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A lexicon of homeless industry jargon: No. 2

May 20th 2009
Smoking The recreational smoking of tobacco is rapidly joining many other activities that are popular with our readership (sleeping outdoors and drinking in parks) that are fast becoming reviled and illegal. Despite this, those on the streets or in hostels seem keener than ever on smoking. I, for one, find it refreshing in these repressive times to see that at least one sector of society have refused to cave in to this political and social pressure and still see smoking for what it is: a sociable, harmless ("experts" may disagree) and relaxing way to kill six to seven minutes. But why is it that the homeless still smoke so much? Well cigarettes are just plain moreish, but also the homeless spend a large amount of time in areas/buildings where smoking is not discouraged. In fact hostels, where many spend a large amount of their time, are probably one of the most smoke-friendly places left (except, of course, the park bench). When once asking why this is, I was given the simple yet devastatingly valid reason: Any hostel that banned smoking would empty within three days. And those working in hostels should be glad of their resident's particular smoky ways - they smoke their own hand-rolled special blend. For this reason, hostel workers rarely need to empty any of the ashtrays as any butts left in them will be hoovered up by someone roaming the hostel armed with a Rizla and an unquenchable thirst for sweet tarry nicotine. Usually within minutes of the butt being put there. On a serious note, we all know smoking is not good for your health, but the next time you see someone begging, and you've just passed a 'Killing with Kindness' poster, or you're too much of a tightwad to share your wealth, try protecting your wallet and liberal reputation by giving them a cigarette. Dogging: When used in homeless circles this does not refer to the tabloid definition of a washed-up footballer or soap star hanging around in a wooded picnic area in the Midlands waiting to have sex with a "reader's wife" in the back of a Vauxhall Chevette. Rather, it is the practice of collecting discarded cigarette butts and taking the remaining tobacco from each one until you have enough to make a roll-up. Swooping: As with dogging, but describing the action of 'swooping' down on butts left on the pavement. Dive bombing: An antiquated expression dating back to WWII, meaning much the same as swooping. "If you want a smoke, Skip, walk by some bus stops and dive bomb for a few minutes."

October 2006



Another Marylebone? Rough sleepers evicted from St Luke's

The long march

Christmas comes early at WCC

It's harder for homeless couples

Soup run furore

Rough sleeper murdered

Surrey Street... again!

Ex-homeless set up outreach

Rumour control

Murder at Marble Arch

Planning application Crisis

Homeless World Cup report

Toilet fumes at CSTM

Alternatives to hostels: No. 2 - Dome Village, USA

Sleep Less Rough tests

Legal lounge: Disability Living Allowance

Oi, mate, I'm A8: alcohol

Picking over the bones of addiction: opiate users

A lexicon of homeless industry jargon: No. 2


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