Brixton Hill 1992 to 1993

After the new year - still going to Plymouth for xmas then - there seemed to be tensions around in the house between me and some of the others. Dick N went for me while I was talking about how much I enjoyed the Lush gig - B hadn't enjoyed it so much - thought sound was poor. Dick thought I was wrong even though I hadn't been there. Stormed out. Decided to move out there and then. after that tried to avoid the others and plotted my move.

Decided to go to Spain this year for holiday - explore Andalucia on the train. Mum bought me a map of Spain for xmas. In the end I didn;t have a holiday in 1992. Think I was beginning to enjoy myself a bit too much in London.

Wasn't sure if I could afford £60 a week but went for it anyway as I fancied living somewhere a bit nicer than the usual. This said it had all mod cons, dishwasher, washing machine. It was a nice light house within spitting distance of Brockwell Park.

Two apparently sullen people lived in the house, a northern bloke and American girl, used to go out of their way to avoid me. The bloke never ever talked to me, even to say "hello". He so obviously resented that we lived there too. The girl was from New Jersey and she was ok when I finally got to talk to her - in fact she was really nice. She acknowledged her boyfirend's bad attitude and even felt guilty about it. Their habit of never doing the dishes, which wound Debbie up more than it did me, finally came to a head – Debbie piled them up on their bed – the American girl had tried to wash up before leaving but he wouldn't let her. They used to have blazing rows and he seemed to have potential to be violent. They eventually got married though, and left. Oddly enough they were huge Billy Bragg fans, as was I.

A new Billy Bragg album came out during this period – the polished one with "you woke up my neighbourhood" on it – the American girl hadn't decided whether it was too polished or not. She had met Mr Neanderthal at a BB concert in the UK.

Liz – quite large and a fairly masculine woman, a television producer; jolly hockey sticks and all that. Not aware that she ever had a partner.

I met the landlady one day. She was in Africa most of the time, but was in England. I have a feeling she didn't stay long and probably went back. She seemed OK, quite attractive. 30something. Film-maker.

I often sat up late with Debbie talking. There seemed to be a certain amount of sexual tension in the air and I regret not going for it. Nearly did a few times. I think I finally blew it when I brought Celia back.

Anyway when scumbag and his girlfriend moved out Debbie, was tasked with finding new tenants which is where Richard and Louise came into the story. In this relationship it was the guy who was very nice and the girl who was an uptight shitbag.

Meeting Dave in Presley's pub, Totteham Ct Rd. The Celia debacle.

Me and dave used to meet in central London in a pub called "Presely's" - there was even a radio four documentary about it while we were customers. We used to meet all sorts in there - lots of travellers. I scored my first weed in there in early 1990. Dave worked around the corner.


Holding GP meetings in house. Met Greenpeace Helen in Brockwell Pk for first time, a genuinely lovely person.

I'd strted with the group in september 1991. Met the woman who ran the group - a swiss woman called Barbara. Her boyfriend was also in the group. also met transgendered Leslie/Lesley, builder Keith who was to remain friends to this day, a guy called Dave - this was the core of the group, and i really liked these people. Quickly took on group duties - membership secretary first. Volunteered to do the stall work. The first thing I did at the end of '91 was acquire a bag of jumble from Julia in the Clapham house just before moving. That bag of jumble sat in my room for next 6 months or so before the group attended its next boot sale. It was still in my room when celia visited. caught her looking in the bag, no doubt she saw the dress, skirt and other lady clothes that Julia had donated. I never said anything about it, and she never asked till one day I made a Bonnie and Clyde reference and she said, "oh yeah, and you're Bonnie". Ooops!!

The thing about being membership Sec was that I could keep a handle on any new people coming into the group. It wasn;t deliberate strategy but a lucky thing and one I would repeat in any new group. I could also control what information each memebr received on behalf of the group. I was keen to feed in more than just the approbved GP materials.

I worked with Ed to produce a newsletter. I kept the newsletter duties going for the next two years or so. I created a news column and put in local items about other groups, campaigns as well as the usual GP stories.

I stayed close to Ed until the end of 1993. We met up most weekends and recorded music. we bought a 4 track tape recorder and worte and recorded a series of songs. Dave's band were going at the time and he'd been writing stuff for them. He invited me to write lyics for one of his songs which I did: "Uh Oh the rise of Christianity!". I wrote other songs for me and Ed, ed was music I was strictly words. A song about Sting called Rich white Pop star. I think this was in early 1993. In 1992 we met up and put together a top newsletter on GP and green issues. But Ed wouldn;t join the group, I did persuade him to come with me and Nik to a demo on Twyford down.

It was in 1992 I went to a GP conference in Leicester. This was around the time that Alex got ill and had to be helicoptered to Leicester hospital where they had this unit - recently called into action due to the critically ill from swine flu - which could keep him alive. He was in intensive care. I visited while he was there and it was genuinely upsetting. though he survived with no lasting effects. Still has asthma though.

So I visited Leicester twice in a short period of time. The GP conference advertsied camping which was in a public park int he centre of town.

I also joined a group called Reclaim The Streets based in Brixton. Shane Collins was the contact.

GP - delivered the newsletter on my bike. Started getting an organic vege box via Barbara. Lisa joined the group. Meeting places were always a problem. Not everyone liked pubs. Prior to Leicester Barbara announced she was standing down as coordinator and I ahd had my eye on this job. But new member Lisa jumped in. We ended up joint coordinators though such a thing was impossible as GP could only send materials to one person. I think at this point I became treasurer. a nightmare job which I did for about a year. the budget never balanced. I had to fiddle it every time. Though it was never by much. For GP our main fucntion was to raise money for their campaigns. They hadn't quite worked out any other use for us at that stage - unlike FoE. I endured that while we upped our campaigning edge we also increased out income. Pub quizzes becaem a regualr event and we raise up £70 or £80 at each event. We also increased out stall income by selling more smaller items and doing more stalls.

and use of collection boxes. Semi regular Pub crawls. Lisa's comedy gig - Stewart Lee, Dylan Moran and others.

My gigs I think in 93 - got local bands to play for free while we sold tickets. It wasn;t so good. Made £80 one night - lost about £50 the next night.

Whale walk. The first one would have been in 1992. It was a lowkey affair. Walked the route putting up markers. Thames side around London Pool. some of it was a bit nasty. In 1993 we upped the ante - got bands on - celebs to open it. Think lisa was a regional coordinator by then. In 1994 I slept out in the tent - remember being skint - and then got bussed off to Ireland to campaign against whales after the event - compeltely unexpectedly. A delegate from each local walk was expected to go. I didn't expect it to be me!

In 1995 the whale walk was effectively scrapped. I tried to orgainse a walk through south London parks and green spaces. It was a nice walk but no-one turned up. Compelte failure. from hundreds of pounds a few years earlier to about £10 in 1995. the beginning of the end of my involvement with GP.

Gym. Jogging.

Debbie eventually moved on to do a psychology degree, and I became the "boss" of the house. I was given the big room that Debbie had lived in for a single room rent, but expected to take on the day to day responsibilties of running the house. A bloke studying at the LSE moved in for a short time. I hardly ever saw him, can't remember a thing about him. but I don;t think he was there for long. The R&L moved out and I was living there by myself. This was through late '92, early '93 - I was studying philosophy, living in this big old house by myself, and having the time of my life. In the spring I went to sicily.

Peter Sainty offered me a room - when 1992? Dad said I wasn;t to move in because of fire regs. Or lack of. It was either prior to moving in to the Brixton Hill or later when I was thinking of moving out. I met Peter through Greenpeace. He ran a stall in the local boot fair in Streatham. GP UK weren;t happy about us doign a boot fair because of the implicit use of cars. GP did briefly have a campaign for reducing the use of the motor-car before it bottled out. It was that hypocricy that led to me going along with this breach of rules, after all, the minor use of a Peter's car was more than outweighed by facilitating the re-use of items donated to us, and the fact that we usually raised 20 to 30 quid each boot fair we took part in.

I got on with Peter quite well. We drank together on occasion, often after a Greenpeace event. I had got together with Ed to produce a newsletter which we produced periodically, and a single sheet which I produced monthly. I used SchNews and other direct action sheets as a template and packed as much information onto it as possible. It may have alienated one or two of the more conservative members, but in a couple of years I managed to bring through the group quite a large number of people who were looking for somehting more radical. Our turn-over increased and the group more than doubled in size.

Peter offered me the room around this time - I went up to Crystal Palace to have a look. it was a converted loft but without proper provision for a fire escape was a potential death trap, which was a real shame. apart from the the big old house up on the hill was a perfect location, and I think I would have liked sharing a house with Peter. It was soon after that I heard that Peter had died from cancer. He'd had it for a while but the doctors judged he wasn't able to deal with the knowledge of his impending death and didn;t tell him. Others in the group went to his funeral but I don;t think anyone realised I knew him and I was not invited. It was a bit of a shock!!

Finally prospective tenants started arriving. The first was a woman who worked as a counseller - attractive and she liked my cat. then Steve, another counseller moved in.

I had visits from my freinds from out of town, what with all the space I could put people up easily. Andy, Mark both stayed and Ed visited regularly. I seem to remember putting my parents up once too.

The cat arrived one day. We didn't let him in first off but saw him eating slugs in the garden we started to feed him. Gradually he spent more and more time indoors - by the end he hardly went out at all. when I moved I took him with me.

when Mark visited and he and D ganged up on me. D's sister visited a few times for a dinner party. I was quite anti-social at the start. She was planning to get married shortly before/after (?) D left. I got married before her though, oddly.

Visited D-----'s sisters flat once – in Clapham. D----- really did not want to stay in touch with me though.

Breda the cleaner was a constant the whole of my time there. The arrangement was fine when the house was full but hen I lived there alone I paid the whole cleaning bill and the house was hardly lived in. I made a mess just to get my money's worth. I lobbied for a reduction in her hours and she fought back claiming i was very messy. If I was the 10 minutes a week she put in was hardly going to make a difference!! She'd got into the habit of turning up late. Using the phone, then leaving early, and taking the full wack in money. She lost the game though when about £50 of calls turned up on my itemised bill, mainly to Ireland andshe owned up immediately. Paid. and her hours got reduced as I had asked.

Richard was easy going and friendly but Lousie was extremely uptight and even Debbie became angry with her attitdue. Book snobbishness and a refusal to admit Aussie faults such as insititutionalised racism. Debbie applying to Uni and getting accepted. Dark nights drawing in. Lousie whinging on and on. Louise attacking Fang. Fang meeting me at front door every evening. Poor sod!

Louise became openly hostile to me after Debbie left. Intercepting me on way to bathroom in mornings and staying in there so long I was late to work. Kicking my cat. Complaining about me generally and the poms and the English weather. Started philosophy classes: a very good period for me – social life picked up; I had a good mix of friends again; and got attention from attractive young women – although too many at once! I discovered then that I couldn't in all faith string several girls along just to get my end away – I'm a softy at heart and wanted proper relationships. C---- in Macclesfield was a learning experience and I'd taken the lesson to heart. Never again!

Right after christmas R and L announced they were moving out. Adverts went in and no-one was interested. I became willfully eccentric, imagined ghosts, fell out with neighbours, became closer to my cat than was probably right for an adult male. Philosophy continued and I fancied the welsh girl. Running battle with cleaner. GP activity high. Planning whale walk.

Era 6: A female counseller moved into the flat - when she came for her initial viewing she wore a short black pleated skirt – schoolgirl style. I was quite taken with her dress style – she was definitely getting the room after that!

A second counseller (Steve?) soon after. Weird and wacky time up until L arrived. Gave notice and moved to Tooting. Although there were two of us and three cats living in my room now Liz was decent enough to turn a blind eye.

Fang (? to 1996)