Carolling with the band always gives you time to think. Largely I felt quite sad last night as the passers by hurried home. Two drunks tried to converse with me. One a Chinese guy that made very little sense to me for what seemed eternity. The comedy of the moment not lost on the city commuters as he asked me for directions to the millennium dome with a mixture of sign language and extremely loud and broken English. But it was Matty that upset me.
Matty used to come to our Youth Club - and whenever I see him now he is hammered. I tried talking to this swaying 15 year old, his drink filled eyes struggling to make the effort to focus. As he staggered his way through the crowds I couldn't help thinking about Marcus and the conversation I had with him a couple of weeks ago; about when he started to drink heavily as a 15 year old; about how his mother can't have him in the house; about how he now has a car that he bought for Â£10 to sleep in. I couldn't help thinking about Ralph, Tommy, Michael and a whole host of alcoholics whose livers have packed in or have died because of their lives of alcohol.
As I watched Matty I couldn't help feeling sad. I hope Matty comes back to youth club so I can tell him about the friends I once knew.