|Faery (with wings) bingo-calling, helped by Diego|
'Going to Crisis.'
She thought I meant a nightclub. But it is a club of sorts. It has people who are guests year after year. Mostly single and homeless.
Volunteering for Crisis gives you a rare example - not found in corporate life - of people working together with a default position of kindness, because that's all we have. The centres are teeming with volunteers wresting happiness for themselves and others from the nation's distress/disgrace.
For years I heard the siren song of Crisis but thought no, I can't cope with all those scary people. But in 2011 I started to draw the scary people attracted to the Occupy protest camps. It was a doddle. This is my second year at Crisis.
|Barbara, volunteer hairdresser |
(in mirror, left)
'Who are you and what are you doing here?' she barks, existentially.
A drawing is an experiment, a what-if. Most drawings should be thrown away. But when you're drawing the face of a guest at Crisis you have to do the best you can, every time, and you sweat on the result, because it matters to someone who has never been drawn, who is faceless, who sees the drawing which you will give them as validation.
|Cate (top) and Faery|
Cate (of cyoga.co.uk) teaches yoga. A couple of men challenge her strength. She idly supports herself on her arms for a while, levering herself up and down.
Men gaze and sigh at women, with courtesy. I sketch a shaggy ex-punk/glam-rocker in a buttercup yellow suit.
'Do you believe in free speech?' he asks.
'Give me your phone. Why do moths fly with their legs open?'
I go home via Sainsbury's for a small bottle of wine and a large bar of chocolate. Serving at the tills are young men, strong and handsome like many of the guests at Crisis. Lucky bastards to have jobs, I think.
|Cate teaching yoga|