Homeless Hombres #1: Meet Pete and Lloyd

During my time at the University of Brighton, I made five friends. Not acquaintances. Not people you might go to the pub with. Real friends.

Two were students at my university, Michael and Shahid.

One a Jerseyman, homeless from his teenage years, Andy.

The two whom you will be introduced today are middle-aged homeless men, Pete and Lloyd.

Also – bonus friend! – Pete and Lloyd’s dog, Bailey.

A couple of past pieces starred Andy and Pete and Lloyd and their stoned dog, but I never directly wrote about the time I spent hanging out with them.

There are a few reasons. We predominantly drank and smoked together. And they did some pretty ‘out-there’ things, many of which were highly illegal. And I did not want to compromise future job prospects by discussing these things publicly, and essentially admitting that I spent a significant chunk of my three-year university stint drinking in graveyards with homeless people. (For the record, I got a 1st in my degree…)

So, I will give you a little backstory in this piece and thereafter present you with a somewhat censored selection of Pete and Lloyd and Andy’s goings-on. You cannot but enjoy.

Pete and Lloyd, then.

Pete is about forty – he remembers his birthday but not his age. He has a warm and broad northern accent. He has a white-specked black beard, which he endeavours to keep well groomed. He is missing both front teeth. If he were to have been raised in our era, he would have been diagnosed as having profound learning difficulties. He is one of the loveliest and most loveable characters I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Bailey is originally his dog, to whom he speaks as if he were human, and is his best friend. He has been homeless for all his adult life.

Lloyd is in his fifties. He also has a broad northern accent. He has long grey hair, a shaggy grey beard and a thick nicotine-stained moustache. He has a tendency to shout random things in public, such as, “Goal-acchio!” and less understandable things, like, “It were ‘im!” He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has lived quite the adventurous life, as we shall see, and has ‘only’ spent the last twenty or so years of it on the streets.

Pete and Lloyd are best friends, a drunk and high comedy duo who have had each other’s backs for years. How and where did they meet?

Up north (which must be said with a northern drawl), Pete had fallen in with the wrong crowd. He was smoking spice, a formerly-legal high with quite devastating mental and physical side-effects. He was, according to Lloyd, a spicehead. Essentially a zombified spice-smoking husk of a human.

Lloyd was fresh out of prison on a drug dealing charge. He is an independent character, for someone who lives off public charity, and guards his territory like the drunken dog he is. He had carved out his patch on the high street for ‘tapping coin’, for begging, near to which the spiceheads splayed themselves out, smoking their poison. Lloyd has not the people skills to suffer homeless spicehead zombies trespassing upon his turf – not kindly, anyhow. (I once witnessed him kick a trespassing zombie out onto the road. He survived.)

However, Lloyd, for some unbeknownst reason, took a liking to one of the spiceheads – and his puppy. Lloyd plucked Pete from the bad crowd, and weaned him off of the evil synthetic weed; with hashish, no less. And Lloyd nigh-on adopted Pete’s puppy, Bailey.

Therefrom sprung their relationship. Pete grateful to Lloyd for believing in and nurturing him. Lloyd grateful to Pete for being a companion he could actually put up with. Mostly.

So, a few years later, during a particularly harsh winter up north, the duo decided on making a move down south, where the weather is warmer and the coin-tapping easier.

To Brighton! With a sterling reputation for beggary, and arguably the highest rate of homelessness in the country, it is a Mecca for the vagrants and vagabonds of the United Kingdom. It is quite true to its reputation, catering to all destitute sorts, by way of charity, tent pitch, or drugs – all of which will be recurring themes in upcoming pieces.

Brighton will be the main stage for our future reminiscences.

Until then, stay classy shags.

4 thoughts on “Homeless Hombres #1: Meet Pete and Lloyd

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