Indigent Gentlewoman…

I noticed this shiny brass plaque on a very posh building in a rather expensive (even by Edinburgh standards) section of the city – it is a real charity, “The Royal Society for the Relief of Indigent Gentlewomen of Scotland”, and I was hugely amused that something with such a title still existed in the 21st century…

Hounds of Scotland

Hounds of Scotland is a new book, available in paperback and hardback, edited by Mirren Fischer and boasting some lovely photographs of dogs enjoying the landscapes (and shorelines!) of Scotland, with the profits going to help the Dog’s Trust charity which helps homeless pooches, so it is a good cause (yes, I am very much a cat person, but I love dogs too, would happily have a large home with several cats and dogs if I could). It also includes a photo from yours truly, which means it is actually the first of two books coming out this year that will include a photograph of mine (Gary Spencer Millidge’s upcoming book on Alan Moore also contains one of my pics).

Scotty dog in whisky shop

French comic art auction to help the homeless

Marko Ajdarc of the Brazilian comics site Neorama dos Quadrinhos sent us a good item to put up on the FPI blog and since it involves A) good European comics art and B) raising money for a good cause I thought I’d repeat it on here too. 95 press cartoonists and comics artist are contributing their work to auction to raise money for the homeless charity Droit au Logement in France. Some of the top bandes dessinées artist are involved, with names like Bilal and Jacque Tardi (who did the poster for it).

I found it interesting that this came at a similar time to the ‘red tent‘ happening in Paris, where les Enfants de Don Quichotte (how could I resist a story with a name like that?) distributed red tents to the homeless so a tent village sprang up, rapidly covered by the European media and shaming Parisian authorities into acknowledging the problem. You can look through the art on offer in the auction here.

Giving is good…

…As they say. Last year instead of traditional present for some folk I knew I wouldn’t see for a while because they live far away from me and haivng it lying around the flat for ages until I next saw them I logged on to Oxfam Unwrapped and bought some charity gifts in their name. This year several of my friends and I all decided that we had more than enough junk already and that instead we’d buy each other charity gifts. So some of us are buying gifts which then get donated to the likes of the Salvation Army to be distributed to folk who don’t normally get presents, some are taking out a monthly donation to a charity in a friend’s name and some are buying charity gifts online. Bit late for Christmas now, but if you have any late gift buying to do for friends or relatives that you may not see until after the big day then think about doing one or two of them this way – Oxfam Unwrapped have a good range of ideas and prices and they will send a card to the person you bought it for to tell them what has been given in their name. This time of year is supposed to be about giving, regardless of your religious inclinations (or lack thereof) that’s not a bad thing to recall from time to time in our consumerist society.

Do I really need another movie on DVD or would I rather my friend bought a gift from Oxfam in my name that is going to help someone somewhere in the world who isn’t going to a nice family home for the holidays to be with loving parents and eat more home-cooked food than some parts of the world see in a month? I’m not saying don’t buy any traditional presents of course and like anyone else I fancy a look at the Janaury Sales – its nice to give and receive those too – but if even a quarter of us took the charity route for but a handful of our seasonal gifts splurge we’d make the world a little better, feel better about ourselves, make the person in whose name we give it feel good, be a little less consumerist and help someone who needs it far more than most of us. I’m not preaching here or trying to tell anyone what they should do, but as a suggestion I think that’s a win-win all round, don’t you?

The Hunger Site

Do something to spread good

In the meantime, here’s a way to do some good to redress the planet’s karma – go to the UN Hunger Site and click. That’s it, just click. It opens one advertising window and the sponsors pay for food donations to the world food programme. One click a day is allowed. A few minutes of the day and some poor sod gets a meal, so please bookmark it and click on it once everyday spread some good in our little world, because it sorely needs it.