Sometimes, people do things that can only be called bizarre just to raise awareness for a cause that may only be tangentially related to their actions. Case in point: The Ice Bucket Challenge. What exactly does throwing ice water over your head have to do with Lou Gehrig’s Disease? Well, nothing, really. But, for whatever reason, it looks like there’s been a rise in stunts like these happening in Britain. This will cover a lot of ground, and I will have no segues in this one.
Man donates £200,000 of gold to charity.
An anonymous man in Derbyshire decided to sell his house and revealed that he had kept a hoard of £200,000 worth of gold ingots, ring, and soverigns in a box in his bathroom.
During a public valuation day at Charles Hanson’s auction house in Derbyshire, the man pulled out a shoddy-looking bag that contained the golden hoard. And given the scene in Three Kings where our heroes shove lots of gold bars into several carry-on bags, which burst the moment they try to move it, it’s easy to see why the bag would wind up in such poor condition. Of course, going from my calculations (according to XE.com in particular), the gold would most likely weigh about 7 kg, with a volume a little bigger than a beer bottle, and so it wouldn’t be so dramatic. Hanson said it “resembled a modern-day Saxon hoard”, containing 600 gold sovereigns, half-sovereigns, cigarette cases, Krugerrands, ingots and wedding bands. When asked where it was, he said “Under my bath.”
When asked why he was selling his hoard, he said he didn’t fall on hard times, but said that he was inspired by the example of Jesus, who said “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” He decided to donate all the money he made from the sale to charity. The charity, like the man, has remained anonymous.
The collection was sold and over £200,000 was given. Quoth Isabel Murtough: “The collection was broken down and sold as 200 lots. We had a 100 per cent sale rate. There were dozens of different buyers, including telephone and internet bidders, but the majority of lots were bought by a man in the room who was from London. The collection included some lovely pieces. Two of the cigarette cases were very attractive, one by Asprey and another by Garrard and Co. Gold can go up and down in value but it is a very desirable investment at the moment. Gold sovereigns are a very good investment. Five years ago most sovereigns were selling for around £40 but now those same coins can fetch up to £160.”
Quoth Hanson: “For one small Derbyshire concern it will make a world of difference and guarantee its longevity in the years to come.”
People raise £9000 for people living in Heathrow Airport.
I’ve heard stories about people living in airports before, like the Iranian refugee who lived in De Gaulle Airport in Paris for 18 years, partly because of diplomatic red tape and partly because he was so used to it that he didn’t want to leave. But this may be the first time I’ve heard of people doing it for reasons unrelated to travel.
Alan Lane and Katrina Smith were pensioners who once had lucrative lives. Alan once made £80,000 a year as a consultant, and Katrina was a nanny. Then Alan lost a lucrative contract and the two couldn’t afford to pay their mortgage. They rented until that became too expensive for them. Eventually they wound up dividing their time between a bed and breakfast where they pay £50 a night (on the weekends), and Heathrow Airport, where they spend their time watching TV dramas on their mobile phones, and moving to and from various terminals. Alan still operates his consultancy out of a coffee shop, keeping the two alive.
I’m not entirely sure how long they kept this up, but recently, The Daily Mail noticed their plight and had people offer their support and even some spare rooms. A Go Fund Me page was set up by someone that amassed £9060 in less than a day.
Quoth Katrina Smith: “We’re just totally bowled over and gobsmacked. We’re trying to get our heads around it. People in this country are just great. It’s amazing and totally renews faith in the human spirit.”
Nicest Man in Britain hands £5 notes to 73 random people.
In my Non-Anglotopia life, I sometimes read comics. One of the most fascinatingly weird ones is a miniseries called Marville, a comic that started out as an unfunny parody comic (the kind that includes Ted Turner chopping a meteor in half using the Atlanta Braves tomahawk chop), but wound up becoming a comic of ideas. Unfortunately, these ideas ranged from the dodgy to the utterly insane. One of the merely dodgy ideas involved Our Hero’s plan to end poverty: handing out $100 bills to random strangers, and since he won $200 million under circumstances too idiotic to describe here, he can hand out 300 Benjamins 5 days a week and still have more spending money in a week than 73% of Americans earn in a year without even touching the principal. In New York City, a city of seven million people where house prices alone can be in the millions. I bring this up because Luke Cameron of Cheltenham did something similar.
Last year, in memory of a dead friend, 26-year-old shop assistant Luke Cameron resolved to do a good deed every day for a year. 365 good deeds and 11,000 followers later, he decided to finish his year with the piece de resistance: he handed out £365 to 73 random people on the streets of Cheltenham. One pound for every day in 2014.
Astonishingly, some people said they didn’t want or need it. But, in his words: “Some were even slightly sceptical,” he said. “But most hugged me or cheered.” He even filmed it, so we’ve got video:
Financier leaves his job to become a full-time Zombie.
One really has to wonder what it was like that day when Alex Noble of Cardiff handed in his notice to his boss, claiming he was giving up a potentially lucrative career in finance to pursue a career as a professional zombie. Quoth Alex Noble: “It took quite a bit of explaining – I don’t think my boss really understood. When I told my friends, they thought I was giving up a stable career on a whim. A lot of people will be happy doing their job for 20 years, but opportunity only knocks once.”
But his plan makes more sense than it would seem at first glance: he was hired as a trainer by Slingshot, which runs an event called 2.8 Hours Later.
2.8 Hours Later is a game where people in a certain city live out a zombie apocalypse fantasy, and, after completing a mission that involves fighting criminals and zombies in a very infected part of town to save the only uninfected children on earth, and finding a designated safe house, they party down with the living dead, assuming they hadn’t been taken down by the zombie horde.
Quoth Alex: “I have always been into zombies. I started off doing quite a bit of extras work. Most of it was unpaid, but then my hobby grew into a job.”
For five years, he volunteered as a zombie in films, but apparently: “People started noticing me, because I was doing things differently. I had a niche look and I was doing the movements and noises differently.”
He now runs zombie school for those people who participate in the game. And with 60 zombie volunteers per night and 5 nights at a certain city, he can regularly have 300 zombie students. The week before the event, the training involves a presentation about the game, choreography lessions, and health and safety tips. Given all the things zombies would have to deal with that zombie movies rarely touch upon (from putrefying in the Liverpool and Leeds sun to being eaten ‘alive’ by insects the insensate dead can’t shoo away to walking into danger they didn’t notice), this is more important than you might think. Quoth the zombie tutors: “Health and safety is paramount. I always try to identify the alpha males because they can get too competitive. If you give them a mask, cover them in blood and ask them to chase someone, they can get carried away. The best zombies might not be the fastest, they are the ones that make the character really real… It is quite physically demanding – I do training in the gym to keep fit. Some actors who are used to working in movies find it difficult, because with a film, you shoot your scene and that’s it for the day. In this game, you have 600 plus people sprinting around at full pelt for three hours and you can’t break character at all.”
Each night (2.8 Hours Later usually stays in town for four or five nights) requires 60 volunters, 12 actors, 12 stage managers, 10 crew members, 5 make-up artists, security staff and bartenders for the zombie disco afterparty.
When describing the zombie makeup process, Alex said: “Firstly, we make the skin pale and add shadow to the eyes to make them look really ill. Then we add veins and splatter them with blood in our splatter booth, which is like a field hospital tent where we throw theatre blood over them.”
Schoolboy shaves his head for an anti-cancer charity; gets put in isolation.
Here’s another thing you might not know about me: when I get my hair cut, I pretty much do it myself by running a clipper over my hair (#2 guard). I do this once a month or two, until I feel my hair is long enough. I bring this up because Stan Lock (notice the last name) had his hair cut close with a razor (#1 guard) for charity. For his concern for cancer students, he was placed in isolation.
After a game of rugby, he had his hair cut to 1/8″ for Macmillan Cancer Support in solidarity for the many, MANY children who have to undergo cancer treatment that, among other things, costs them their hair. When he returned to Churchill Academy in Churchill, North Somerset, he was immediately put in isolation for having a hairstyle that was “too extreme.” The school has a policy that any child with a hairstyle deemed “extreme”, whether it’s in colour, style, or length (or lack thereof) would be put in isolation.
Quoth Stan Lock: “Unfortunately for me the head teacher at my school decided on Monday that my hair cut was too extreme and has placed me in isolation for at least the rest of this week. Whilst this felt like a punishment to begin with for doing something for charity the support that I have been given by other students, parents and the media has been fantastic and I don’t regret having my head shaved for Macmillan.”
Friends have set up a Free Stan Lock petition and Facebook page, with his Justgiving page raising £2,000 in donations, (2000% more than he planned).
Quoth his mother: “I’d hoped the school would have shown some element of judgment and would have made an exception,” she said. Stan’s been overwhelmed with messages of support from his friends.”
The school is planning on reviewing Stan Lock’s isolation, but not the policy.
Quoth head teacher Barry Wratten: “I do not favour speaking publicly about individual students or their families and will not do so now. I am happy to speak more generally: we have held a firm line against those who decide to flout our behaviour policies for many years – it is only by doing this can we uphold our standards and make sure we are fair to all. In the past parents have approached us about stunts to raise money for charity and we have been able to advise and work with them to avoid any difficulty. At times, some parents do not do this and do not advise their children of potential problems. As such in these circumstances they let their children down and place them in an unnecessarily difficult position and also undermine the authority of the school. It is always easier then to blame someone else – I and the school are an easy target when the fault lies elsewhere. Speaking generally, there are many ways to raise money for charity – most we will support; rushing into a particular way without thought is always likely to cause consequences. Some people wish to avoid consequences by blaming others – I think this sends a poor message to young people. I have consistently held this stance and parents, generally, know we set high standards. That’s why we expect them to have a dialogue with us before they allow their child to do something they may regret.”