I live in a small, rather damp and quite cold flat that for all of its smallness still manages to contain four bedrooms and a winding corridor, stairs that go up and then stairs that go down…probably because it does not contain the space to hold a table for a sit-down meal. It could be very nice and quirky, but mostly it is cold and full of someone else’s stuff. In bags mostly.
But my room is mine, and it is home.
It sits over a shop that once held two large white men who sold a variety of used and crappy things without enthusiasm as they ran poker games out of the back. Since then it has been a used-goods shop that actually made a little more effort (but there was a hell of a lot more angry arguing under my window — which may have signaled a not entirely legitimate business practice or possibly just the presence of customers , something I had never seen/heard before), and a bicycle repair shop with some serious drama amongst owners over a year or so — I miss some of them, though I do not miss their reggae booming through the floor — and some kind of garment making operation in the back. I’ve spent two non-consecutive winters with it empty, just a big ball of cold damp empty space making my room even colder.
All of it has just been sold, the new owner is a bit hostile, making rumblings about structural unsoundness, wants to move the entrance in an inexplicable move that makes no sense given this ‘lovely’ 1840s architecture, but really we think just wants to tear it down. Build some ‘luxury’ flats as cheaply as possible. Words words words and nothing in writing yet. But the end is probably coming.
This is the third time I go through this, different from losing the house my parents built, different from losing my mum’s house that we had all invested in, but still. Forced to pick up and go. Move along. Shove off. Pull yourself out, not up, by your roots or what was left of them. Take them with you in case you sprout back, like a weed. You are not wanted in this new place.
We’ll stay as long as we can, but imagine it will get both unpleasant and ugly. There is a padlock war on at the moment over the back gate.
Sitting here staring at my stuff — I have way too much stuff, I recognise this. Books mostly, I cannot stop from filling anywhere I live with books. And they are a bitch to move, thank god I don’t work for a publisher anymore carting them around to sell. Moving books makes you hate them. So I’m putting everything I might be able to give away to someone deserving (because they were awesome and should not rot here in my room) / get to the thrift shop after reading into a pile to read quick. Quickish. Thought I might post a list to inspire myself to stick with it, also to cheer myself up. I have read one already since my list decision was made.
Death and the Penguin – Andrey Kharkov
- The Black Book – Orhan Pamuk
- The Good Soldier Schweik – Yaroslav Hasek
- Lanark – Alasdair Gray
- Floating Worlds – Cecilia Holland
- The Panda’s Thumb – Gould
- We – Zamyatin
- The Very Slow Time Machine – Ian Watson
- The Octopus – Frank Norris
- Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
- What Was Lust – Catharine O’Flynn
- The Bridge of the Golden Horn – Emine Ozdamer
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay — Chabon
- Semiotext SF
- Conversations with Chester Himes
- The History of the Day Before – Eco
- Southern Nights – Barry Gifford
- The Telling – Le Guin
- The 5th Inning – E. Ethelbert Miller
- Rio Quibu – Ronaldo Menendez
- Fast Forward 2
- Twenty Epics
- The Best Noir of the Century
- The Buenos Aires Affair – Manuel Puig
- The Taking of the Waters – John Shannon
- Mr Bloomfield’s Orchard – Nicholas Money
- Necropolis – catharine Arnold
- Re:Imagining Change – Reinsborough & Canning
- What Would it Mean to Win? – Turbulence
- Vic: Lambeth to Lambourn – Victor Cox
- Gravity’s Rainbow – Pynchon
- Americanah – Chimamanda
- Against Architecture – Franco La Cecla
- Revolting Subjects – Imogen Tyler
- The Housing Monster – Prole
- Session: Irish Stories – Mick Fitzgerald
- Vauxhall – Gbadamosi
- Perfect Vacuum – Lem
- Fiasco – Lem
- Return From the Stars – Lem
- Hospital of the Transfiguration – Lem
- Eden – Lem
- One To Count Cadence – Crumley
To go back to the library:
45. East London – Besant
46. Growing Smarter – ed. robert bullard
47. Palestinian Walks – Shehadeh
48. East End and Docklands – Fisher
No problem reading all of those, right? More will enter this stack I am sure — those two books my dad gave me before he died, can I get rid of those? What about the ones that I needed for my thesis and were really awesome but I probably won’t use again?
The only good thing is that I am finally going to get to use that milestone widget I believe! Now, do I read a big one to free more space or several small ones to cross shit off?