. Me letting her off working all the placement hours she was required to do for the completion of her university work placement etc.

Even though I currently have not a penny coming in, having to once again pursue the DWP for what is rightfully mine through the courts system, I still manage to pay my way, by acquiring free tickets and lunches to pay back for any lunches and tickets bought for me.