Gatherings of tramps around barrels of burning tar are about to become much quieter and more subdued affairs, as the Government warns of a drastic shortage of petroleum-based refreshments.
Wino spokesman Pete Marnham has decried the lack of foresight that is allowing this to happen, “just as the evenings are drawing in and you need that warm feeling” that only a draught of undiluted toluene can provide. He says convivial gatherings of derelicts need that breaking down of interpersonal barriers which only industrial solvents can bring about.
However, fellow tramp Arthur Meadley recalls the last shortage with fondness, saying it helped him to take stock and recharge his batteries. He says the six weeks drinking nothing stronger than Special Brew and cooking sherry was the most serene and lucid period of his life. “Without that break, I don't think I'd have had the strength to spend the last ten years shitting my pants every day and screaming at the traffic”, he says.