“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly… and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” [Attributed to Mark Twain]
So here’s to music, random chance, ideas, idealism and friendship one year on from my last trip to the Netherlands…and a chance to explore a new city, dream of endless possibilities and (re)discover a shared humanity.
A stretch maybe, but stick with it…. its mostly photographs anyway 🙂
First up then, a Hugh Cornwell acoustic set at Die Oude Rooms Katholiek Ziekernhuis, (Old Roman Catholic Hospital) in Groningen. A fine gig covering a back catalogue of 35 years, and a reminder that I first saw the Stranglers back in 1977…
“Tell you what I’m gonna do
Gonna make love to a water rat or two
And breed a family
They’ll be called the survivors
You know why?
‘Cause They’re gonna survive…”
But not just any old venue: ORKZ is a legalized squat in Groningen. The buildings were left empty in 1979 when the hospital moved to a new complex. Initially designated for the demolition and redevelopment, squatters first occupied the property in September 1979. In 1985 the squat was legalized , initially as an experiment for a five year period , until the management of the property was ultimately transferred to the residents.
The popular characterisation of squatters is of people who occupy the homes of others, displacing them in the process and damaging property ignores the extent to which squatting is a manifestation of homelessness and housing need. Not that ORKZ (or any other similar social housing scheme) is a perfect solution- 250 or so individuals living under the same roof isn’t without its difficulties, but without daring to dream, nothing changes.
“…From the next room, the scraping of a chair dragged across the floor
Footfall on the ceiling and the muffled sound of a radio
Announces the hospital waking from its slumber
Shared lives in separate spaces slowly emerge
Blinking and bleary eyed from the night
Alive to the promise of a new morning…”
[John Callaway.(2013). From “Shared lives in separate spaces…” ] As yet unpublished 😉
And so to the art of walking…
Throw away the maps, reclaim the act of wandering, of seeking out, of seeing, of feeling, of being…
Understand that “…(the) vast map (is) useless, and not without some pitilessness…. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are tattered ruins of that map, inhabited by animals and beggars; in all the land there is no other relic of the disciplines of geography…”.
[Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, Translated by Andrew Hurley (Penguin 1999)].
More photographs here
Love & thanks to Akke Antje & Linda for their patience and forbearance!