Monday, 3 December 2012

Random Reasons to Love London #8

Image source: Ewan-M via Flickr

Last night, the Cat and I went to see James Bond at the Curzon in Mayfair. Yes, as the chap behind the counter informed us, we are probably the only people left in London who hadn't seen it yet. But it was worth the wait. It was freaking awesome. I'm not generally an action film kind of girl but James Bond is my exception to the rule. And this was a particularly good one. I was riveted the whole time, gasping and exclaiming and probably bothering the people behind me... But I wasn't chatting inanely, it's just that now and again I found I couldn't contain my enthusiasm. I especially enjoyed the fact it was mostly set close to home. The Shanghai scenes were awesome, with all those crazy buildings and neon lights, and Turkey was wonderfully exotic, but I just love seeing London and other parts of the UK on film. It makes them all so sparkly and exciting again. And it's fun to spot places at a glance and think "oh, oh, oh, that's Smithfield Markets!" etc, and then to see all the secretive spy world that the recognisable London scenes are hiding.

Emerging from the cinema afterwards, I confess I was perhaps a little bit hyperactive, bouncing about in my excitement over the movie. Not being in our usual neck of the woods, we had to stop to determine the best way to the nearest tube station (after the Cat turned down my suggestion of cycling, citing the frostiness and drizzling rain...). As we paused to take out our A-Z, a man approached us to ask if we could spare some money for him as he was homeless. I have to confess, I don't always help out people who approach me in the street but I was in a good mood and, weighing up in my head the fact that I had just spent £30 on cinema tickets plus drinks besides, I figured it was just plain mean not to help him out. So I pulled out my purse and gave him a few pounds. He thanked me politely and then walked off.

Once the Cat and I had worked out the most direct route to the station, we headed off up the street, running over our favourite parts of the movie. Further along, we passed a cafeteria and, as I glanced casually into it, I saw the homeless man at the counter, placing an order. I was so happy to see that my few pounds had taken him directly to get some warm food! The general population are so cynical about giving money to people in the street, saying that you never know what they're going to spend it on, often saying that it will probably go on drugs or alcohol. It's true that you don't know, and sometimes I'm sure that it doesn't get spent in the best way, but it's terrible to make that presumption about everyone who's unfortunate enough to have to beg for money.

Not only was it nice to see my change making an immediate difference to someone, it was so reaffirming to see that this man had been honest and was simply after some nourishing food. I look forward to being able to pull this story out the next time someone makes some sweeping accusation about the misguidedness of giving money directly to people in need. I just hope the poor chap went on to find somewhere safe and warm to spend the night...


  1. What a happy report on your evening with the Cat and James and your encounter with "The Streets of London" (thanks, Ralph McTell). Thank you! I understand your thinking about the money you'd been able to spend on your own night out. Special to happen across your man eating with dignity. I'm reminded of Good King Wenceslas on the Feast of Stephen (? 26 Dec) - "Thou and I shall see him dine ...". Also, if a person does spend their begged money on alcohol, can we really say much? Many of us enjoy such things as part of our everyday life. But warm food will do him more good! Blessings!