Monday, 9 May 2011

The final fling...

The Final Fling.

When I started writing this little guide to living free, I was sleeping on an air bed in an enormous but totally empty room, with no central heating, in the middle of the coldest winter of my lifetime. Getting dressed and undressed became sport: how to keep feet on bare floorboards for the briefest time possible? Nowadays, it’s fully furnished, thanks to Freecycle, and the draughty windows are welcome, as Spring bursts into life. And, just as the tree in the yard begins to blossom, we’re being hoofed out.

But, heck, life is change, and never more acutely so than when it’s spent squatting. No yin of occupation without the inevitable yang of eviction. Must all good things come to an end? Who can say — what we can say for sure is that my crew is moving on, and moving out of our Manor Avenue movie-mansion.

The ethos has always been that it was not our space, nor your space, simply a space, a space to share. For the past three months we’ve been doing this by opening up it up in the guise of a cinema, the People’s Picturehouse — free for all and for all who are free. Highlights have been a lot of Herzog, a Hunter S. Thompson double bill on the anniversary of his passing, and some truly special home-made vegetarian tapas. Truly special.

Now that we’ve been given our marching orders from the ex-servicemen’s club, we’re throwing a good old fashioned Saturday night shindig; a Manor Avenue micro-festival, if you will. To say thank you to our neighbours, and to repay some of the debt owed to the sheer amount of life that has passed through our doors and filled the halls with fun:

“Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise…”

Filling it once more is some of the talent that is fairly bursting out of Brockley and surrounding area. No films this time. Singer-songwriters — and neighbours — Joe Wilkes and Curly Joe Lewis are kicking off the good times with their ghee-tars. Next up is Jonny Hoyle and Co, bringing melodic musical magic (and a tuba). The NME called our headliner colourfully bizarre: we’re calling Dimbleby and Capper delightful, not least because she’s bringing her own dancers.

And the sound’s being taken care of by the south-east’s legendary squat soundsystem, Reknaw, which means it should all be fairly booming. Nicely, nicely.

The Squatter’s guide is signing off, but don’t forget: this is no wake, this is a celebration of life…

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