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.
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"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?"