My super talented friend Jodie helped make this video for Teesside MC, Hauntin for his Christmas charity single. (Go check her out, she’s crazy good!) I know charity singles are about as widespread as the Norovirus at this time of year, but this one —if you’ll forgive the pun— really hit home.
Nightstop are very dear to my heart. I ended up homeless in 2008 for about 4 months, through a cocktail of bad decisions and staggering naïveté, and it will never ever leave me. I remember waiting to be housed on the God-awful pleather sofa of the Erimus offices, I remember when I realised I was on my own. I’d exhausted the goodwill of all my loved ones and friends —you try having an indefinite house-guest and see how long you last— and I had to turn myself over to something bigger or spend the night on the streets.
I was with Nightstop on and off for the entire month of November and they took care of me. I was nowhere near their least fortunate person on their books; I knew this, and I did my best not to bother them. They offered me food, and toiletries (both things I could eke out for myself on a doley’s “salary”) but I couldn’t have took them in good conscience, but they did find me places to sleep; a young couple in Yarm, both substitute teachers, who may or not still have the Quorn meatballs I left in their freezer (It’s okay, you can keep them) a few I don’t even remember, and by far the most memorable, a lovely older couple with empty-nest syndrome on the Lakes estate, who made me feel like one of their own.
I’m about to turn 25, and it’s made me think about the person I am¹, and the person I was² and the person I want to be³, and how far I’ve come from sitting on the bench by Mima fountains all day in the freezing fog trying to nap. I’m writing this listening to Christmas carols at my desk with a warm mulled apple juice, my fiancee watching Eastenders on the bed behind me, in a huge room hundreds of miles from Teesside. I’ve got a job now, I’ve got a house now, and now I can’t even imagine being that girl.
I might not be that girl anymore but somebody is, and it’s weighing on my mind that Nightstop need help. They can’t continue to operate without funding and far from it for me to make an impassioned plea for you to give us yer fucken money…give them your fucking money. It’s kind of an acquired compassion when you realise that at any one time you or someone you know might only be a few bad decisions from homelessness — I had to learn that the hard way, so if you could just figure it out on your own…
If my ramblings have swayed you in anyway you can download the above single, with the proceeds going to Nightstop Teessside or you can text
BEDS41 plus £amount to 70070
I’m trying to get a print or something together to help, but in the mean time if just one of you gives the price of a Black Forest Mocha (not before trying one first though, they’re heavenly) then I know I’ve done something to help someone who helped me when I needed it most. I would like to end this with a brief, heartfelt, and overwhelmingly chuff note of thanks to anyone who helped me at that time. Those who let me sleep on their floors, who had me over for dinner, those who stashed my stuff for me, let me use their phones, their baths, lent me money, anything. Consider this the liner notes for that particular ‘album’ of my life. Thank you so much.