Morning Style Mongers. Style&Error is no political organ, far from it. However last week was emotionally charged with the collapse and media vilification of Camilla Batmanghelidjh, in light of the closure of her charity Kids Company, and therefore felt need to make some comment. I’ll try and get some style into it, to keep it light, right? Batmanghelidjh provided some super special and desperately needed things for the deprived kids of the inner city, and if that help is lost, this is a very sad scene indeed. Make no mistake. Kids Co helped where local government could not and failed. Matters have only got worse through cuts since she started it in 1996, especially of late, which is why things partly reached crisis right now. Its a proper crisis for the kids now, as the family of protection thats been looking after them has shut its gates.
Outside the close Kids Company, Camberwell.
Am sure I’ve not got a totally informed view on all of this, but still gotta say something. Aside from a spirited and talented humanitarian, Batmanghelidjh is a seriously formidable, dominant force, which is partly how she’s got things done. Am sure she’s far from an immaculate business strategist and accountant, but all things considered, so what? Watching how the media and government/civil service worked in tandem to post drugs/sex/financial smears across last week was head spinningly ugly and frightening. And it worked so well. Its pretty much done now.
Twinning, at the Kids Co march, Friday.
Interesting that Newsnight were instrumental in the take down. A now discredited and blunted outlet, which swerved covering The Jimmy Savile story in spineless judgement call, so now feel compelled to thrash out a story like this in heavy handed attention seeking way. Quite bad, the Katz crew. They took tweets from her interview and tucked CB up nicely. Horror of drugs in an inner city institution? One story of sexual abuse and violence going on in institutions with thousands of disturbed young people? No way! How can this be? One pal points out the prisons have bad drug/sex problems. Shut them perhaps? Another that if you took 600 middle class kids on holiday you’d have quite a few drug based incidents. The proportionality of the stats are warped but it doesnt matter. Its too late cos those hot little touchstones of wrongness have done their work. They stoned Batmanghelidjh with Tweets and sound bites from Newsnight and worse media institutions too. Public lyrical stoning, and the many of the public joined in, too, with zero conception* of what on earth it might be like on the front lines. Do these people think its like a quaint village hall somewhere, and that Kids Co gave out scones and pretty rosettes? Step from me. Regardless, it’s a massive shame.
Style content: wore these shorts by Orlebar Brown to Downing Street protest.
Hearing tweets and comments from people with no grasp of the envoirment they’re talking about made me angry. I glimpsed what the scene was like at Kids Co when I did a bit of work on a style level with them some years ago. Met Jennifer Jane back then. Saw her later at the Run Dem Crew, too. She’s now a writer, but was a client of Kids Company. Read her essay about the situation here (click). Her story and take on this is pretty damn real. She went on to work for Kids Co too, never claiming Batmanghelidjh is a saint. But she does help explain that what C.B. set up was a church of care, love and warmth. Ask some people who’ve been helped by Kids Co, about it and perhaps get an idea of what factors are really involved. Kids Company helped where government organisations couldnt/didnt/wouldnt know how. Okay, they’re a bit off the radar sometimes, but that’s what exactly was required. You should have seen CB with the kids around her. Christmas was insane, when her and her crew would provide wrapped presents for countless deprived kids, and make them all feel special and wanted. A proper talent, a proper gift.
Print enthusiast, Camilla Batmanghelidjh.
Crying shame the way Camilla been pasted in the media. A couple of hundred people marched on Downing Street on Friday in support of Kids Co. Wasn’t really enough to show the magnitude of what Kids Co has done, but it was a bit of a knee-jerk thing. Saw George Lamb there, who’s got some strong ties to the gaff. Maybe this thing aint over yet, we’ve gotta see the truth about the good that C.B. did, even if theres some mad and bad stuff being bandied about pretty convincingly. Reckon she’ll be back. Been hearing information about why they switched on her so badly.
Coming to your government gates, soon..
It’s out there already, but its thought that she knows some seriously de-stabilising stuff and has done for decades. A flood of new super-serious scandal about our government and agencies is gonna break soon, so maybe this is it. Am talking stuff thats gonna make the recent palava look like an upset tombola at another village fete. The government authorities are rife with wrong ‘ens, and most of them know it, but have to keep rank, stay stum. Stay tuned style crew. Lets hope for Kids Co Crew, too, and see what happens. Good luck Camilla. x
PS. For more style content, I teamed the shorts on Friday with white singlet from Sunspel. So there’s your Style, the rest is Error.
PPS. Been wondering if should call, this ‘THE KIDS ARE(N’T) ALRIGHT’. What do you fink?
Here’s a well reasoned piece from the Guardian at the weekend by Henry Porter (click) who actually knows what he’s chatting about on a care level. Read it, as he makes all the serious points about the money and reality of what happened.
* to quote Keith Talent.