Tuesday 14 August 2012: Tiers
1. This is a view I have never seen before. It's taken from the entrance into Cadogan Square in Glasgow. It's a Barbicanesque concrete warren of offices and shops on various tiers tucked behind and between the motorway and glass fronted office blocks. I found myself upstairs, yet below ground all at once.
2. I am here to visit the Scottish Refugee Council. As you enter the little hallway that leads to their offices, to the right there is a door marked clients to the left one marked business. I pause and look through the little window in the door. To the right there is a room packed with people and buggies and kids. I turn to the left.
3. Inside we plunge our fairtrade coffee, wearing our Hollister jumpers and good shoes and discuss ticket subsidy to attract an audience from the Asylum Seeker community to a new show we are producing. The ridiculousness of this dawns on me slowly as the meeting continues and only grows throughout the day. This is a joke.
4. I recently relearned the word destitution. Known only to me in a Dickensian, unreal context previously, I am starting to understand what destitution means today. It is a state - an official term - for those who have been refused asylum here, but who can't go back to their own country. They are no longer entitled to anything. Not a single thing. It is a poverty so profound, so total that it beggars belief. It's no longer possible for me to ignore this fact. It's not happening in the Observer, it's not happening down south or somewhere else. It's happening through the door on the right.
5. Last Friday, about two o'clock, I ran out of money. A total stonewall - no secret stashes, no cheeky credit cards, just flat broke with five days til payday. This hasn't happened to me in years and years and it is no one's fault but my own - poor management, indulgence, lots to do etc etc. I am amazed how little impact the situation actually has when it arrives. It's only five days, I easily borrow a chunk from an understanding and non-judgemental source and wait it out. Fleeting thoughts travel through my head, but they don't really stick and they don't stick because I am rich. I am foolishly, naively, squanderingly and wastefully, wastefully rich.