938995 fine fellows have paid their respects thus far...
Opting Out - Not Down and Out


Begging is seen as a social ill. A sorry example of the carelessness of modern society. Beggars are often ‘down and out’ exhibiting many and varied social/psychological problems.
But in other cultures (and throughout history) a person who gave up his/her worldly possessions in order to get in touch with a simpler more spiritual life was regarded as WORTHY OF RESPECT. These people chose a life of Alms, they decided to pass up all of life’s so called ‘luxuries’ and seek enlightenment through a simple existence of contemplation and meditation.

‘OPTING OUT NOT DOWN AND OUT’ would be a Documentary talking to beggars, tramps & ‘Gentlemen Of The Street’ Buddhist & Zen practitioners concerning societies attitude to its street people. Some folk ‘sign on’ but you have to have a fixed address to be in receipt of benefit. Those who support themselves but making things ‘Henna tattoos, Hair Braiding’ ‘travellers’ Gypsies Hermits & Big Issue Vendors.  

‘The BIGGEST Issue’

Beggars. There’s seemingly a growing army of ‘pavement people’ haranguing and harassing us on the street. Byres Road in Glasgow has regular ‘difficulties’ with aggressive begging.

Beggars are most often down and outs with secondary problems like drug addiction or alcohol problems. Some sell the Big Issue to supplement their state benefits, but they are not beggars, they are ‘vendors’. Others are just trying to get and extra 30 pence to buy a fish supper or a packet of fags.

But, begging is getting more pronounced and problematic, so, what’s to be done with these very visible members of an obviously disadvantaged underclass?

Some people give money, others not. Sometimes people make a scene about the level of begging and get nasty and confrontational to the cap in hand unfortunates, others give ‘selflessly’ out of Christian beliefs or simple altruism. People often give to feel better about themselves.  (The sin of pride?)

Curiously some cultures revere those that have ‘renounced’ their worldly possessions and savings. Those that have chosen to live lives unfettered by materialism… a life that allows them to ascend to a more spiritual and enlightened way of life. Buddhists Tibetan monks, Lord Lucan & that programme that Rigsby did after Rising Damp where he walked into the sea and came out with a different personality. Oh aye Reginald bastard Perrin.

The very latest corporate training/empowerment course is ‘going native’ as a beggar and living rough on the streets, surviving on hand-outs from the public and sleeping on cardboard boxes down by the back of the railway line, past the twisted railings, ‘round by the old abattoir…. Corporate types having ‘classes’ in begging. Being told how to talk/walk/swear & stagger

I’m going to renounce my flat, bank account & biscuits and go commando out on the dark dank stressed of Glasgow. I’m going to live like a fucking scrounger for a month and see what’s the fucking matter with it. 

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