Saturday, 6 August 2011

BBC: "On the trail of George Orwell’s outcasts"

Some 80 years after George Orwell chronicled the lives of the hard-up and destitute in his book Down and Out in Paris and London, what has changed? Retracing the writer's footsteps, Emma Jane Kirby finds the hallmarks of poverty identified by Orwell - addiction, exhaustion and, often, a quiet dignity - are as apparent now as they were then.

Link to BBC web site

"What was it that Orwell said? 'Change places and handy dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief?'

"I am instantly struck by the civility of the meal time. A tattooed and very inebriated punk knocks over an elderly lady's walking frame as he staggers to find a free seat. He apologises, asks if the seat beside her is taken and then appears to engage her in polite conversation. When he is served a plate of Mediterranean vegetable pasta by the charming French chef, he thanks her profusely and leaning towards the Polish man opposite him asks if he would kindly pass the salt?"

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