You can’t tell a book by it’s cover ,a sausage by it’s skin , a Soupy Guest by their facial tattoos…. or so the sayings go .
The best bit at Soupy for me is the chat – with everyone …guests, volunteers , people that drop stuff off . But on Sunday it was a bit different – gentler ,calmer, dam good bread donated by Pitshanger Bakery , loads of grated cheese , beans ,potatoes , spare seats , a steady trickle of people coming and going and no argy bargy .So ,in other words , lots of time to talk .
So now I go back to my first line …
Long term guest ( and one of my favourites ) T , introduces me to B .They share a dependancy on alcohol and also on drugs – but the drugs are not recreational , they are for control of their epilepsy .But the drugs don’t work ,because ( and I think this is what they said- don’t quote me on this ) the alcohol does something to the liver which then stops the effectiveness of the drugs . And so they have seizures and end up in hospital .They weren’t moaning , just telling me how it is . Then T leaves and B and I continue our conversation . He tells me about his life in Ireland ,London in the army ,in action .He tells me he has been shot and has a violent temper and in order to curb his temper ,he self-harms and then he shows me his scars . Then for some reason we get onto the subject of nature and it’s benefits .He often gets up early and sits by the canal , if things are bad he walks The Grand Union to Birmingham , it takes him 3 days and he knows where to shelter .Then he tells me he writes poetry and could he tell me one of his poems .It was so beautiful ,I had the wind blown out of my sails . (I’m not sure what he thought of the moment as just as we arrived at Soupy one of my hearing-aid batteries died so I was only on fifty percent audio hook-up , so he might have feared me invading his personal space ). I suggested he wrote his poems down , which he thought was a silly idea .So I said you would expect an artist to carry a sketch-book and a pencil , well this is the same thing . So next time I go ,I’m going to put a little Muji red notebook in my pocket , just in case he’s there