Category Archives: In My Life

2008: Life

In part one of my “2008 and thereabouts” retrospective, I talked about what I’d been up to work-wise. Now I’m going to focus on my personal and family life. I find this side of things a little harder to talk about, and recall, if only because for most of the year, I spent five days per week at work (usually in London, away from my family) and the other two days recuperating. But here goes…

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Friday nights at the Washington

Since working full-time in London, I get precious little time to spend out-and-about in Sheffield. As you may know, for the last few years I’ve been a regular fixture on Sheffield’s social scene, out with my camera documenting the night-life. I really miss this, and I miss Sheffield’s wonderful people.

Thank goodness for Friday nights, and London-Sheffield trains which arrive at the perfect time, around 10.30pm. And thank goodness for The Washington, around halfway between the station and my house, and usually throbbing on a Friday night, especially when there’s a good DJ night like the Record Hop, Plan B, El Jackster or Banksy’s Fragrant Garden. Here’s a few photos from last Friday night at the Record Hop.

The Record Hop at the Washington

2008: Work

Like I said, I’ve been meaning to post a summary of my last 18 months. Perhaps easier if I split it into two: work, and personal. So, work: I started freelancing in the middle of 2007, and I’ve done a whole bunch of interesting jobs since then (see my CV for full details).
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Dave’s birthday party

After a Christmas and New Year period spent almost entirely at home (I needed to recharge my batteries after 6 months frantically commuting backwards and forwards to London), I thought I ought to have at least one night out in Sheffield before returning to the smoke. So glad I did. I went to Dave (Attwood – drummer from Rumpus & Baby Long Legs)’s birthday party, and had that kind of wonderful time which always seems to happen when I hook up with the Shefferati.
Jokers wild
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Havannah House

Havannah House garden

This is a photo of the back garden of our squat – Havannah House, on Grove Green Road, Leytonstone (I forget what number we were – 189, I think).

The time I spent here, from 1993 to 94, was probably the happiest of my life.

The garden was knocked together with the one next door – the next door house was "the party house", gutted inside, painted black with flourescent designs. Every other weekend, we would hold a massive party – hundreds of people would fill the party house and the garden. These parties were legendary, and passed into East London history.

At the back of the garden, you can see a rubbish tip. All sorts of stuff was buried in here, and it was quite fun to dig around in on an otherwise dull weekend. I once found an old car in there.

We had some sort of electricity feed, though I don’t think we ever paid for it. The party house had gas nicked from the mains – to have a bath, you had to go out through the garden, into the party house, light the pilot light (and hope that the wind didn’t blow it out), then climb up a ladder to the bathroom and start running your bath. You had to keep checking that the water coming out was hot, because that pilot light was forever blowing out. Sometimes you would have to go up and down that ladder several times while waiting for your bath to fill up.

Our only heating was a portable gas heater. Every few weeks you would have to trek over the road to the shop with your empty cannister, then somehow struggle back the couple-of-hundred yards with a full one.

The window panes were cracked and surrounded by gaps. Huge lorries thundered down the street all night and made the glass rattle. Throughout the winter, a cold breeze blew through the panes. Our room was above the garage/lockup, so it was even colder than the rest of the house. Luchie and Michelle were in the other front room, Marie and Laura in the two back rooms, and Brian lived in the darkened chaos of the downstairs room. The slightly feral Ben camped next door in the semi-derelict party house, where he made some sort of a living fixing old TVs.

One morning, I woke up with my bed shaking. The house directly on the other side of my bedroom wall was being pulled down. By the time I got dressed and went outside, all you could see on the other side of our bedroom wall was a bare wallpapered spot hanging out over empty space.

Havannah House was knocked down late in 1994 to make way for the M11 link road.