In a true reflection of the times we live in, the item he'd had the most difficulty sourcing is toilet paper.
A Manchester-based music producer and activist named OUTLAW recently decided to drive around at 5 mph in a van, delivering essentials to people taking shelter from the pandemic. With the words "Free Isolation Essentials: Toilet Roll, Sanitiser, Bottled Water, Grinders, Bud" boldly emblazoned on the side of his van, he gives away the aforementioned items to those in need while blaring Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry from the speakers. Dressed in all black and a mask hiding his facial features, OUTLAW drives past the houses of his Instagram followers who've reached out with requests for his unusual survival pack.
Speaking to VICE about why he started this pandemic-era project, OUTLAW said: "We had a '4/20 Smoke Tour' planned, and we were going to give out some weed, but then the virus came about. So we got some other stickers printed, put them up on the van and ordered a load of stuff. Since we started it's been cannabis-based, giving out weed and that. Then we moved onto more helping people in need and the homeless. I'm quite passionate about it – I don't like seeing people in need when realistically there's plenty of everything to go around."
As for why he chose to include marijuana in his essentials pack, he explained that he decided to add it to the list of supplies after taking suggestions from his 21.9k followers on Instagram. "I just put it on my Instagram, asking, "Does anyone need anything?" and got fucking loads of requests suggesting vulnerable people. So we had all their postcodes in a map and we went around seeing all them. On the way, people spot me and know that we give out weed – so I had some bud there if anyone wanted any," he explained.
In a true reflection of the times we live in, the item OUTLAW has had the most difficulty sourcing is toilet paper. "We tried going around the supermarkets, but nobody would give us any. I tried for about three hours online – people were charging mad prices or deliveries weren't coming for weeks. But I found a warehouse in Ireland and managed to sort it all. I've been out today for three hours; we were out for about five hours all around town the other day. There's another list of requests that my manager has, so we'll be out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But we're waiting on an order because we've already given out 300 packs of toilet roll," he revealed.
Speaking of the response to his initiative, OUTLAW said: "We've been to about 100 locations, but everyone we go to, because we've got the music and that, loads of people stand at their doors, laughing out of their window. We try to cheer them up." The masked activist said that he's paying for all the supplies from his own pocket and that he "only had ten ounces [of weed] before this was started. All the grows I've got were ready for my Smoke tour in July – cropped, dried, everything ready for July. But this has come out of the blue, so we've just got to do what we do."
When asked if he's gotten into trouble with the police, he said: "Yeah, yeah – [laughs] loads of times. I don't know how much I can say without my solicitor... but, yeah, it's like a cat and mouse type of thing. We're not doing anything that's harming anyone, though, and that's key – that's the main thing that they focus on." Speaking of how the UK government is handling the pandemic, he added: "They're obviously not doing everything they can. I feel sorry for Boris Johnson if he's got [coronavirus] properly and everything is true about that. Hopefully he'll recover, but with an understanding of what other people need when they are in times of need."