For a Home of Our Own, and a Roof Over Our Heads…

Well, we’ve not done a post here for a while, and anyone who’s anyone knows you’ve got to keep shitting out a steady stream of content if you want to keep your blog relevant. So, get ready for another dropping in the digital cistern.

In the literature, Anarres may be a barren moon devoid of hope or progress, but for us in the co-op things are getting a little exciting. We’ve put an offer in on a property, and it’s been accepted! Whoop, whoop. But we’re not breaking out the knock-off champagne just yet, as house-buying is a slow process, full of back-and-forthing with estate agents, solicitors, surveyors, and planning applications, and now we get to break out the thesaurus and work out what ‘conveyancing’ means. And though our offer has been verbally accepted, and we’re racing through all the legal hoops we can, there’s nothing stopping the owner suddenly deciding to withdraw the offer and hand it to a Jonny-Come-Lately higher bidder. After all, there’s no honour amongst thieves.

Only joking! We’d never compare propertarians to thieves. Who said anything about ‘all property is theft’?

Yeah, so. It’s exciting, but that’s exciting with a small ‘e’, not a big ‘E’.

So, we’ve been busy. There’s suddenly a lot more to do than normal, now we have a specific property in mind-controlled. (I mean, in mind. I don’t know why, but my computer insists on ‘correcting’ my text, so that I speak purely in RPG-isms. Perhaps it’s telling me that the real world is becoming a hellish dystopia, so I should hide even more in fictional fantasy landscapes. But of course, I digress).

We’ve been building our business plans and budgets so far around abstract, hypothetical properties, but now we have a real world (that phrase, >shudder<) floorplan to plan building work around and make sketches.

We’ve also been teaching ourselves legalese, so that our loan application forms and tenancy agreements can stand up to at least a cursory glance of grown-up legal scrutiny. And we have also been contacting all our lenders too, to make good on their promises, and show our bank account the money. So we in turn can show our bank balance and company reg to the agents, and prove that we are actually a legit enterprise, rather than just a collection of ne’erdowells and would-be squatters, who have just been pretending to be shopping for our future dream home, rather than just scoping out future empties to let all the squatters know about.

And because we’re definitely above-board, and not just a weird extended injoke, we’re also looking for two new perfect victims or co-op members, to subject to a grueling regime of back-to-back meetings, endless DIY, and high-stress theory tests on the intersection of radical theory and She-Ra Princesses of Power.

Of course, the people we’ve already had apply represent the pinnacle of humanity/are passable/are okay/are a step above subhuman are great, but there’s still a chance that you might be even better. I mean, our standards are high, but it’s not impossible. So, yeah, get in touch, we’ll send you an application form, and if you can get it back to us by the end of September, then you’ll be in with a chance.

(What else, what else? What’s the word count? Okay, need a bit more padding… Oh here we go, I can pass this off as content)

BASE and Roses (‘B&R’), the mutual aid food project that we’ve been involved in, and have already spoken about, is still up and running. Sadly, we can’t say the same for all of the other Bristol food projects, with whom we’ve been working alongside throughout lockdown. Now that the state is pretending that, even though COVID is still dropping people (and likely to spike again over winter), it’s miraculously now okay for us all to get back to work and holidays and shopping – and so funding has been cut to many of the food provision schemes. After all, life’s too short for governments to attempt to stop them getting shorter. This means that other schemes are winding down, but there’s still a load of folks in Bristol desperate for food which they can’t afford.

There’s not really much question of whether B&R should carry on trying to feed folks, although our need for fresh blood to help run the scheme is growing (especially what with other comrades burning out and/or being dragged back into wage labour), and B&R’s funds are getting low. There are other sources of funding we’re sniffing around, though; if anyone is reading this (who isn’t skint, I mean) can make a donation, please do so, by following this link.

And the plot is thickening, and the metaphor is mixing, because other users of BASE social centre are itching to regain their use of the building. So, the current mountain of empty boxes, bags, and semi-decomposing food needs to be re-homed. But we do have a place to move it to. In partnership with the food projects run by our comrades at the Lion and the Plough, we will be relocating the food boxes part of the project to All Hallows Hall. But the hot meals will still be coming out of BASE, twice a week. And if you feel like offering a drip or two of that fresh blood, or maybe even get involved, drop us a line: baseandroses[at]riseup[dot]net.

DISCLAIMER: the person who has been set loose on the blog insists on employing sarcasm as a suitable substitute for humour, but is also aware that this tone may be offputting or upsetting to some readers. And that irony or whatever doesn’t come across so easily over digital formats, especially as readers are unlikely to know well the person writing. So apologies.

Also, the people that have sent in applications are fine – it’s been very nice to hear from you all. And the home owner that we are interacting with, and all the professionals involved in the process are highly unlikely to be thieves, or any other type of criminal. After all, the criminal justice system clearly works.

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