Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It's solstice tonight. We're celebrating it with a bonfire in our yard. Actually it's my yard - not that i want to be possessive or anything, but it has its own entrance, and I have a room there. The tree house. The rest of us are living in the house.

I love the tree house. It's like living in a fairy tale or an adventure story. But Vauxhall is a fairy tale. La-La-Land, that's how pete calls it. He's right. sometimes i think i'd rather live in a big industrial post-apocalyptic warehouse. With concrete walls and huge open spaces. something like Africa house in Amsterdam. Something like Takovsky's Zone. There are places like this in London, but not Vauxhall. This area - or rather the square - is an island, a shipwreck in the heart of babylondon. A crazy tropical garden, with its own very secret entrance.

22nd of June. Midsummer. Eviction time: tomorrow the bailiffs will be knocking on the door in Hallelujah Villas. We won't be there, left long ago, we jumped ship, or maybe we scuttled it. I'm not sure. A year in Suburban south east london is over. Strange year it was. Not very good. Quite bad in some respects. But not all bad.
A year ago, I wrote to my friend in Jerusalem:

the downside of this sweet and tranquil suburban squat is that the toilets don't work. We're building a compost toilet this week, and, if we stay there long enough - that is, a year - we will be able to eat our pooh, in the form of vegetables nourished by human compost. alas, not likely. pissing is done in lovely flower decorated chamber pot and thrown to the garden; you might not believe me but i find it all quite interesting, a chance to investigate the nature of the modern revulsion towards our own discarded body matters. no, i'm not talking shit: pooh is toxic, but pipi no problem, apart from the smell.

Many things didn't work in Halleuluja Villas: socially, I mean. once again my ideas of communal living were put to test, and didn't stand it very well. We were too many people and our ideas about what it means to live in a squat were too different.

But the toilets worked. We recycled our waste. We didn't flush it down with water and sent it to the sea. We didn't have much choice because we wanted to live in this house and we couldn't use the toilets. But we made something good with it. We made it into compost. And when it was ready, we spread it in the garden, and planted spinach and broad beans and many other things. The vegetables loved it: they went crazy. It was heartwarming. I'm no fucking hippie, but seeing something like this work, really changes the way i see the world. Cars, water waste, blind comsumption, enviroenmental havoc - it doesn't make sense. and it's not the only way. I'm getting didactic.

In all my squats we had compost, and we had to abandon it, we never stayed long enough for it to be ready, let alone use it. But this time we made it: just about. Last Sunday, after we finished packing, S and me harvested the broad beans. Tonight we'll eat them: I'll make them into a salad cook them and then add olive oil, lemon juice, corriander. Simple. Happy Solstice.

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