We spent September at Mum and Dad's new home, painting walls white and working in their house and garden. A predictably and unpredictably eventful few weeks including an almighty argument over a toilet cistern and puncturing an electricity pipe with a spade.

I want a network of young people creating a different economy’

30 OCT 2014
1 (c) Alt-Gen
With young people trapped between unemployment and underemployment, the political response is too paternalistic, says new organisation AltGen.
Praia Da Carriagem, West Coast


Lesson 3 of living in a van:
Don't leave it until 30 minutes to sunset to try to find somewhere to cook dinner and sleep for the night, when you're relying on a road map that bears 20% resemblance to reality.

West across the Algarve with the intention to stay for a night closer to our next family visit in Loule. Following the map (we still haven't learnt) we thought we'd take the coastal road to try to find a quiet-ish place to park. 'Quiet-ish' and 'parking' don't go together on the Algarve coastal road (duh). After 20 minutes totally lost in traffic, HOT, wedged between hotels and stopping every 3 metres for road-crossing inflatables, we found ourselves at a dead end next to a water pumping station, HOT and in a fucking strop... Rather drive inland and sleep on the side of the main road... There were a few Pine trees on our left with, between piles of dumped rubbish, a path that smelled a bit of the sea.
Leaving the van, the path took us through some more trees and some more rubbish, to a quiet cliff-top between beaches, with tall columns and walls of rock around deep ocean-bottom wells. We picked our way across to the furthest bit jutting into the the sea and watched the sun go down with the fishermen, Azure-Winged Magpies, and the Algarve Party Boats pumping Cascada...


Lesson 4 of living in a van:
Didn't want a bike rack, thought our back door had done enough in life being a door and could do without two bikes hanging from it's neck.


“What strikes me is the fact that in our society, art has become something which is related only to objects and not to individuals, or to life. That art is something which is specialised or which is done by experts who are artists. But couldn't everyone's life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?” Michel Foucault

Despite getting lost between goat herders and villages, our only sign of direction being the occasional other scruffy campervan to try to follow... they are actually following us... we found BOOM FESTIVAL, alongside a lake near to Idanha-A-Nova in the middle of the Portuguese countryside. We queued, picking up an assortment of hitchers, for 5 hours. Endless tracks through Eucalyptus forests and a phenomenal number of teasing brows of hills, definitely just over the next one...
A festival of oneness, art, environment, music, culture and love. We were blown away (literally) by the spectacular, kaleidoscopic structures, intricate and magnificent and almost entirely bamboo. The festival is rooted in ecology: trying to establish an active, sustainable change beyond the Boom land.
From a workshop in mud-building to gong-yoga to floating on our backs in the lake, to the wavey pulse of a didgeridoo playing live psytrance... Purchases could be made using Bitcoin. The de-criminalisation of drugs allowed a testing centre with intention to reduce health risk, publicly reporting safety and purity.
A tribal gathering of 30,000 people representing over 100 countries, united to visualise and manifest an alternative, positive vision for the future. Completely free of corporate sponsorship, no VIP areas or special treatments. It was a transformational week in a transformational place. Typically hard to put into words, holding a place in our hearts, 2 years, until next time. <3

3 for me and 6 for Angus, years of totally brilliant fun in London. But student life and loans came to an end, staying in London faced us with the prospect of 6 days a week, before 8 in the morning to varyingly late at night in a job we thought was sort of great at the start, but over weeks we'd start to resent for depriving us of a sociable time to have dinner with our housemates, any days off spent mostly sleeping… Wondering when we last made any art… and how long are we supposed to pretend we are enjoying this? Trying to 'climb the ladder' in an economy where half the ladder rungs turn out to be an inaccessible illusion. Being a part of Actionspace when they got their funding cut and could no longer provide a free art centre; Watching the individuals with disabilities and learning difficulties who had come regularly to make their art, which for most was their best or only way of communicating, disappear off the radar. Their disability allowance had also been cut. Angus working hard and reliably for 5 years for Evans Cycles in Holborn who, after an 'extraordinarily successful year', wrote to tell their staff (working for £6.50/h without any real pay rise) of the millions they had made in profit, and to reward them for their hard work with a box of Quality Streets to share between them, equalling at a reward of a chocolate and a half per staff member.

There were ways to live around the economic kind of shit- we had 3 years of delicious meals for next to no £. At around 7pm Peckham Rye bins overflow with slightly bruised vegetables and ripe fruit. Covent Garden Market will give you bags of focaccia and samphire if the market manager catches you rummaging in a bin, he walked us around the stalls collecting bits that didn't sell, happy to ensure no food from his market would go to waste. Or New Covent Garden Market at 5am if you put on a 'I'm supposed to be here' high-vis and avoid the security guards who have now been told to get rid of the people diving into skips to make meals from the mountains of food heading to land-fill.

Get a message when we do another one!

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