‘I’ve got Crocodile Dundee syndrome’, says homeless man put in hotel for lockdown
Man who has lived outside a shop for seven years is staying at Ramada Inn
23 May, 2020 — By Tom Foot
A HOMELESS film director says he is “feeling like Crocodile Dundee” after being moved into an upmarket hotel due to the coronavirus.
Dave Fussell, who is staying at the Ramada Inn hotel in Finchley, compared the experience with the 1980s Hollywood movie in which the character Mick Dundee swaps his tough life in the Australian outback for a grand hotel in New York.
Mr Fussell has spent the past seven years sleeping outside Heal’s department store in Tottenham Court Road. He left Wales and bought a one-way ticket to London after losing his home which was devastated by a flood.
This week, he told the New Journal: “I’m not saying I want to live on the streets, but I do struggle with being in some places sometimes. It’s like when people have a car accident – even if they are not hurt, they don’t drive or get in a car again. ”
“To some extent, I feel like that when I’m in a room. “This is really nice, though. It’s wonderful having the wifi. I guess I have got the Crocodile Dundee syndrome.”
Last year Mr Fussell completed the editing of his action film, Mystic Demon Killer, while living on the streets. He shot it before coming to London and arrived with it stored on a hard drive. The film was screened in a major cinema with the help of Vice Media, who had picked up on his story.
Mr Fussell did a Q&A session on stage afterwards and the project has helped him to raise money for better equipment. He has just completed a new script, Torch Head, inspired by life on the streets. But he has found fundraising for it to be difficult during the lockdown.
Through a TfL-backed project, he had been saving up some money by selling art calendars in stations. And busking with his new guitar has also been put on hold.
Mr Fussell said: “When the virus happened, it’s been a disaster for the homeless. A lot of places have shut. People who feed us are considered essential workers. “They didn’t have to close down, but most places have. I was thinking they should have brought in the Army, we’d have been fed. Nobody was there to say sorry either. You just turn up at these places, and there’s a note saying ‘we’re closed’.”
He added: “Closing the libraries was a big hit for the homeless, too. There are lots of homeless people who have not had the basic communications. Sometimes what we have been offered is virtually just lentils. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but it is tiring being homeless – sometimes you need some meat.”
Mr Fussell said he got the offer of a room in the Ramada Inn after speaking to an outreach worker in King’s Cross.
He said: “Islington Council organised it in the end. They said, ‘we have got a hotel for you’. I said my big fear is I don’t want to get into debt. They said ‘it’s all free, all paid for’. But when they sent the information it had all the costs of the hotel. Take it from me, the last thing you want to see, even if you’re not being charged, is the bill. In the end they got me a taxi up there – hats off to them.”
“The rooms are better than if you get a room through the benefits system. “But it has taken five weeks to get here. It is absolutely ridiculous, really. And now we are here, we don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t want suddenly to be told it’s not here and I suddenly have to go. I need a day at least.”
l To buy or rent Mystic Demon Killer visit vimeo.com/ondemand/mysticdemonkiller