Thank god’ for music, it takes away the pain...trying as hard as I do. I just don’t understand some people, and especially some people around me?” I’ve always been concerned with the plight of homeless and vulnerable people, and I’m thinking just like a friend that I have acquired whilst residing here in Canning Town for the last seven years; and as indeed time flies on by and yet Dirty Dan of the Town’ has constantly figured somewhere in one’s residence in this neck of the woods.
When I think of Dan and people like him and there are many, I think, can people learn to live again, is it at all possible?
Taken in the contexted and under the influence and the effect of capitalism, under which we must all to a degree conform and comply with, and as in a pointed if not sharpened direction.
However, many in armed personal resistance to conformity end up becoming the vulnerable victims of the backlash that's handed out for not adequately adhering and sticking fast. These are people who have been torn (ripped apart) into pieces by a life experience (or even life) of one kind or another, or it may be that they may find it hard to cope and manage their lives in capitalism and I think that Dan is one of these people.
I think what it is that attracts my sympathies and interest towards Dan, is his indifference to life, and in a kind of strange way the ‘rebel’ I see in him, but for all the wrong reasons. The problem, and it is a problem for Dan and that’s it, you guessed it and got it in one, its his drinking. He describes himself as an alcoholic so I do suppose that’s what he is then. At this very time of writing Dan is staying with me in my council flat and has been for the last two months, he has not been any real problem, only that the drinking part of his life seems to be bothering me right now, and I do wonder why now. I knew he had a drink addiction and for all the years I have known him, that’s all the years I’ve lived in Canning Town. And yes, Dan is also my mate, to some he may be just the down and out standing on the Barking Road with a Lucozade bottle in one hand hiding his supper brew beverage and fingering-out who will be the lucky person to have the honor and privilege of filling it up or who can he borrow a sub from until pay day; and you can’t miss Dan on the streets of Canning Town, usually sitting opposite the McDonald's fast food restaurant recently refurbished and used in TV adverts to promote the poison they serve up.
One thing stands out in Canning Town in my opinion and that's just how many are addicted to using drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, the drug business is lucrative and rewarding for those who supply but wrought with danger. The supply of class A drugs is common place here in Canning Town, all the time you see addicts standing around waiting for the arrival of the dealer. Sadly it is true, but the decline of the British worker in society seems to have gone hand-in glove with the decline of British manufacturing and the rise in drug addiction in one form or the other, an explosion that is the true legacy of the Thatcher years.
“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end”
- Margaret Thatcher.
Fortunately, Dan is not using class A drugs only alcohol as his method of escape from the harsh reality that is life today in Britain, and indeed I suspect that there are many thousands doing the same as Dan all over the country - escaping and blocking-out, or at least temporarily numbing the pain that we all feel and made all the worse in these times of austerity.
Alcohol is big business in the UK, estimated to be worth in excess of £41.6 billion a year, with more than £800 million spent annually on alcohol marketing. Sponsorships by the alcohol industry form a significant part of marketing and promotion practices and it has been reported that drinks companies were the second largest source of sponsorship funding in the UK between 2003 and 2006.
Street drinking in Canning Town and indeed in the whole of Newham was so bad at one time that the council banned it from the streets, and shops in my locality lost the right to sell strong brews when their licence was revoked by the local authority, many changed hands, an indication if any were needed of just how profitable the takeaway boozer is to the small retailer.
Whilst Dirty Dan of The Town’ is an addict he is also the victim of unadulterated greed perpetuated by an industry and a society that cares very little for the damage and risk being done to people like him.
I see people like Dan as a challenge, in more ways than one, stop him through friendly, supportive persuasion to cut-down or even stop drinking altogether and then open his eyes to a new world and possibly to socialism, time will tell but I will keep you posted and will be writing more about things here on the ground in Canning Town and in general the street life of the more poorer sections of working people who somehow continue to survive in our capital city.