Top tips for the Budding Beggar – One off special!

In the town where I reside the main shopping area is a fairly large sprawl. For all you Americans, yes, I know, it’s barely a block – but for England, it’s a large sprawl. We are a tiny island. If I spread my legs I’m in danger of trespassing on my neighbour’s land – although this is due to my exceptionally large

Included in this sprawl is a small subway area, with a couple of over-passes, some circles of benches and a few grassy knolls. This is a favourite haunt for the street beggar.

Offering begging advice on-line may seem futile, what beggar is going to have the internet (you’d be surprised)? But in these times of Sherbet Dib-Dab – sorry, Double-Dip recession, we could any one of us find ourselves set low by misfortunes indiscriminate doings.

Compassionate conservatism in action

In England certain measures were introduced a few years ago into employment law. If you had been working for twenty years as a cleaner, you suddenly found yourself asked to prove you could perform to NVQ Level 2 in English and Maths. The fact that you had been doing your job fine for two decades without them was irrelevant. No NVQ’s, no job.

Compassionate conservatism inaction

This has led to a lot of capable people being ‘professionalised’ out of work. It has also led to people good with their hands having to sit on them because their not good at exams.

Once you are out of work, getting a job is a nightmare. Gaps in your work history are seen as signs of bad character, as if the only possible thing you could have been doing while not working is sacrificing babies and smoking crack. Or perhaps smoking babies and selling your crack.

Compassionate cons in action

Once you are on benefits you are subject to proving you are really looking for work. This includes being sent on courses to take your NVQ’s (Not Very Qualified). If you fail these you will eventually be considered to be not trying hard enough and will have your benefits removed. At this point you have a last resort of busking.

Except you don’t. Because even here you have been ‘professionalised’ out of the market.

You may get the impression I hate Cameron. Don’t be fooled.
I hate politics – all of it.

You cannot busk in this city without a licence. This is all part of the democratic process of ensuring that if you are f*ed, you stay f*ed. People with warm homes and jobs decided they didn’t want to hear bad music for a few seconds each day on the way to and from their comfortable destinations. So a law was passed which forbade busking unless you passed an audition.

Now ‘buskers’ in our town all have amplifiers, posh guitars and CD’s for sale. It makes for a nicer listen (sometimes) but actually removes the whole ‘cultural backdrop’ of what busking used to be.

Like most people, I have spent the odd weekend in town harpooning penny-whistle players. They are Satan’s pipers and killing them is generally acceptable to everyone – even the penny-whistlers. Yet I would rather someone was at least making some effort to earn their can of ‘Liver-Killer’, as opposed to having to suffer the out-and-out beggar.

In fairness, they didn’t ask
– they just took.

The beggar believes everyone in the world is a twat. They must believe this, because they so often ask for ‘bus fare’ for many days in a row on the same street, clearly going nowhere on any f*ing bus. They ask for money for a ‘cup-of-tea’, as if we are to believe they want a cup-of-tea.

Look. I will respect your honesty, as I imagine many would. “Have you got 50p for a cup-of-tea?” NO, I bloody haven’t. Look at you! You hate tea – you clearly never drink tea, just as you never catch busses, just as you don’t catch trains or need to use a pay phone. Ask for beer money. Tell me you want beer money, and hell, I’ll give you beer money just for your F*ing honesty.

It actually happened to me…

To help you out, here’s some other lines that will not be entirely convincing.

“Scuse me, have you got 50p for my trans-gender surgery?”

“Alright mate. You couldn’t spare 50p to support my nuclear decommissioning enterprise?”

“Hey buddy, this is an emergency. My name’s Bond and I have to get to Istanbul.”

However, I am more likely to give money to these requests, as I’d at least admire their originality.

Now, I will doubtless have upset the worthy cardigan worriers among us by being all down on scrounging bastards. Let me clarify.

I have worked for years helping the unfortunate, and I know what is available to the genuinely homeless and hungry. Giving money is just hastening death through lager.

They take penny-whistling seriously here

I did go through a phase of buying food and giving them that, but I got filthy looks or abuse once too often.

So. If there are any beggars out there who happen to own a computer and be reading this blog (yeah, I know), or you one day find yourself there on the street, here’s my sage advice.

Earn it.

For f* sake smile sometimes. Bring a little light into people’s lives. The whole miserable face crap is so old and a total mistake. You will seriously increase your income if you spread happiness. People don’t feel sympathy for your saggy, baggy faced look of about-to-be-shot dog – they just feel uncomfortable and want to get away.

You have no money, no goods, no possessions, but you have an infinite supply of potential love. Stop just taking and make it a mutually beneficial transaction. Share a joke, pay a compliment or give a smile – and ask for f*ing beer money.

17 thoughts on “Top tips for the Budding Beggar – One off special!

Add yours

  1. Man, you are grumpy today! Guess that’s why you call them rants.
    In Washington, D. C., the homeless put out a newspaper. They write it and sell it on the street to earn money. It’s called Street Sense.
    Kind of a neat idea.

    1. Yep, they have the “Big Issue” paper here, same idea. I’m not down on the poor, been there, still there! Just anyone who wants something for nothing. A smile is enough to give.
      Anyway, I’m always grumpy πŸ™‚

  2. Yes, in the US, unless you live in a small town or in the woods or out on a farm there are numerous shops on every street. Even residential streets. You’d be amazed, maybe. But since you’re all Mr. Snark about it, I will say I am glad not to live in a nation that is known for having bad teeth. I find my teeth very important to me. I’m sure you do, too. Or at least I hope you do. πŸ™‚

  3. Funnily enough I regularly see homeless people in doorways with cell phones. I went to an exhibition about homelessness in London (blog pending) and one of the things that struck me and my companion was their attachment to phones and internet. My friend thought it disgusting that they would pay a phone bill over buying food, but I could sympathise, when you’re so cut off from people, to be attached to a means of connecting. I know plenty of not homeless people who attach greater importance to their iphones than things we would consider ‘essentials’ so I’m not sure we can judge on this point. I do agree on the something for nothing issue – I feel manipulated by the glumness and would also be more inclined to give to friendliness and honesty, no matter how hypocritical that may make me, for expecting a smile from an obviously not happy person.

    1. Almost all jobs require us to pretend to be cheerful to the customer, whatever our real mood.
      I agree on the phone thing. Owning one offers a connection to others and a sense of still being part of the world. Let’s face it, it’s now a phone, internet, movie and music device, like having every household entertainment unit without the house – er. Or exactly that!
      As for the disgusted. I imagine the homeless get disgusted that others eat caviar and own two homes while they sleep rough and hungry. Our primary defence against our complicity in others suffering is a sense of hypocritical woundedness.

      1. Ooh such fantastic wordiness at the end there (that sounded sarcasmic… it wasn’t). Said ‘friend’ is also an amazingly smart and thoughtful she-lady who couldn’t quite figure out why she felt that way, so we shall now be discussing this more at length with your input! Also, with my current level of (relative) poverty, I am also disgusted at caviar and double-homes, as I would just really like some slippers and a warm coat. But, I am also currently warm in my bed and drinking wine and writing on my Mactop, AND managed to move across the world, so, yeah… relative.

  4. You sound like such a bad person, but I love this post! Don’t take it the wrong way, whatever is inappropriate, and sophisticatedly, comically, written tends to make me laugh until tears fall… so, cheers mate πŸ˜€

    1. It’s all good. You can’t give offence, it’s something people carry around for themselves πŸ˜‰
      You’d probably enjoy the equally mean blogging tips, he says, crudely selling his crap…

  5. Got here via Susan Daniels’ site, so give her a cheer

    I’ve actually used the ‘Tell me you want some beer money’ ruse. The poor unfortunate guy looked a bit bemused, then burst out laughing. He didn’t get any money, but he did get a smile on his face.

    As for homeless people not having a computer… Let’s just say i don’t live in a house

You can tell me anything (yes, even that!)

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

Digital Smithy

Let me manage the technology, while you take care of business

Unquiet World

Things from an unquiet mind

Paper Lifeboat

Riding the waves of neurodivergence

... on being and becoming ...

... mobius faith imaging ...


the inside, and outside, of my head

Poetry on the run

a poet's search for poetry


Writers write. The rest make excuses.

%d bloggers like this: