MAN ON BENCH: A SOLDIER’S STORY (with David Tovey and Bastille’s Dan Smith)

The number of people sleeping rough in London has almost trebled in the last ten years, with an estimated two in ten ex-servicemen ending up on the streets. Users of food banks in the UK have more than doubled in the same period. Why is our society failing it’s most vulnerable so badly?

Blaine sits down with David Tovey, a former chef in the armed forces and survivor of homeless, to find out what led him to set up the One Festival of Homeless arts. David also recalls the heartening story of how a park enforcement officer saved his life, and how the experience had a powerful impact on his own art.

This week’s opening thought features Bastille's Dan Smith reading an excerpt from Paul Auster’s 1999 essay ‘Reflections on a Cardboard Box’, recorded especially for TWFF. It’s lovely to have Dan on the pod.

David’s instagram is the best place to catch a first glimpse of his artworks as they emerge. And the excellent re-orchestrated version of Bastille’s award winning album ‘Doom Days’ is out now. Links below!

At the end of this episode you will hear ‘Endless City’ from Mystery Jets’ critically-acclaimed new album ‘A Billion Heartbeats’. You can buy and stream the album here.

This episode of ‘Things Worth Fighting For’ was brought to you by Acast and produced with Matthew Twaites. Thanks to Courtney Aiesha Mortimer at UROK for production assistance and coordination. 


Paul Auster: ‘Reflections on a Cardboard Box’

Catch up on Dan Smith’s ‘Distraction Tactics’ Book and Film Club (Instagram)

Bastille Store

Streets of

David Tovey Art

The One Festival of Homeless Arts

David Tovey on Mystery Jets’ Speakers’ Corner (Youtube)

Learn about Help for Heroes

Support Veterans Aid

Listen: Stuart Semple investigates hostile architecture (BBC Sounds)

Sarah Ross: ‘Archisuits’

Listen: Gavin Bryars’ Haunting ‘Jesus Blood Never Failed me Yet’ (Youtube)

Follow Streetwise Opera

Listen’: Off the Beat and Track’ podcast, feat. Orlando Weeks (Acast)

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