Saturday, 11 October 2008

No more couch potato

Back to squatting. I would've laughed if someone had said, two years ago in my first squat, that I'd be revisiting this life.

This 'sequel' is all down to a friend from the States, whom in the past fortnight has been squatting on her own in a flat whilst at the same time starting year-long studies. Having spent the last three months out of work, and climbing the walls at my parents', the invitation to join is timely, if with some reluctance.

Unlike my first squat, however, we won't be having nightly "vodka and electric guitar" parties filled with random people you’ve never met before (and would never see again, because the next night a whole new set of random people would turn up); or housemates eating all of your groceries; or housemates running up and down the stairwells on speed YET (because who knows how things will turn out).

Nor do we have rats running endless circuits inside the bedroom walls during the night or doing shortcuts across your duvet as you sleep. Nor will you find yourself waking up at 4am to the sound of rave techno music being played at music festival volume. Unlike that squat, the rooms here don't smell of rotting rabbit, although come to think of it, maybe it was rotting rat carcass.

To live that way every day for almost three months, whilst dealing with seismic changes to your own personal life at the same time (and your own unease about being in a squat in the first place), and it hardly inspires you to want another go.

But also unlike that experience, I have joined a squat that is starting from scratch. We have no electricity, no running water, no toilet, almost no furniture. Sitex steel sheets still cover the front windows and we still have a Sitex security door to greet us. Not the kind of home for couch potatoes.

With one squatting experience between us (and even then, I'd moved in after all of the amenities had been fixed), and a strange new housing adventure is about to unfold.

Atom Tom