Saturday, September 20, 2003

The Final Leg and The Sad Composer.

You have to pay a supplement to get on french trains, basically to prebook your seats so heads dont end up standing, seems like a pretty good idea but then again beign irish and unused to such concepts we seem to be getting fucked over all the time on trains fines, irate conductors and useless interrail tickets. Some random women was so pissed off at the conductor for shouting at us that she gave us ten euro to pay the fine, Id been trying to give her a bloody fifty but apparently it was no good. We got talking to this spainish girl untill we got to Montipeiller, yup be advised the crust look is where its at in terms of european fashion waves at least thats her opinion too. Her boyfriend is a stylised crust, world music, ska and hip hop seem to be whats prompting it. I managed to hold up a conversation in french for over two hours, well broken french and english, with intermittent words and pictures drawn to illustrate more complex points like describing the weather in ireland and the like. Fuck I couldnt even think of the word for small.

Montipeiller was hell. Everyone we talked to swear profusely that there was a total impossibility of getting to Brussels, it beign friday after all, we ran around trying to jump the TGV, but its schedule was fucked up and we couldnt make out where the hell it was goign from in terms of platforms. The TGV when travelling means one long pleasant fuckign sleep, a desperate attempt at showering in a sink (i even washed my feet, being wet i slipped as the train careered around a corner, hanging on to a door handle to prevent splitting my head open, feet trapped in sink is no fun), walking through first class stocking up on the mini drinks and snacks that the other class of people leave behind, then a subtle raid on the individual wrapped free ginger biscuits availible at the bar. eventually some one decided to tell us that oui, it was possible to get a train to brussels albeit indirectly, well thank fuck for that and off we went.

Arriving back in Leuven we danced through the square ''hey hey were the monkeys'' fucking clas, a mattress to sleep on and comfort. Id emailed Wendy, saying wed be late possibily, when we got to teh squat she wasnt there, my fault should have emailed her saying we'd arrived, but Id just assumed she'd be hanging out there. Awoken by her the next morning. Got down and dirty in the kitchen, mashing up some wierd vegan burger mix for a community street party in Leuven, those vegan burgers are fucking gorgeous, im keeping the recipe to myself, you'll have to pry it out of me. Ah no, i think me and short might make a batch for the next RTS, shorts planning on making a batch of spiked cakes for it as well, thats if we can get skunk back, cant decide as to wheter we should dose the public or just those we know and who'd be up for it.

Hitched for the first time, train hopped to Antwerp. Things were looking desperate, me Wendy and short standing at the side of the side of the road pleasding for lifts in the middle of a city. Some cigar shop were hosting a feminist rally, well they wanted 100 women to smoke cigars and smash the women and cigar taboo, of course in the process open up a new market for their product. Kindly they provided free orange juice as we baked in the sun. Wandering around the corner we saw a garage, and there he was, Robert, wonderful Robert.

Robert has a car, an normal car, hes not a millionaire you know, hes an normal man, with three kids. I spotted him, his old VW painted at the side in some wierd random cubist off take. Randomly asked for a lift to Rotterdam , and sorted we were. He even bought us coffee as short got his shop lift on for glue to fix his runners. I was a bit freaked out by Roberts constant efforts to reassure us he was an normal man, i mean wouldnt you? Turns out we just happened to get a lift with some Bulgarian classical composer, who also produces all these pop acts. Quite famous, in his own circles, hence the reassurances of normality, of course we hadnt a fucking clue. Dutch TV spent ten million making a documentary on him last year, quite the sexual revolutionist he is, with a host of girlfriends and an advocate of polygamy, hence the dutch noteireity. Fucking sound, chomping away on his rollies and ranting about his family, history, pacificism, the war in iraq..we were sorted. He left us at this turn pike, we barely even had time to write a sign for Den Haag when we had another lift to the train. These ducth trains are easy to hop, two stories on them so you basically play this game of running up and down stairs avoiding the conductor, over and above, back down again, where ever he is, you by pass him, right fun.

Sitting in soem shit net cafe now, cant even open up any applications or another browser, bloody crap. We made it to the Blue House, a huge fuck off squat in Den Haag, theyre battlling eviction in october so have a whole month of events on. The place is HUGE. There was a rave happening last night as the gig was on, and we didnt even know, all this in the same building. Ex-cathedra were a surprise, thought with a name like that theyd be as hardcore as fuck, nope just real souped up fun ska, bloody deadly, didnt even drink, had a slight go of a joint with short and still danced my ass off. Oli Da Gato were crap, the bar staff put on Easp measa for some reason and I couldnt help but nitice how fucking good they are in comparison to anything we've heard in Europe, things just seem a lot healthier in ireland, more original, more active and more clued in. A squatter girl enthused as to ''ah you must know easpa measa?'' and we got our silly pointing to the ceiling, fist shaking type hardocre dance on, one, two, three, vocals and guitar crash in, all fingers point to the ceiling, shake back and forth, there ya go... Cant undersatnd this macho dancing shit here, people pole axing into eacho ther, even to the extent of flying across tables. me and short figued the best way to stop it is to actual dance as well, and shoot dirty looks at the drunken fuck wits, its a reclaimation of the dancing space and it actual works, you force the fucks out of your space and youre grand, just dance its the best way to deal with it. Wendy left her hoodie behind in the bar when we were beign shown to sleeping spaces, i put it in my bag and totally forgot, the sleeping areas were locked so I couldnt check to see if it was there, its full of sentimental value and she was tortured all night with losing it, while we all ran around looking for it, asking EVERYBODY. Going to bed, there it was, dumb fucking me, in my bag, someone slap me in teh head, please. Hate when shit like that happens.

Foot n Mouth and Kid Blunt have arrived. Got talking to them outside, fair fucks to them for pulling the tour together, two bands two cars, must be cramped. Got talking to this Belfast guy outside, raging he was, he was expecting the irish bands to have a shipment of buckfast and salt n vinegar crisps, no sign of either. Fucking Paparikya, curry, bolognese flavoured crisps, but no bloody cheese and onion or salt n vinegar, now thats odd. Why is it that people with Belfast and Scottish accents always seem so hilarious? Apparently, according to this guy, the squatting scene is full of mad happy people, they wander the streets with no where to go, then fuck they see a squat ''ah, a squat'' they say and in they go, rated at the door on a mad happy person scale of 1-10 and in they go. ''Aye mate, this squats for people with a rating above eight, they take seven and below in down there.'' Apparently all the big ones are like lunatic asylums, then he does a mad happy person dance, like a pixie hands waving in the air, gleeful starry look in his eye. ''Aye, mad fucking happy lunatics.'' Hopefuly some of them'll be out tonight, i guess mad happy lunatics are better than depressed lunatics.

The squats been open about twenty years i think, theyve all ready levelled some of the buildings at the back so it really looks like theyre gonna move on it. The people based in it seem a bit depressed and pessimistic about the possibilities of keeping it open but others of flooded to it to work on a campaign month to get local support. Town is flooded with posters of automen looking masked up types carrying a banner with an AK 47 and a red star in a march, ''Hell no we wont go.'' Dont kniow much about the history of it yet, but should get an interview done about the situation. A cop was killed by a fridge in one defensive action years ago.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2003

`Anarchist, Ireland?´- they looked bemused and mentioned hospital

The Jewel In the CrownI was going on about the French sterotype earlier before, well judging by the sudden change in termperment across the border, the spainish one holds up too. Orwell went on about how all questions on serious issues seemed to be answered with ´mananna´ meaning tomorrow, i get that here too. The train conductor didnt seem arsed checking for our tickets and we only had to pay 14 euro for the two of us mid journey. Three trains and twelve hours, but it was worth it. The station was like a prison, if you excuse the hyperbole, you have to present your ticket to get back out out of it. Id used ours for roache material, so we were forced to stand around like tits pointing at bins explaining where our ticket was. Distracted by a young women, the conductors back turned we pulled a legger and headed for the city. Hmmmm....blooody 5 EUR for a fuck off big pizza, the most tortorous 15 minute wait of my life, I was convivnced the waiters were purposely ignoring us scruffy types for the suited tourists and their obnoxious kids, tempted to try some Sangera (hideous spelling mistake) but declined.

While we spent a night looking for one squat in Paris you just stroll around Barcalona and follow the circled A´s and there you are, bound to find a squat. Standing outside the Jaume 1 tube I noticed this neon glow across the street, CGT, in huge fucking letters on top of a building, i dragged short over for a gawk. These official looking types popped out and being me i approached hesitantly with a stupid looking grin. I rambled at them, pointing to the offices ´anarcho-syndicalist´...syndicalist they agreed, not having 15 words of english between them, and me with just ´hola´as my gift in Catalona, pointing at myself `anarchist, ireland´ they looked bemused and mentioned hospital, smiling benignly. I left it at that.

Waiting around the city I came across a kid around the same age in a Shin fein t-shirt, you know the type, Che Guevara type ones that floata round UCD occasionally, bemused by it I approaced and mentioned Ireland. Terry had told me to show siome Catalon Nationalist types the photos i got on the Falls to gauranntee myself a free meal, ones of the Catalon and Irish flags coming together in the unity of struggle shite, think all the photos I got from belfast have disappeared up my cameras arse, but hopefully ill get them back. he seemed happy enough to meet some one from Ireland, what with our rich History and all that. Thank fuck the kid told me September 11th is the day of Catalon Pride, big march and festivities in the town, slept through that then so I did, woken up only occasionly by the buzz of a helicopter over head, these mad out of it looking cops are posed all over the city, reckon its to ward off some sort of attack on federal buildings or some such thing.

We met up with the legandary Iosaf of Indymedia fame, a surprisingly west Brit accent greets you on the pone, and suddenly in five minutes this cord jacketed, sandle wearing type greets you at a tube station. Eccentric is not the word. Really dont know what to make of him, he takes pleasure in pointing at tube maps and explaining the magical qualities of the city. He really does like his maps, he uses them all the time to explain his points, unfortunately we didnt get a grand tour of the historic parts of the city, he only showed us where they were all lined up after the fall of Barcalona in ´38 and shot at the cathedral. We stayed at the Mikabra squat, opened up just a year ago, it seems to be home to those unfortunate types that decided to flee Britain shortly after the release of the Prodigy´s "Music For The Jilted Generation", fuck them and their law, lets go abroad and avoid the Criminal Justice Act, stoned and listening to techno that ceased to develop from 1994 on. Then theres Eric, Eric the german, he greets you half naked with a mad outta it stoned glaze in his eyes, covered in garden muck he explains how they intend to reach out to the community.

' Over there we grow some tomatoes, some chillis, some ganja, some carrots, some ganja and some tamatoes and more ganja...'

You get the idea. And this is the guy that apparently is the brains behind the infoshop venture there. The place thats squatted is a former chemical factory, the owner also owns the flat complexes directly beside it, when he left he used it as a rubbish tip, so it still looks pretty rough, but considering their was about three feet of rubbish, from locals throwing bags out of their flat windows I guess its not an entirely bad job. Whne it rains the flat complexes flooded, the squatters having the ability and tools sorted out the gutters for them, making a large numbe rsupport them. There are others however who dont,a nd actively collect signatures for their eviction. Theres a pub used by local cops at the base of the flats, so the cops fill their heads with shit all the time.

Solidarity with the Salonika Eight seems to be definitely where its at in Europe, every where we go there is prisoner benefits, in the squat there having a three day open thing on the prison theme. After re-meetign Iosaf in the city, we hopped the trains to get back out to the Makabra. i poked around the info stall looking for someone to interview, I´ve already got interviews with leuven heads, unfortunately nothing from paris, everyone i asked just said they were sitting there drinking their beer, so i guiltlessly stocked up on propaganda, could only find one in English, abou the Isolation units in Spainish jails and political prisoners, got some in french too, but the language seems pretty dense. Watched a video on prison revolt in Greek jails under the Junta, featured reports and eye witness accounts from those involved, a lot of stuff like that is coming out under the Reconciliation process there after fascism.

Talking to Iosaf about Barcalona was interesting. The regional government have declared it to be the city of peace and reconciliation after the 1.3 million people that took to the streets against war there, they´re constructing this huge forum for 2004, inviting the usual delegates of liberal capitalism along to talk the talk, the activist community here seems to be concentrating on subverting what really is an attempt to subvert their own work during the period in the build up to the war in iraq. Talking to Iosaf i get the impression that the antiwar movement here faced pretty much similar problems to that in ireland, that is that after the February 15 type mobilisaiton there was an exhuastion and lack of a clear direction in which to take it, of course in Irealnd there was a direction towards Shannon fence, but here apparently not. Catalon nationalism is a fucking interesting thing. I had no idea about all this regionalism stuff in Spain, yeah, we all know about ETA and Basque regionalsim, apparently Catalon is the same except its expressed more through T shirts and posters, looking around thats real obvious, the streets are packed with nationalist posters of all persausion, the regional government has all these posters up about defining a new way forward. Dan recommended a visit to the Catalon Museum, the parts on the Civil War were pathetic, but then I appreciated the simplicity of the earlier period in giving my brain a dumbed down understanding of the issue of regionalism here which is something I hadnt a clue about.

I now sit in Can Mas Dieu, the jewel in the crown of squats across europe, i can see the Mediteranean and the whole of the city from where i type.

We popped in to talk to Martin Shaw about the bridge action in Evian, and get copies of the videos being used in the trial so the Irish heads involved know whats what. I should interview him, but fuck it I dont think hes too interesting, i loath super activists. But fuck this place is like a palace, part of a convent overlooking Barcalna, with a squat symbol on the roof dominating the city, amazing.

In the quarter where the Mikabra squat is located there stands a giant new flat complex, originally a chimney tower dominated the same area´s skyline, Iosaf says there has been a concious effort to replicate the phallic effect of the chimney in the reconstruction process happening in parts of the city. Most of the people living in the area are being moved out, and temple bar like developments are popping up. This temple bar effect seems to be having a growing effect on the squatting movement in the city. A lot of the squats are attracted to the idea of registering as artistic associations which to an extent legitimise them in the eyes of the authorities, but also rempves their autonomy and to a degree brings them under state control. There are noticeable areas in the city where there are a lot of squats, in many ways these have turned into new cultural quarters, with an influx of tourists. Along with the influx of tourists there comes the Temple Bar effect. All the nice little cheap cafes, clothes shops and galleries gathering to the archetyple Crusty suddenly become rather popular, and suddenly go sky rocketing up wards in price, so the goods on sale begin to echo the property prices. You can even see this in effect, I mean Barcalona is a city of Crustys, never before have i seen so many dreadlocks and dreaded mullets, if European fashion trends are anything to go by, I´d advise you all to start growing your hair so you too can have a dreaded mullet, at least one facial piercing and suitably neo hippy clothes within the next six months.
The squatters meet weekly in an assembly to discuss the issues facing them. The law here´s about as bad as anywhere else, you have to be occupying for 20 years before its yours. Talking to Iosaf was interesting, he described how there was a peace camp down by the regional government buildings, in a square. They spray painted all over it, the cops didnt go near them. For three weeks their agenda was all over the public discourse, but there was some failure to advace beyind it, the whole city responded to the anti-war agenda, but never moved beyond the idea of the anti-war protest. The state simply stood by and let them do their thing until it petered out. Aznar even said in the media that the street protests were just a game, and could be ignored, in a way I guess he identified the fact that sometimes protest can be like going to mass, there was no change in direction to respond to this. The energy and enthuasism that went into the protests burnt itself out after this period. During the war there was apparently an instinctive Barcalona/Catalon reaction against Madrid and Aznar´s backing for Bush, a reaction that in part is due to the regionalism here and also the city´s unique history. This reaction is now being channelled into that Forum 2004 I mentioned earlier on, clever when you think about it. Capture the spirit of the anti-war movement and channel it into something like the Forum that helps solidifies the emerging sense of a re-defination of what it is to be Catalon. This whole regionalism thing in Spain, it confuses the shit out of me.

Can Mas Dieu was an old Leper colony that was closed down after the discovery of penicilin. unfortunate that. Walking up to it from the metro we had to follow these spraypainted stars which tagged the route, then there it was on the horizon, woods enclosing it, fucking huge the place is. Walking up to it i assumed it was an old convent because a crucifix remains on the roof of the unsquatted part of it. I had hoped for some colourful history on the place being routed during the civil war, alas no church burnings here, just some poor fuckers with a dodgy skin condition. Your man martin seems to be happy enough, sitting perched naked in his room with this amazing view, to which he owes his recovery. Most people there seem to like their nudity buzz. I hadnt realised how few people were involved in the bridge action in Evian, about 15, thats crazy fucking shit to be taking part in, watching the video of the whole thing unfold would totally set me even further against any of these super activist type stunts, hanging yourself off a bridge to stop delegates getting by. Give me a burning barricade any day. They have these huge gardens which are run collectively, parts of the gardens are used by locals. Apparently the main problem there is that they havent enough garden space to facilitate the demand from locals who want to use it. There have been attempts to evict them. Last time there was a three day battle to defend it, which mostly consisted of people hanging from ropes at strategic locations. The cops had no easy access point and tried to burst through the walls. It failed. Its the jewel in teh crown because its the most legitimised of the squats, in that its the friendliest and most open to the public, if the cops can legitimise a move against that, then every squat in Barcalona is at risk.

We were meant to re hook up with Iosaf lastnight in the city centre, dark and mysterious in the centre of some square near the central metro, eleven fifty five sharp, by the time we made it back out to Makebra, packed away our stuff, said our goodbyes to the dogs which snarled bitterly at us for some reason, we couldnt find the square. I blame Iosafs unique writing style, craze and all over the place, think hed blended two words together leaving us lost. I was ment to interview him, but can do it over email. Got a mail from him; apparently he spent the evening blasting out the sex pistols, a catalon instruction tape for kids, techno, jazz and his rants and some other guys in english, all this in a cachophony at the same time, seemingly people liked it. We spent the nite down by the harbour, my bag ripped and i had to sew it, playing tune sthrough my dictaphone attracted the usual mad outta it after club crowd over for the random chats. We had to stay up till seven, so three cans of red bull in hand, smoking like a monkey on crack we were entertained by this coked up film student who faced the sam problem of having to stay concious through out the night to resume filming at six, a film about prostitution. Las Ramblas, the main tourist street was insane, hookers every where, seen an english lager type start on a waiter who called him a cunt in catalon. The waitress explained that Puta was an expression like 'Christ sake' or whatever, apoligising the tourist explained he didnt understand catalon; that was clear as the staff politily called him evry term of abuse I know in Catalon to his face with a wry smile, then burst their shits laughing with the rest of us as himl and his metalica tshirted friend stumbled off for after pub food.

Today could have been tortourous, what is it with the need to prebook tickets on french trains, we were screamed at by an irate conducter demanding ten euro each, wed been in the station for over an hour, some back hole called cerebres with one phone booth, a pharmachy and kids hanging out in the train station as the only exciting place in town.

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Monday, September 15, 2003

Doing the Tourist Thing

We did the whole tourist thing again yesterday, i was fucking knackered after travelling and kipped from about 10pm to 11am this morning. Got some food, and strolled around paris gawking around at shit like the eiffel tower, thought that might impress me somehow, but nah, it was boring, i eat some strawberries and started to burst with this need to shit, had to pay fifty bloody cents for the privilge. They really have ripping tourists off down to a tee, four euro for an ice cream...jesus christ! you'd have to be fucking crazy.

Made our way from paris to barcelona, paris was a drudge. Baracalonas not on our tickets, interrail tickets are a waste of time, all the travelling weve done so far doesnt come to the cost of them, never mind if we just train hopped; in future id advise people to avoid interrail tickets, like i said about tgv, theyre pretty worthless anyway.

Thought we were sorted on the train from paris for bunks, apparently fucking not, class decides who sleeps and who doesnt. Mental views across the mountains as we came into spain, of course i slept through most of it. they practically lock you into train stations here, you have to have a ticket to get pas tsome barrier in the actual station, being irish id dumped it, so we had to pull a runner, as the spainish dude deliberated with a pregnant lady.

So we made it to Barcelona. After a day wandering around Paris doing all the tourist like thing i described earlier we decided it ws time to leave, as there was nothing clearly happening there, which for me was something of a huge dissappointment, ahd romantic notions about Paris sicne I was a kid. Arriving back at the squat at rue de courannes we discovered that there was some sense of an attempt to organise through overt political action in the form of a place called the SolIArtium, basically it was an exihibit place for artists.

It was odd the streets being so littered with political posters, yet nothing seemed to be really happening, really got the impresion that things are more spontaneous, from what Noks was saying confrontations seem to apeen organically and in the suburbs. The film La Haine being an obvious way to understand this; pigs kill a friend, cars get burnt, shit goes down. Theres is also meant to be more of a squatters movement in the suburbs. When i say organically, of course im not ignoring the reality of the energy put into things like the antiwar movement, but basically anyone we met political there seemed to just let others do that work and then hop on board to provoke a riot, which while not being a bad thing, can be a bit annoying if for the rest of the time they just smoke hash and discuss anarchism in hushed tones among themselves. I gather that where as in Dublin, the left almost ignores the significance of young kids fighting off the police at a beach party organised by MTV, in Paris this would be seen in a wider context. One of the Sundays described how the kids at Dollymount shouted anarchist slogans 'fuck the police' and the like. In france theres a wider built in recognition of the role of the state in the average persons mind, and that comes from experience and every day life. For instance id imagine the kids been hassled for selling smoke outside the squat would see no hessitation in fighting off a raid on the immigrants quarter of the squatted factories. But then again maybe Im wrong.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Paris - Sleeping In Morrisons Grave - The Insurrectionists

Up The Dubs!Arrived in Paris monday night, got fucked over on the TGV, didnt think we had to resereve tickets, thought you just hopped on like interail tickets conferred some god like status on you, apparently not since privatisation.. had our passports confisacated and forced to pay 20 EUR to get them back. We just had that street name for the place in Paris, found the street eventually. We thought it was a whole squatted street, but we couldnt find it anywhere, the next morning we copped it was a lane off the main street. Some peroxide blonde with decent enough english directed us to bench when we asked for a squat, think she thought we wanted to sit, realising what we were on about she told us it was a dodge neighbour hood and to get a hostel and find it tomorrow. There's some festival on and we couldnt find dot. Short had an address he got in Evian from some girl, found that but when he seen it was in a nice polite appartment complex he turned Shy and refused to ring the bell more than once. Alas, we ended up kipping beside a bridge in some park close to Place De Republique, a commerative street and statue near where the Bastille was fucked over in the Revolution. It was surprisingly comfortable, once you kept your head covered over with a nice sleeping bag, fortunately mine has one of those hood things. Considering how easy we found the squat the next morning, it was probably a good thing we didnt get stung for the cash needed for a hostel, and I'd do it again. I figure shit like sleeping rough for the sake of saving cash is a lot easier with a larger group, you can have a laugh and also there is the protective factor, the collective confidence of the group.

Woke up tuesday and got breakfast, was hesitant about that, wouldnt have minded another bit of kip..being doing loadsa of that lately, sleeping the travelling train journeys away Ordering stuff in shops can be well intimadating without a decent accent, had to post back some vinyl and i fely like i was talking to a head master. Sitting around bored in the squat, i picked up a political magazine by Alfredo M Bonnano, i could surprisingly understand a lot of it, i think when i get back i might make a concious effort to start reading in french, zines and the like, maybe have a glance over some basic grammer, just to improve my vocabulary, dont think thres much i can do about my accent and workinf grasp of it, reading is a lot different to the fast flow of a speakers pace. Must smash lingustic imperialism!

Went to see Jim Morrison's grave, Pere Lachaise is quite big, but I generally found that you just folow the obvious tourist types, who are making the trek to the grave. I spotted a hippy, and tailed him, Shorts a bit more into his map reading and standing around looking lost, i prefer to just suss shit out by street signs and asking about. I even got a picture of the Hippy. I hate that standing about looking at maps shit, feel like a spare tit, and plus it also limits your ability to just wander and discover shit, really get to know an area. Bloody hell the first nite in Brussels was a case in point, we went to a net cafe to search for a hostel, there was one right next door...Jims grave was a pile of shite, i went more for the comedic value.

Theres a hilarity in the icononisaton of people like him, id know i was a fan... you have philosphers, heads of state and then that bloated drunken cadaver with a mixture of eejits swooning over his grave with flowers like it was some bloody shrine to Buddha. Odd. They ahd to clean up the whole place recently because loadsa of graves had been spray painted with sign posts to the grave. ''Jims this way maaan...and an arrow!' Type of shit. 'The old hippy seems to be some sort of fixture in the place, with his black jacket and shades, notebook out pondering crap odes to Jim Morrison, theworkmen give the fucker a wave as they drive by. Some french randomer told me to put my feet down off a park bench on the grave yard, it was disrespectful apparently. Such a conservative country, such an emphasis on an unfounded respect for your elders. Used the net and dug up an exact address for the squat. Strolled around the street and found it, its a squatted side street, olds factories. Some of its used for housing illegal immigrants, there is an infoshop and an open squat but the one we're in is more like just where the activists live and some other heads. Theres a german and two israelis passing through it as well. We just stood around asking for Noks, eventually he popped his head out of a Window, it was so like something from a french movie but thank fuck we'd found some where to stay. Invited us in and we just sat around chilling while they smoked joints. Seems like a real nice bloke, so do the others, i gather they dont do much with their time, which is a huge change from the lifestyle in Leuven, where theyre always organising and doing stuff, i guess and gather that stuff is done more spontaneous here. They go by the phrase the police will evict us tomorrow, and that is how they live. There have been attempts and they have been beaten, like when gigs are on and stuff and raided, theyre around all the time apparently. To be honest i prefered the more hectic getting shit done spirit of the other place, there was always something on, but it was still really relaxed, and i felt there was room to get invovled, also i i didnt feel like i was intruding.

It lacks the communal spirit of Leuven, where everything was political, they smoke a lot of hash, and i tried talking to the Noks guy about the political scene in paris, but hes not overly forthcoming about much. i can really only tell what hes involved in from the posters and magazines in the gaff, they seem real extreme autonomous types, i mean theyve articles on armed struggle lying around. But then again, one look at my room and id be done under the special powers act as well if the political climate mitigated it. When i got stoned with them, i became convinced they were some sort of armed cell like the Red army faction, hence the lack of overt political action. Fucking hell, thats what hash does to you and hence why im trying to avoid it, but smoking fags chronically. Short cant roll, so i tend to roll and pass on straight away, still avoiding drink and drugs, i just roll seeing as they pass us joints. I Havent a clue if the rest are political or not, the german seems like a real airy fairy stoned dreaded hair type, the israelis; seem the same, just smoking blow and bumming; we all chipped in about two euro for food yesterday, and the fuckers didnt even save a bit for me and short; considering it was meant to pay for communal food for about 11 people, that was a bit of a kick in the teeth. A bit different to Leuven, im sure you agree. Dez, that guy you dont like seemed to not have been far off in his description of squattng in paris

Cops called tuesday night to harrass the immigrants squatting the factory opposite, they call noks and that the rats, they always abuse them in an effort to make them come out for a confrontation. They usually decline. The streets are riddles with political posters, for the salonika eight and a lot of anarcho syndicalist ones, asked noks a few questions about that, but he was a little unforythcoming and said he didnt work with anyone, which even for an autonomous is a bit odd.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2003


Squat frontWe were in Leuven, a small enough city outside of Brussels, say about 20 minutes by train since Tuesday the second, the Squat there is real nice. We were feeling like total tits and spare tools at first, bumbling around like fools offering help to anyone in sight who looked like they were busy, feeling all guilty about having this totally deadly place to stay. The language barrier was about as awkward as this key board, sitting around not being able to communicate with a large group of people, not sharing in their jokes and all that can be a little paranoia inducing. The squat was funny, seeing as they squated a bulding owned by Opus Dei. Same story in Belguim, they use their student hostels as recruiting grounds for new blood. Under Belgan law you can not be evicted untill the owner as concrete state approved plans for the property. The squat is ran by anarchists, who just also happen to listen to punk opposed to patch wearing chaos punk types. Lots of different groups come together to run it, Anarchist Black Cross, Food Bot Bombs, RTS and the like. About 9 people live in it. On the first evening we attended this open day, where they tried to rally local support against Opus Dei's attempt to reclaim the premises, they seem to have a fair bit of support and it's a fifty fifty battle. The town is littered with posters displaying Opus Dei qoutes, exposing their real agenda. There wasnt much for us to do the first night, so we went to bed pretty early. The second night this girl Wendy, who was organising the gig there got me helping out, just putting out floor mats so people don't fall and break their ass when drunk.

Arsen were amazing, real passionate hardcore punk with female vocals, Vuur were like a souped up Capdown that have been listening to waaay more of the type of germanic hardcore, there was another band but they were rock star pricks.

The following morning i got to help Wendy do the dishes, got hanging out with her later that evening. She's really sweet and probably made the time in the squat a lot better than it would ahve been otherwise, just by being so sound, was nice to have someone to talk to all the time, considering all the language barriers. After the Arsen gig, she even came and spent three hours waiting with me while i got my tattoo, she had skipped work and a meeting wth her Ma just to spent time with me. Spent most of my time In Leuven hanging out with her, if I wasnt off bumming down town; or using the net. She gave us an address in Paris for a friends squat and is keeeping on touch over the net to ensure we are OK. Ended up spending a lot more time in Leuven than we'd originally planned, just left sunday, but that Oi Polloi festival thing was cancelled so it didnt fuck us up on time or anything like that.

You could say i went on tour with a band! Well i humped gear into a van, and got a lift to a youth centre in a van with Intestinal Disease, a band some people in the squat are in. That was wierd. A mad hardcore band with female vocals, then these straight ahead Minor Threat/ Black Flag types, and a ridiculous metal band, the kids, fourteen to twenty year olds were loving it mad outta it on drink and hash which they were consuming at their perusual in the youth centre, it even had a bar, Belguim is as liberal as Holland apparently, the centre was sponsered by Stella Artois.

Actually kind of sad leaving the place as we were made feel soo welcome, Wendy was really sound and made me feel really good again after the madness of Sunday Night at the Warzone, I'd happiy have spent three weeks there, playing football with the heads, running around with Wendy looking for places to chill out.

I decided on the tattoo for my leg, the one I was deliberating over ; I've substituted a black star for the moon. Wendy from the squat came with me to get it done, which was really sweet of her, she had to wait three hours. They weren't going to do it for me as they were closing, but as i was travelling and hanging with the squat heads, they said yeah sure, why not, even gave me a discount. Its the one ive always wanted to get done, originally it symbolised a breaking down of political repression, but now there is a personal symbolism, in that i see a need for people to break down communication barriers without inebriation, that all comes from that warzone experience. I enjoyed the show in the squat the other night without chemicals, no need to down a pint to dance, just music, im sure my behaviour with drugs may change again, but i honestly think that the need for communication outside of getting drunk and stoned is something fundamental i now think, and will in future. Alas we had to move on.

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Monday, September 01, 2003

The Warzone Festival and the Come Down From Hell

Warzone FlyerThe warzone festival in belfast was really good, at least untill well into the sunday night, when i got real fucked up on what i dont know. I remember sitting on the table in the Cafe, I thought there were flashes coming from my camera in my pocket, i checked and it was off, but i was convinced it was flashing to tell me the battery was dead or to take photos, I tried to take photos but couldnt; everything was intimadating me. I remember watching the break dancing and skateboarding and feeling like i was outside of my body looking on, at these events with no control. Earlier in the nite i was just running around hyper, buzzing off people, then shit got wierd. There was a time when sarah handed me a can of cider and i nearly let it drop because i thought it could float by itself, i could see stars in the ceiling of the Warzone, and dont know what was real or not. Can remember a friend shouting at me, i rang him, apparently it didnt happen. I remember hugging sarahs mate who was meant to drop by the festival; she never did drop by. Remember saying real crazy shit to her, apparently she said i didnt. I was sharing drinks with people all night, which in retrospect was a real tit of a thing to do, maybe i should have listened to my ma more. Hence why I've been asking on Eirecore about the pills and spiked joints and drinks. Whatever it was, it was going through my system with two and a half bottles of buckfast, that vodka, hackler that was been passed around, a flagon and cans of cider and god knows what else, never mind all the spliffs, never mind the shit from the previous days.

I remember there was a Belfast girl in the toilet, I skipped the Q to vomit after someone gave me a slug of some straight hackler. I apoligised to her and her friend, then got ranting about the weekend as you do. We got talking about drugs and I said i was just drinking but earlier had planned on stopping drinking and maybe doing a pill, having never done one before properly, as the evening progressed I just drank; then she told me she was going to kiss me and i wasnt to kiss back or do anything; just to let her kiss me. Been fucked drunk i let her. May have been then shit went array, you know passing whatever on through her mouth; i think thats what happened, as some people had said there was a dealer in the toilet, belfast girl with red hair on Saturday night...think that was her. The whole thing really fucked up my head, getting the train from amsterdam to brussels i could hear hardcore bands in my head, other passengers were out to kill me, was consumed with paronia, the plane was a fucking tortorous affair, didnt think i was ever going to feel normality again. Really felt like I needed a hospital. I kept having panic attacks, felt like screaming out for no other reason than being terrified. Even the first nite in the Leuven squat, the graffiti on the walls looked real menacing as i tried to sleep, some parts of the arsen gig made me feel like running outside they were so frightening.

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Soundtracksforthem specialises in iconoclastic takes on culture, politics, and more shite from the underbelly of your keyboard. A still-born group blog with a recent surge of different contributers but mainly maintained by James R. Big up all the contributers and posse regardless of churn out rate: Kyle Browne, Reeuq, Cogsy, Chief, X-ie phader/Krossie, Howard Devoto, Dara, Ronan and Mark Furlong. Send your wishes and aspirations to

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