Tag Archives: social exclusion

Skinning Up In The Sunshine.

21 Mar

Sometimes when you’re a scribbler you have to move quickly and have just seconds to get something down on paper. This happened to me today when I was exhibition-sitting at Elysium Gallery. I glanced through the window and saw this young couple sit down on the other side of the road, take tobacco, papers and cannabis out and start rolling a joint. It was  lunch-time and bright sunshine in the city centre, but they seemed completely unaware of anyone else as I fumbled around in my bag to find my sketchbook and pen. When you’re working fast you have to zoom in on the most important lines to get something recognisable. I managed this much before they pulled themselves up and tottered off on unsteady legs out of my sight, passing the lit joint between them as they headed for the main street.

They couldn’t have been more than 17 or 18 and had those pinched, skinny little bodies that have obviously never known nurturing, certainly not a couple of healthy middle class students cocking a snook at the establishment by having a radical spliff in the sun. I’m no goody two-shoes, having lived through the excesses of the Seventies, but I felt sad for them that they have so little going for them that they didn’t care about being caught and punished. They probably have nothing to lose, no future career, no reputation, so why should they worry? Our city centre, like other cities, has many young people like this wandering around, painfully thin, intoxicated, clutching cans of Special Brew and spliffs, with nothing going for them. They’re just kids….how do they slip through the net? How have we got it so wrong? We shouldn’t be failing kids like this in one of the wealthiest and most liberal countries in the world.

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