Thursday, October 21, 2004

A proposal to Tennents Lager.

Originally uploaded by LIFE OF REILLY.

Lets face it. In London there are lots of homeless people. It sucks. I hate it when people fall through the gaps in society. When I found out about the story behind the magazine “The Big Issue” I thought, what a good idea to give homeless people a break. Mind you when I buy a copy I always look to see if there is a can in the back pocket. I usually resist to give my change to a person who is just going to spend it on Tennents Super. I’d rather give them a sandwich. But it irks me all the same that this really strong booze is available anywhere and its pretty cheap, and lethal. It’s not really helping homeless people in the slightest. Now I always look to see what homeless people who are alkies drink. Mostly Tennents Super, Carlsberg Special, and Diamond White cider. ( I’ve had a night on Diamond White when I first got to the country by accident. I like cider and bought the first thing I saw. Fuck its strong. I quite liked it, but I pretty much turned into a Mutant, so now I give it the big body swerve.) Ok then, back to the idea in hand. I then came across a book by Bill Drummond. The multi-talented co founder of the KLF. The guys who burned a million quid. (Now that’s art!) The book is called ‘45.’ I read it in two days.It’s a brilliant piece of writing and I totally recommend it to anyone. There is a story, and while I’m not going to give away its contents, it involved a cube made of of 6,250 cans of Tennents Super. Here’s the quote from that story that stuck in my craw.

“He took it in himself to see if Tennents would be interested in getting involved in some way. Maybe they would like to offer some sponsorship in exchange for upping the media profile of their superior strong lager, the way Becks or Absolut have used the sponsorship of art in an attempt to up their hipness. Tennents declined. They stated that Tennents Super is primarily drunk by ‘street drinkers*’ and Afro-Caribbeans, and that neither of these niche markets could be reached through advertising and sponsorship.”

*This is Tennents description of whose people that buy their strong booze.

The fact that Tennents admits that it’s core market for T.Super is homeless people, yet feels no moral obligation to the people who are probably out on the streets because of it. It’s enough to make me puke. (Or T.Super, which I haven’t tried, which will probably also make me puke.) Then I bought a little book, by another social commentator that I have a lot of respect for. Bansky. He’s an amazing stencil artist, who in my eyes, is right on the money when pictures do say 1,000 words. His work is everywhere. He also had a quote in one of his books, that went like this.

“Isn’t it ironic that homeless people drink Tennents.”

Tenants of the street drink Tennents. How fucking ironic. The people who most need a tenancy consuming Tennents, to block out their shitty life on the streets. These two quotes stewed around in my brain for a wee while until today. I was walking to the bus, and I saw the same group of homeless people that I see everyday. They reminded me of the buskers in the tube with their little patch of space sponsored by Carling. Then a light went on in my head. Why don’t Tennents such sponsor homeless people’s begging spots. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning the promotion of alcoholism, but I’ve done my homework on this one. Only roughly 10% of people who go through a 12-step type of rehab stay sober for a year and out of that 10%, 2% stay sober. Pretty frightening stuff really. So I’m coming from a more harm prevention kinda angle.) Tennents should give them little tents, and a sleeping bag and some food. Like a loyalty scheme. Say 10 barcodes gets you some staple, non-perishable food. 20 barcodes gets you a sleeping bag. 50 barcodes gets you a one man tent. 100 barcodes gets you a key to a large box, which doubles as 4 mini Tennents billboards, which is actually a little self contained, soundproof home. It would provide a solution to house homeless alkies. Give them food, warmth and shelter. The Tennents Tenants would then get a visit from a rep to ask them if they wanted to go on a job scheme sponsored by you guessed it...Tennents. They could get jobs as delivery men (provided they were not blind drunk). Or maybe building other Tennents Homes for future tenants. Maybe these incentives might just make make a difference and give them enough dignity and self worth to make something out of their lives, and get off the streets. Somehow I think Tennents might not go for this idea, but I might email to them and see what happens.