Audio Stories

‘Emerging Writer’ Paul Atherton FRSA.

Reported by Paul

Published on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

Creativity Service Delivery
Audio Stories

‘Emerging Writer’ Paul Atherton FRSA.

Written by Paul

Published on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021


Service Delivery


 Audio Transcription

It’s Thursday, the 1st of July, 20, 21. I have become a member of the London Library today as part of its emerging writers program, an open call that just under a thousand applicants made, 40 were selected, of which I was one. It was a great sensation. I was in an institute where Charles Dickens used to write. And he wrote ‘A Tale of Two Cities and Those That Know Me’ is the title of the cartoon I did for the Pavement, came from the opening lines ‘The Best of Times’. The worst of times. And so it is that I find myself in a very similar situation. Sitting as I was in the library going, this is fantastic, isn’t this brilliant? I’m about to start writing my autobiography, which people have been hounding me for since I was about 10 years old.

And at the same time, I discover all of my benefits, these are my disability benefits have once again been stopped. My employment support allowance was stopped last October. Various people have been involved in that, trying to get that sorted out, including my MP Nicky Aitkin here in Westminster, charity. support workers in various guises, lawyers in various guises, support of other organisations who I’m a member of all trying to rally around to get the DWP to do the job that it’s supposed to be doing. And all of whom have failed dismally. And the last and most important one is Westminster Council.

Now, I have now been residing in in ‘Everyone In’ accommodation since ‘Everyone In’ started last April. And I’m in different accommodation to what I started off in, it’s a lot worse than the accommodation I was in previously in, but I was supposed to be here for three week so myself and the hotel manager decided not solve the problems of not having a table and all the other things I’ve talked about previously.

But it just made me wonder what a strange world we inhabit. Amazon was caught throwing millions and millions of pounds worth of goods out last week. And they were like, oh, yeah, well, we’ll try and stop doing that. And yet here we are with a benefit system that is so broken that it accepts that, oh, well, disabled people, it doesn’t matter if they can’t eat for a year. And then we have a council that’s going, oh, well, we can’t house you because you’ve got no money and we can’t fix that.

And then we’ve got MPs who are going ‘well, you know, we’re just figureheads really.’ And then you got lawyers going, well,’ we’re only going to work for legal aid so we’re not going to actually do anything to completion, which leaves anybody in the system completely screwed. And the bizarre thing is that all the people that i you know, through sort of Arts and Homelessness International, through David Tovey, through the Museum of  Homelessness., you know, everybody is doing amazing work across the board and the one thing that’s preventing them from being creative and contributing to society is the very insurance safety net that is purely there to allow people to survive.

And until we get that fixed, ladies and gentlemen, this is going to get worse and worse and worse and worse. And to be in a country where multibillion just turned over a trillion now, organisation can throw away millions of pounds of goods just on a whim just because well, you know, we’ve got stuff left over. We know we want to keep up the illusion of demand in exactly the same way, ironically, as De Bears do for diamonds. If De Bears released all the diamonds they hold hidden in stock diamonds would be literally worthless overnight. And we do, we create this really strange society we inhabit where money is absolutely everything and human beings mean nothing. And I remember doing economics when I was in school and the question was posed, why do we put a value on diamonds that are worthless and believe water should be free that is absolutely essential to life. And it’s a question I pondered all through my life, and I’ve never really grasped it because I think water is way more important than diamonds, but there are people in society that clearly disagree.

And so there you have it, I am I am an emerging writer, I have projects coming out of the wazoo at the moment. I’ve got Arts Council England funding to get displaced, tested and off the ground. I’m an emerging writer, Mike Stokoe, and my cartoon is coming out in the pavement. The final instalment a couple of days.

But again, part of the problem is that so many people have promised to help and they never deliver. And lots of these organisations are surprising because they you know, the organisations you expect to rally around. The Royal Society of Arts, whose facets is… One of the major facets, is universal basic income and the other is homelessness, have never corrected my blog and have never distributed as they promised they would, mainly because it criticises the third sector and they don’t want to be seen as criticising the third sector. The Orwell Prize promised to publish a blog of mine that was writing about how important, you know, that kind of submission and that presentation is. And again, they you know, they’ve got wrapped up in their own thing and haven’t delivered.

And these things are important because there are so few good wins available to you when you’ve got no money, got no food, got no support, got no nursing care that you’re supposed to have. You know, you’re constantly looking for those little wins, those things that keep you getting up every morning. And when people say something that they’re going to do and then don’t deliver, they are a thousand times more devastating than it would be if you had all those things that other people just accept as norms. So here we are. A life of two tales, one, my creative side, progressing, producing and improving. And the other side, the public sector side, failed, dismal, evil and attempting in all its parts to stop me being a contributor to society.



This is the announcement that I was one of just 40 applicants selected out a near 1,000 to join the London Library Emerging Writers programme.

The Pavement Magazine Mike Stokoe – July’s Edition


Cartoon Museum Blog


Previous Blog about Accomodation


Amazon throwing £1million goods away


Disabled People Left To Die


Lawyers involved and stalled from doing anything due to Legal Aid


Arts & Homelessness International




David Tovey


Amazon now a Trillion Dollar Company


DeBeers Diamonds Scam


Water/Diamonds The Paradox of Value


People who let me down, who shouldn’t


RSA Blog – errors and never promoted as promised


Orwell Prize Blog – told they would promote this blog as I didn’t make the shortlist – never did


An organisation that let me down, that was just a disappointment

W1 Curates – offered to support then ghosted me.


The creative successes in the past week  Producing Amy Kingsmill’s Light Source



Emerging Writers London Library


Arts Council England Funding


And Museum of London/Brunel University with the Museum of Homelessness


Written by Paul

Paul Atherton FRSA is a social campaigning film-maker, playwrightauthor & artist. His work has been screened on the Coca-Cola Billboard on Piccadilly Circus, premiered at the Leicester Square Odeon Cinema, his video-diary has been collected into the permanent collection of the Museum of London, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was selected as one of the London Library's 2021/22 emerging writers during covid lockdown, where he is currently writing his memoir.

He achieved most of this whilst homeless, an ongoing experience that has been his life for over a decade in London. In the last two years he’s made Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 his bedroom and became part of what he coined the #HeathrowHomeless before being moved into emergency hotel accommodation for the duration of Covid-Lockdown in Marylebone on 3rd April 2020.

In the past ten years he’s experienced every homeless initiative that Charities, Local Authorities and the City has had to offer. All of which clearly failed.

With the end of “Everyone In”, Paul has no idea where his next move is going to be, but he expects he’ll be returning to Heathrow.

Read all of Paul's articles


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