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Chatting to A Chugger 3 - An Occasional Series

For me the biggest word that comes out of the social model is responsibility. We all need to be responsible for change. In what ways can we be responsible? This is for you to answer for yourself but one way I do it is to chat with chuggers. A chugger is someone who collects for charity out on the street. The word is a composite of charity and mugger. I think it works well. The more time you spend talking to them the less they collect. The less they collect the less they work, the less they work the more likely they are likely to end up doing unpaid work at Tesco’s.

Some are really happy to talk to you. Some think the more they talk to you the more likely they are to persuade you to drop the cash. Some are very cocky. Happy to spread the bullshit round – either that or believes in the product. These are the best to talk to. They collect nothing for the time and seconds spread to minutes, to half hours and longer. It’s a good thing to do and represents a strong test for your tolerance levels which incidentally is not included in the all work test.

The chat I had with this next chugger found someone barely forthcoming. She was standing on the corner by a local supermarket. She had this kind of clown, harlequin outfit on. I happened to have a digital camera in my pocket. I had specifically started carrying it for encounters with chuggers.

This was the chat:
“I think you are really colourful. Can I take your photo?”
“Thank you Sir”
“Who are you chugging for?”
“Disabled Children and Older People”
“Which organisation?”
“Families for Survival UK”
“Do you support people in the UK?”
“Yes and in other countries”
“Well I think you look great. Do you think it helps to chug if you dress up as something ridiculous?”
“I don’t know”.

 I found her answer to be very funny. I wonder if anyone else knows.

The first in a series called Chatting To A Chugger

The second can be found here:

I’m sure i have another one somewhere – maybe our conversation was too complex for me. I did mean to write it though!


Posted by Rich Downes, 21 February 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 22 February 2012

About Our Special Powers

 Richard Downes has a grouse at Tempo House and wonders what your powers are.

"Winston Churchill had a speech imp-p-p-pediment
And look what he did
He razed half of London"

Currently my favourite lyric. I've caught it every time its come round on the The Fall's 'Perverted By Language' LP. I've actually got it on CD, but if i say LP you'll get more of an understanding about how ancient i remain. The small i too - that's a dead give away. Let us talk more of the small i one day. Though some day. Cos time slips by you know and then one day we are all gone. And we didn't get time to discuss the small i. So, i promise; 1 day.

Why do i favour this line at present? It speaks to me of so much. Winston was such a hero wasn't he. I'm not sure if i remember his funeral. I remember the death and i remember seeing the newsreels go round on repeat for an eternity. Was it him or Shakespeare who won the honour of Brit of the millennium? 12 years ago; already. Anyway he scored higher than my choice. So, he must have been someone, somewhere, some time. Big enough and famed enough for me not to have to google him.

"Please don't tell me any more about the war daddy"

That was my voice speaking falsehoods. Dad never told me about the war. It was too much for him. I put it on the back burner of his mind and went off to get scalded at work. He was a good man my dad. I hold nothing against him. I feel for his silence. I got mine from him 2. I am thinking that we have been led to believe that my generation was the first one not to want what our parents had. I don't know if that's true.

Winston had a speech impairment did he? Well, I never knew that. I knew the old black dog came by to bark every now and then but this man held up for oration and Horatios had a speech impairment 2. Shall i put him into my personal pantheon of heroes now we share a hesitation or 3. Nah!!!! Don't think so.

But, I will give him credit for his twisted powers. He razed half of London. Sorry but i think that's well funny. It's another lie. But an interesting and thoughtful take and this is where the redolence comes in. I 2 have a speech impairment and i have been invested in super powers courtesy thereof.

Walking through Handsworth one day..... one day, very early, just as the night was shaking off, the dew was taking hold and a big red orb was arising - a fitting advent for the power to come - when a hand alighted on my shoulder and i span round to find Sergeant Slow Heavy Walk drawling about who i was and where i came from (like i didn't know that 1). A purple haze buzzed in my head from the short time previous when i'd been practicing illegal rituals with Rizz and record sleeves. Though i knew the blue line's answers i couldn't get them out and struggled and struggled until an eventually when the Sarge said; "Only you've just walked past a murder but it couldn't have been you because my brother in law's got a stammer and he's a nice bloke". Lovely. That's good innit. Either i can't speak and that makes me a charmer or i can't speak and get away with murder.

Would love to understand and know your powers from impairment. Would like to take the time to stop and wonder about the generations of our people who have passed on, who are here now, who are yet to come and get an answer to the question how long our magic powers will wax and wane.

Posted by Rich Downes, 10 February 2012

Last modified by Rich Downes, 27 February 2012

A Cracking Carol

Richard Downes takes a family day out to share a favourite club with others and to make lasting relationships in the arts

Scene 1: The Past. A room in Tottenham. Summer. A long, long time ago. Franz Shealey, then a lip reader is watching Phil Sherman speak. He asks; "What is your favourite story?" Fran replies' "A Christmas Carol". "Wow!!!! That's mine too", reposts Phil. Immediately, Fran and Phil; the clown and mime artist respectively behind children's theatre company Booster Cushion Theatre set about creating their own unique version of Dicken's famous tale.

Scene 2: The Present. The Karamel Club, Wood Green. A family day out. My wife and I (that sounds so regal) want to introduce the Tarpey family to the club; a place that has become more and more important to us as a site for friendship, food, entertainment and exposure to the arts. I especially want to introduce, James Tarpey, a young drama student, to Phil's wild take on the story. Phil offers children the chance to brag and joke with that old card Scrooge through the use of pop up books, humbugs, mime, voice and sign language. Booster strive to be inclusive to all ages. I watch the show with a smile but am more happy to note that all my guests sit wholly entranced.

Scene 3: Later in what was then the future. I set up an interview between Phil and James. I had an idea about the meeting of generations akin to an old NME interview where then young mod, Paul Weller met old  mod Pete Townsend. We would use quotes and titles from The Jam and The Who. I might ask James how do you think he does it and hopefully James would say more than I don't know. But it didn't work out like that. We simply explored past, present, and future. Phil was as helpful and friendly as could be. James more than held his own as you will see in a later featured interview.

But first more on the Karamel Club. It's a part of the Chocolate Factory in Coburg Road, Wood Green, London, N22. Its run by Rosely Funari, Phil's wife. Rosely also acts as an ideas person and is first point of call for people wanting to book this useful space for whatever reason. Its primary function is to run as a hub for local artists and connoisseurs. Chef Ian's food makes it more than this. It is somewhere to drop in to, a place to enjoy. The walls are usually full of art to buy. A small, inaccessible stage allows for music nights and comedy nights. Booster Cushion Theatre are aiming to play there once a month to show a broad retrospective of its work. Until now the Karamel Club has been one of London's hidden treasures. Watch it take off!

Posted by Rich Downes, 1 February 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 15 November 2012