Monday, February 19, 2018

Living in a heartless world

This morning when I get to Glasgow there's two beggars just outside the train station. The first one is packing up, maybe handing his spot over to someone else. The second's hand is shivering so much it's hard to put the coin in her paper cup.

I cross the road to the cash machine. Someone has written on it in marker pen "Please do not encourage begging at this ATM". And I want to write "Please organise to end homelessness".

But I don't have a pen.

The taxi driver tells me he had a phone call from his daughter last night saying "Please come and take me home" and when he got to her he found standing in the street in her dressing gown holding her one year old son. Her husband had just thrown her out the house.

I'm on my way to a day long meeting about how to make me and Chris Goode's EVE easier to perform and so more accessible to a wider variety of audiences. And I'm thinking, for instance, of the finding that more than a third of trans students have attempted suicide. That only 20% felt safe on campus.

I'm thinking of how at the very least art must be necessary. Must, even if indirectly, lessen suffering rather than increase it. How it needs to have a light carbon footprint.

Of what me and Susan Worsfold, our director, and the National Theatre of Scotland can do to make this happen.

There's a different beggar on the same pitch outside the railway station on the way back, and he's so weary he's falling asleep where he sits.

And I wonder how the pitches are organised, and I suspect that some unscrupulous individual makes money from them. These being the skills that valued in our cruel world.

When I get to Edinburgh I walk up the steps to Market St., knowing there'll be a beggar at the top. And there is, but I have a coin in my hand, and when I walk across to give it her she shows me a face full of dread. Fearful, I imagine, at what suffering the night may bring her.

I don't want to hear any more stories. On the way home I close my eyes.
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