Recovery Shirts

I've been sitting outside George Street Social, a brilliant cafe in Newcastle's west end. Great coffee, and fantastic conversation with a group of men and women who are in recovery from alcohol and/or drug misuse.

We talked about lots of things, from wearing a flowered flowing shirt and a magnificent ruff in the 60s, was a perfectly acceptable thing for a straight man to do, through to why men find it so hard to talk about sex. In between we talked about eye-liner, dressing up and why men have to be 'off their heads' before they can simply be who they want to be.

I'm going back on Friday to sew with one of the men in the group. I hope it will be sunny enough for us to do this outside.

The shirts continue to do their magic. They started conversations about when boys become men, how 5 years old boys are policing each other to stop playing with My Little Pony, and why men can talk about work, but not about themselves, their feelings or their money.

In the world outside, everyone is trying to come to terms with the bombing of the Manchester Arena. Theresa May has announced that Operation Temperer has been put into operation. This has put 5000 armed troops onto our streets. Politicians and commentators are saying that this is a way of giving the public 'reassurance' that we are being protected. I know which of these two images of men on the streets of Manchester I find more re-assuring.

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