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As a young and impressionable thing I read George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London and thought it terribly romantic. As romantic as Kerouac’s On the Road and, later Hunter S Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Fortunately by the time I watched Leaving Las Vegas I was less romantic and had been in a relationship with an alcoholic.

Now in my semi middle-class life I can claim to know two people who have lived and are living on the streets. Both have problems with addiction. Both have used mobile phones to contact me. And it ain’t pretty.

Mouth ulcers. Fever. Fights over cigarette lighters.Losing weight. Loneliness. Eating left over food. Keeping eyes on the ground for cigarette butts.

Makes one realise that one is lucky. Makes one alarmed that in a country like NZ or Australia this can still happen. Makes ya think what a tenuous hold we have on a fragile life.


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