I have just been to visit with Ramblin’ who was on good form. By the way it was Ramblin' who put together the Free Tibet pic on our home page. Over a couple of cups of tea we listened to some music while we chatted about the origins of Stone Henge and the sword and relics found at the site at Sutton Hoo, mental illness involving hearing voices, collected psychedelic experiences and a host of things interesting and challenging. He always shows me his latest photos and I am always surprised by some quality or small thing that draws the eye. I left later than planned, as usual, and headed home for the bus. The bus stop is opposite the edge of Putney Heath.
Soon after arriving at the bus stop I met a young guy who was obviously very unwell mentally. He began a rant about the music business and the internet thieves who rip him off by stealing his tunes. He told me he made his tunes in a studio somewhere and the business people tapped into that and they can get it all. Four months ago he was arrested for carrying a firearm in Clapham Junction. It was all over the news at nine oclock in the morning. I remember it well. He told me that he wasn’t carrying one but they, the police had confused him with some one else who was carrying a weapon and who was pretending to be him. He kept telling me “ They know. They know everything”. He told me how he didn’t need any one and as he continued the rant he became more and more animated. He told me any one who is going to call the police and say a man has a gun when he does not have a gun must have a plan. He said “He didn’t care because God had a plan for him and so that was it. When I get to Wembley I’m gonna stand up and tell every one I did this by myself”. He continued “ I am my own body guard and every thing. I am my own business and I don’t care about them thieves business”. He waved his arms around, swore a lot and paced up and down as we waited for a bus. I wondered if we were going to get on the same one. Eventually a bus came up the road. He put his arm out and I watched as the driver looked hard at him and drove on by. I asked him why he thought the driver had done that. He said “ He knows me and he knows who I am”. He asked me if I had seen him on TV with a young local rap group I used to work with some years ago. He didn't know about this and had no idea who I was. I wondered how they might have hooked up with him and can’t wait to see what the clip was about if it actually exists anywhere other than in the guys mind.
I could see that to passers by this guy seemed very threatening and they moved as far from him as they could as they passed. Suddenly he asked me if I was part of the music business. I answered “No” in the same moment his bus came. I said, “Take care” he said “ You too man”. He disappeared inside the bus and was gone. I wondered how his difference impacted on his life on a regular basis.
There is no simple moral or out come to this story. The streets are full of unhappy people it is just that they don’t all come up to you and say so. To be mentally unwell is a double affliction. As well as having to contend with their illness a person also has to put up with blatant prejudice engendered by the fear many people have of all mental illness and all sufferers. In a time like ours you might think we would have evolved to a point beyond this but sadly we have not. I think that as a society perhaps we will be judged in the future and may be for ever, by the way we love our children, our elders and the most vulnerable. Being at all different can make you very vulnerable. Its is hard to imagine us ever getting it right while we live in a place where teenage men kicked a twenty year old woman to death because she dressed in the "Goth" style.
The competition continues. Leave your entries either at the foot of the blog or in the previous one. What is Art thinking ?
Usual rules. As many entries as you like with different names.
Leave suggested captions in the comments section. Art will be the sole judge of the best caption. The winner can email postal details and we'll send you the ONE picture disk with extra tracks . Competition ends on Friday the 9th of May when I expect the EB Band will be rehearsing.
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