Tent Town Glasgow

© Tent Town Mark Mutch O'Hare

© Tent Town Mark Mutch O’Hare

Sometimes when out and about with your camera, you see things that people are ignorantly blind to. Today I find myself in the stunning George Square in Glasgow City Center, In the far corner next to the intimidating city chambers I spot a make shift camp site, thinking Justin Bieber tickets must be on sale or something similar, I make my way over because I know there are some good shots waiting on me. When I get here I see people walking past trying to pretend everything was normal and what was unfolding was nothing to do with them.

I see colours , people and a tent that looks to be serving food, the beautiful colours of the National flag the Saltire catch my eye, and beside it a man made sign made from scrap material saying “Tent Town”. I immediately snap away but in the back of my mind I already know what a tent town is, and it’s nothing to do with Justin Bieber, the complete opposite. A Tent Town is a temporary housing facility made using tents or other temporary structures. I stall for a bit thinking about the frowns of street photographers who argue that such images are poverty porn, however I think this project needs a positive and welcome honest view on it, because no doubt the PR team in the intimidating building beside it are working day and night trying to tarnish what is fantastic idea. One that I feel should receive as much support a possible.

Just when I raise my camera once more, a few faces notice me, well it wouldn’t be hard, I mean I am standing with a huge DSLR camera and lens, hardly Mr invisible. Dam I think, i wish had my sneaky wee Fuji camera to let me go stealth. “Are you media, mate?” an inquisitive voice asks. I shake my head and say “no, no not me bud!”, as though the fella had just disrespected my wife. I then think hey I could get some great shots here and write a wee blog to help promote this amazing project. The guy comes over and I start chatting and ask if its okay for me to get a few snaps, “Yeah, don’t see why not! the friendly welcoming guy chirped back”. “but better ask first mate, as some of these guys are occupy Glasgow, or anonymous so you can understand if they are a bit camera shy”.

I haven’t had much dealings with anonymous, and if the media was to believed they would carve me up and roast me over their make shift stove 🙂 , then infiltrate my hard drives and declare cyber warfare on me. Ha-ha, but nothing could be further from the truth, a lovely passionate group of people awaited me, and I like this, I like this a lot. Sadly we live in a world where armchair cyber activist reside. We all know the sorts, the zoomers who make ridiculous memes and greet on facebook and twitter about helping our own before we help those dam refugees, the ones who say f##K helping a refugee when we have our own homeless to care for. We have war veterans to look out for blah blah blah zzzzzz. Yet when you challenge the fools and ask what they are doing about our own homeless they shrink back into the dark realms of cyber obscurity. Yeah those zoomers.

I am aware that only a few are happy to be snapped hence the same photos of the same people. Sadly they tell me stories of Police harassment and intimidation for being where they are, and behind the scenes Glasgow City Council are preparing legal proceedings to get them to move along, nothing to see here, that society is used to and participates in. I do hope they hang around enough for GCC to do something productive rather than waste thousands of pounds to challenge their peaceful and welcome protest through  legal channels.

Homelessness exists world wide, and is rife in our city’s up and down these islands. It’s mind blowing to have it in this part of the world, Glasgow should be streaming in wealth in potential but it’s not, that is a different story, or one for another day. But I think it’s unacceptable this day in age. Clearly not enough is being done to challenge it, no matter what policy or procedure we are force-fed to believe happens. The proof is in this tent town and the inspirational people working hard to keep it where it is, resisting intimidation and the faceless bureaucracy hoping to crush it.

We need to support this project in any way we can, pop by, say hello, donate jackets, tents, blankets, food, signatures what ever you can. If enough people let those who  portray that they need to  be obeyed, that we support our homeless and want more done, then they will need to do something. Or, we can go back to pretending we care, sit on facebook and twitter and make bullshite memes up about our homeless war veterans and people,  pretend we have our social conscience that we must help our own before others…and be blissfully ignorant about what is happening right before our eyes, or put our money where our mouth is… SUPPORT those who are not arm chair do gooders, the ones standing in the city center, the ones sleeping on a patch of public grass doing no wrong, the ones challenging those in power….the ones simply asking for more help for the homeless.

Personally I support them and I wish them a long and positive stay in one of the greatest city’s on Earth…I hope they get the support and positive press they deserve, free from intimidation and legal shenanigans. But most of all I hope the people of the city support them also, after all a lot of your facebook pages are filled full of sanctimonious shite about how you want these very people helped, now’s your chance!.

here is a link to their facebook page TENT TOWN