Sometimes numbers make sense. In different ways to different people. The number of times you've seen your favourite band, the number of albums they've released, days until you see your favourite band for the first time.
And there's bumping into Darren a little over two years ago three times in ten days somewhere I shouldn't have been, each time totally by chance. Twice we had great conversations once, well I'll come back to that later.
Those first two meetings I learned Darren was an artist. We chatted about his art, art he was trying to sell. Great art created On cardboard he'd picked up, trying to sell the it for a few quid to get enough money together for a drink. Darren was a sleeping out on the streets. His art a hope to stop the need to beg. Drink to get through the day and hopefully bring on sleep at night, to ease the utter hopelessness.
Chatting with Darren I recognised a man who genuinely wanted to leave the streets and drinking behind. He told me the story of getting to being on the streets, told me his story as an artist. He recognised choices he'd made that could have been better, took responsibility for where he was. And an idea formulated and we shook on a deal.
The deal was Given To Live would support Darren's art once he was off the streets and detoxed. After those first three meetings I didn't see Darren again for a couple of months then received an email saying he'd got detoxed and was in supported housing. And there begun the relationship GTL has with Darren today.
Two years later he's still sober and at last has been offered a place so he can move out of supported housing. This has been a long process for him as he made the wise decision not to take the first place offered but wait until an appropriate place came up. That happened this week! He's also got a few hours a week as a KP and also volunteered in a kitchen over Christmas helping to feed homeless humans.
Since becoming part of GTL Darren has created a few pieces for people we've taken to shows, he did an amazing installation at the UK Foo Fighters fundraising shows in '15 and his latest piece is for Luke and A7X.
In preparing this piece I realise that Darren hasn't a website. Sure, he's got a twitter page but surely a website would be the answer for him and his work. GTL has offered to fund the creation of a website for Darren and in time that will be up and running.
Darren is a good human; getting off the streets is not easy and he's shown tremendous courage and commitment to himself and his life over the last two years to get to where he is today. We're really proud Darren is a part of GTL, love his work and honour him as a person.
Here you have his latest piece and other work he's done for us including a couple of shots of Darren and his Foo Fighters installation.
Darren, thank you for all you bring to GTL.
Oh, I almost forgot that third time I met Darren. Darren didn't remember it because he was a little worse for wear. The police had woken him to move him on as he was asleep outside a theatre's emergency exit and he was not pleased to be woken. By anyone, let alone the police. They were trying to be reasonable with him but coherent speech wasn't immediately available to Darren, nor was the good humour of waking up in a bed after a full night's sleep. I went over to try and mediate and eventually Darren woke more and took the police up on their offer. If he settled down they'd take him back to the hostel were he could stay. It was a short ride in a police car to safety that night, it's been a longer ride the last two years getting himself back on his feet. He's doing it. And only takes buses now.
You can find Darren on twitter - @BardoDaz and Facebook - Darren Crackers Bardo BA
For the last year the Foo Fam, a Facebook group with members from all four corners of the globe, has been supporting Given To Live.