I saw this sign outside the local village shop the other day and after a sort of scoffy, snort of laughter I took stock of what it actually meant. I don’t think I need to go on about it in some angry diatribe of disgust, citing the state of things in our society, our lack of trust in young people and the ludicrous behaviour of some young people, but this sign is actually real:
(If the link doesn’t work then search ‘Kent Police flour and eggs’ and click the first link, it’s a pdf file)
We don’t even trust 15 year olds to buy flour (which we use to make bread, I’ll have you know) and eggs. We have got things horribly, horribly wrong.
In more positive news I headed down to the London Occupy LSX site on Saturday. I went with certain misgivings in my head and heart about the efficacy of the protest, the aims they have and the such. I was super pleasantly surprised.
What I found was a group of people enacting, very openly and publicly, a different way of life. The space is pretty big and there was lots of animated discussion going on. People were organising all sorts of campaigns and getting their messages out onto a public platform. Although there was a decent amount of the same old regurgitated phrases about ‘us’ and ‘them’, about ‘we will win’ and ‘we are doing great’, what I found beyond that was, quite simply, a space in the heart of London’s financial district that was promoting people before profit and somewhere which was making people consider their actions more carefully. The highlight, however, came in the fact that I learned the camp has become a sort of de facto homeless shelter. Many homeless people have come and stayed in the area over the past month and with so many food donations they have a sociable and more sustenance filled place to stay for a while. I went to the kitchen tent to donate something and a guy, clearly a long term rough sleeper, was volunteering on kitchen duty and took my donation, he gave his heartfelt thanks and added it to the massive pile. There were Oxford academics mixing with rough sleepers and loads of music and positive energy being banded about.
To me, it seems the mainstream media is using this facet as a means to jump on the ‘Occupy LSX is becoming a place of alcohol and drugs and people with mental health issues seem to be there’ bandwagon. Well, of course, if you are going to cite these issues you might also want to be aware that the current structure in place provides little or nothing for people who are bringing these ‘problems’ to the camp.
In all, I was just so happy to come across an area in such a big city that was filled with a bit more reality for once. Music being played and danced to, diatribes being rabbled out and supported, food being made collectively, donations being made, real intellectual critique being attempted and all welcomed. A refreshing change from the domineering buildings that surround Bank tube station.
A quick update re: toilet paper being an environmental issue!
So, it is over a week now since my life began without toilet paper and I can report a massive success. I won’t go into details but I can tell you it is easy and, so far, I would say undoubtedly preferable to using said toilet paper. I will, of course, now be wary of watching all your faces when I next meet you and go to shake your hand (luckily for you I’m left-handed). If you fancy it and look down the aisles of toilet paper in the shop and lament ‘Why oh why?!’ then jump on my wet washing, no toilet paper band wagon!