Gosh. Well that was not pleasant. Someone I have known for 2-3 years came to my door this evening. He has 'issues' which revolve around mental health and is homeless, one of the many people abandoned by the Council and their 'rough sleepers team'. Though he would be the first to admit he is as mad as a box of frogs, he did once point out to me that if all the homeless in Brighton were housed the Rough Sleepers Team would lose all their jobs, so it probably isn't in their interest to do so. He has a very dry sense of humour. This evening, outside the block of flats where I live, he was telling me how he woke up this morning under a bush and felt rain dripping down but that he managed to get to the local rail station to get shelter just in time for the downpour.
He also told me that he had recently been threatened by one of my neighbours and not too long after he said this, the said neighbour emerged from the corridor and gave us a look that was, to put it mildly, not approving. On his way back in, and then back out again, he exchanged some words with Ben and I. I don't know what the guy's name is, but he reproved me for talking to Ben outside the block of flats, saying that he "pays a lot of money" for his flat and doesn't want to see any homeless people outside, as if, somehow, I have a queue of homeless people waiting outside my flat or something, which simply isn't true. I am on friendly terms with Jason and Ben and that is pretty much it. What am I to say to Ben? "Sorry, Ben, you can't call for me anymore because even though I count you as a friend you are not really a proper human being because you are a homeless untermensch and my neighbour doesn't like you?"
My neighbour's comment was, I thought, more insulting to Ben than it was to me, but the man went on to say this was the "last warning" (when he should have said "first and last"), otherwise he and a couple of his friends would "do something" about it and I got the distinct impression that he was not talking about legal action, but something more physical and violent. It was ironic that the chap turned up at the moment that he did, because Ben and I were just discussing Hitler and the Nazis. I asked the guy whether Ben and I were doing something illegal and he told me to "f*** off". Nice, eh? He also found enough time to tell Ben that "I don't give a f**k about you," which is a sentiment with which Ben is all too familiar.
I told him I would call the police if he threatened me again. The worrying thing is that if I called the police, the police might possibly take my neighbour's side because talking to a poor man outside your block of flats is probably considered "anti-social behaviour" and nowadays that is the crime above all crimes. I expect that if they do bring back the death penalty to this country, those guilty of 'anti-social behaviour' will be the first in the line waiting to hang from a noose. What with abortion being the killing of the innocent, I thought it might not be too long before the killing of the guilty would attempt a return. I guess cuts need to be made in these harsh economic times and prisoners are ripe for the culling, aren't they?
I don't think this video (which I was going to post anyway, regardless of tonight's unsavoury events) does justice to Ben's talent, but then Ben doesn't really do justice to Ben's talent and is not currently able to do so. He doesn't have a house, he doesn't have a room and he doesn't have a guitar. All he has is the clothes he stands up in and a sleeping bag. He describes himself as a 'man seeking asylum in his own country'. He hasn't been housed since he was evicted, for apparently no good reason, from Glenwood Lodge. He never did get his guitar back from there.
I have at least two neighbours in my block who are on good terms with Ben and one occasionally comes out to see him if he notices him and gives him some of his delicious home cooking, so it is not like all my neighbours are up in arms about this issue, just one or two people who pay a lot of money for their property but no attention to their immortal souls. I don't particularly want to get beaten up and ultimately I am a bit of a coward. At 33, I'm too young to get martyred and if I am to be martyred I'd rather be martyred at 93, so say a prayer for me and for Ben and for my rather aggressive and not very understanding neighbour. Anyway, for those of you who don't like guitar music in any shape or form, here is nice collection of photographs of Cardinal Raymond Burke celebrating the Mass of all Masses. The Church looks like St Patrick's, Soho, but I could have that wrong...