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TOPIC: How George Orwell is still helping us talk about homelessness

How George Orwell is still helping us talk about homelessness 06 Jun 2018 06:39 #8419

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‘Down and Out: Live’ sees Orwell’s memoir read aloud by figures including Simon Callow, Jon Snow and Jack Monroe, alongside real-life accounts of homelessness. Its director, Hannah Price, explains why this book is as illuminating as ever

Hannah Price

Orwell’s desire ‘to see things as they are’ consistently led him towards the people most affected by vast social injustices ( AP )
Down and Out in Paris and London is an extraordinary and curious book: beautifully phrased, meticulous, honest and funny. George Orwell’s 1933 memoir, and a study of poverty, is a book both rooted in its era and able to transcend it.

Orwell is a renowned progressive thinker, yet his good intentions occasionally mask questionable practises. When he sells his “gentlemen’s clothes” to adopt the costume of the “poor”, a modern audience can’t help but query this methodology, for instance.

Yet this is a book that has inspired countless people to try to understand the personal and political issues at the heart of homelessness – and continues to do so today.

After reading the book as a young man, my own father was moved to sleep in a shop doorway on the streets of Exeter and was horrified by what he experienced. He carried this sense of injustice through his working life, even creating a scheme connecting companies with charities to establish temporary shelters in disused office buildings

Read More Here;
www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/down-and-out-live-george-orwell-paris-london-homelessness-poverty-a8383106.html
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How George Orwell is still helping us talk about homelessness 08 Jun 2018 19:37 #8509

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As with most of George Orwell's material it is a damn good read. I remember it well and must have been 25 years+ since I read this and the related Road to Wigan Pier. In particular the dubious practices of some restaurants sticks in my mind. I have a pretty good idea how far wearing gentleman's clothes would have got him trying to blend in and look authentic. Orwell would otherwise probably also have come across as an obvious investigator when he went looking for a job in the black economy.
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