Personal blog, Stardate: October 2019.
It’s going to take me a bit of time to get settled in my new place, let alone sort out the wi-fi. I’ve never had to set up wi-fi before and will need to figure out if I’m going to be able to afford it or not. (Recommendations welcome). I hate goodbyes, so I’ve scheduled this post to go out in the evening once I’ve moved. Hopefully I’ll be back online soon. Reasonably sure the internet will survive without me for a bit.
The transition to Universal Credit’s been an absolute nightmare until today, when I finally encountered a human being with the magick keys to actually help me.
For those who don’t know, long story short, I’ve been sofasurfing for most of the last ten years, relying on friends and family for shelter (and wifi). This has become untenable. I’ve been running around like a mad thing for weeks now trying to find a place that will accept the local housing allowance rates and had managed to find ONE landlord who would accept me, with ONE place, which they’ve been holding for me.
The housing people had said they would cover the moving in costs but then refused my application because I’m not already on housing benefit, which apparently no longer exists for new claimants, meaning I had to transition to Universal Credit and ‘activate’ the housing component of that claim.
I started the process, which is a nightmare and would likely leave me £100 a month worse off. There are few humans involved once you start the transition to Universal Credit. The humans you do encounter are there to refer you to a website that doesn’t work. At one point, I was given a number for a citizen’s advice line to help with the website which doesn’t work. I called them and it launched straight into an automated customer satisfaction survey, conducted by a robot voiceover. I clicked whatever the least satisfied option was half a dozen times and then the automated voice thanked me and the line went dead. So I tried the Universal Credit helpline. After some days of listening to a few bars of ‘Ode to Joy’ on repeat, (I’ve lost count now but it’s been weeks since I started the process) and much ping-ponging back and forth between different departments, I finally got a meeting scheduled with a human being, after the weekend. I called the landlord to explain the delay. They were cool, and said they’d hold the place a bit longer for me.
When I finally get to talk to the human being face to face, they explained that because I’m on Employment Support Allowance, I can’t transition to Universal Credit and the housing *had* to help me. (emphasis theirs).
This ping pong, back and forth chicanery was wearing now. I’d been here before, when I was younger and fitter. I knew it could just go on forever if they let it. I could have sworn one of the humans I got through to on the phone was laughing as they suggested I try the local credit union for a loan. I’d asked the bank but the rate they’d agreed on the application was 24.9% and they hadn’t gotten back to me, so I figure it was refused. I was getting increasingly concerned that I was going to lose this, the only place that I could get on LHA, (which looks pretty good actually).
It’s not that far of a walk but going back and forth between the two offices had pushed me to the limits of my pain threshold and mobility. At some point I lost my rag with one of them. I had a handwritten note from one to the other explaining their position but the computer still said no. I was basically begging them to just pick up the phone that was right there in front of us and simply talk to each other, because it was killing me.
After a lot of deep breathing and some more pingponging, I finally won in the end. Or, more realistically, I finally encountered a human being with the magick keys, the understanding and the compassion to help sort it all out. It turned out it wasn’t anybody’s fault. It was the system’s fault. We figured it out, they’ve given me a loan to move in. I’m not going to lose the £100 a month. Apparently. I’ve spoken with the landlord, it’s all go, hooray! Happy ending! As demeaning as the taste of boot can be, it’s good to know that there are still good humans within the system. Everyone else I’d spoken to wanted to help me, they just couldn’t. They weren’t allowed to.
I made one final trek back to the housing, found the person I’d lost my rag with and apologised, tried to explain myself as best I could. They accepted my apology gracefully and with understanding. I’ve spoken with the landlord. They’re holding the place. We’ve just got to do the paperwork and by the time you read this, I should have moved in and will be shitting myself about how much Universal Credit I’m going to get to survive on in five weeks time, because apparently they can’t tell you what you’ll get until then…
Anyway dear reader, the point of me sharing all this with you, is to thank you all for your patience with me through what has been a difficult time and for your support, kind words and encouragement. It’s been an absolute fucker and I have become intemperate at times. Sorry. I’m hoping that having my own space without internet (for a bit) will give me time to properly reflect in a looong cycle of praxis. I won’t lie though, it’s going to be a bit scary not having internet. Seriously though…I’ll miss you guys…briefly…
Massive, singular thanks to the comrades who’ve shared their internet with me for the last decade or so. You shall be revered for your generosity in the anarcho-socialist utopia and I love you all loads and will doubtless be round to borrow your bandwidth again soon, but I do need to sort my own out, somehow.
I know I’ve lost a lot of people this year by quitting XR and speaking critically of them. That’s a shame but it’s their loss, ultimately. It’s been reassuring to know that I’m not alone and that others are aware of the dangers their ‘leadership’ represent and are acting accordingly. I know I’ve also lost a few people because I’m increasingly drawn to vote, for Corbyn’s Labour party. I think that’s silly. Corbz is an ally to the causes of truth, justice, freedom and anti-fascism. He offers an infinitely more tolerable government.
Hoping that some time by myself will get my creative juices flowing again and I’ll be able to start focusing on what I can most effectively do with myself, my ‘skills’ and interests, rather than just becoming another jaded, cynical old bastard, moaning at the state of everything on twitter 24/7 and waiting to die…
Think I’m veering towards writing more, with words and sentences and paragraphs. Possibly chapters. Possibly bars.
Would really like to develop Post-Satire into a regular, weekly or monthly internet show – think realistically I’d need regular collaborators to do it justice though. I’m not funny enough on my own. Particularly, I’d need good voice actors, (or possibly actual actors) but also mostly just good comedy writers to jam with. In a post-satire, sort of bleak, dystopian horror, Chris Morris jamming with Charlie Brooker, via Sarah Pascoe sort of stylee… Black Mirror meets The Thick of It.
Am also increasingly interested in a deeper exploration of what a Survival Rebellion might actually look like, if it wasn’t just a cheeky twitter account…I rarely mention my preps to anyone except friends and family (because you get funny looks) but perhaps now is the time to start sharing what I’ve learned so far in terms of what’s going to be required of us in terms of proper preparedness and deep adaptation.
Maybe that’s what all this Brexshit mullarkey’s been about from the start. They literally don’t know how to just tell us stuff as it is, (ie: We’ve passed the rubicon in terms of species dieoffs, ecological collapse, climate collapse, extreme weather disasters, so we should all be preparing for the worst in terms of both hydrological and temperature based consequences with the distinct possibility of global warfare and nuclear exchanges)…it’s too scary and foreign a concept for them to just tell us this horror. They’re terrified that we’ll get the pitchforks and guillotines out, so they have to fuck about with cultural programming and psychological warfare instead. All this “prepare for ‘Brexit’ ” and “civil war” bollocks. They’re determined to get “the 52%” and “the 48%” fighting with each other in the streets so they can fuck off to their bunkers when they start the war they’re priming us all for. They must know though, deep down they must know that really, it was the 37% and the 35% versus the 28% who didn’t vote…
So anyway, yeah, I’ll be offline for a bit while I sort my shit out. Thinking about myself and my place in the world. Practicing self care. Reflecting. Meditating. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be back soon. Hopefully before the end of everything.
Peace, love, respect.
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