When my friend Tom usually says "Hey I'm going to a squat party, you should come" I usually envision a dark and dingy building with lots of drug addled protesters and hippies. I was pleasantly surprised.
We started off in Reading at the Allied Arms having a quick drink before we headed to the train station to get some drinking beers and food. On the train to London we chatted, I took pictures and general tomfoolery.
The squat was in Hackney so a bit of a trek from Reading, but a tube here and a bus there we got there. The reason for the bus was the tube was being its usual crappy self, only problem with the bus was Arsenal had just won 6-0 and was letting out time when came past. We got to Hackney around 7pm, fashionably late i know, and the place was amazing. Like an old theater it loomed at an awkward angle.
A lot of people were already outside, sitting in a boat, on the floor or standing around chatting. We paid the £5 donation then went to get some beer from Iceland. Apparently me carrying in two 4 litre bottles of Ye Olde English wasn't the thing to do so i settled with 4 cans of strongbow to start with.
We sat around chatting to random people and some of Toms friends came and chatted to them. The music was from 2pm onwards and we caught a few of them, mainly Punk with some ska-punk too.
There was one band that was pretty good, after a few songs the singer would read some of his poems. One went "What kind of man are you, who rubs his elbows against mine on the tube. Must be a poof" Then 10 seconds into his song a guy ran out of nowhere, jumped on stage, lamped him and grabbed the Mic stand trying to hit the guy. The singer grabbed his bass to try and defend but the crowd divided them.
Apparently the singer has a history of saying homophobic or sexist remarks. Shame as it was a good band up until that point. Ah well. Punks eh?
I don't remember how or when, partly due to drugs and or alcohol, but i sat down talking to some people, Ann, Angela and Caroline. Good chats about life and such, probably the drugs, but at one point Angela was helping this guy Morgan who was absolutely battered. We got him some water and Angela went to find Thelma, a sexy secretary looking polish girl who was his girlfriend. She couldn't so i tried, failed but helped him inside so he could pass out somewhere.
Hours passed, drinks were drunk, chats were had and dancing was done. Yes theres probably photographic evidence of me skanking it up but it was fun.
It got to about 2.30am and i started chatting to a girl called Lisa about Pokemon, Stargate and other such nonsensical wonderment that long nights of drinking bring forth. Which was a nice end to the night.
Tom was talking about an after party in a warehouse but at time of leaving the squat, 3ish? There was no word. Morgan appeared out of nowhere and said he was going to a party so i left Tom, Anders and the others to head back to Paddington, while i stayed with Morgan. Outside he was chatting with some guys and i asked him for directions back to Paddington, he gave them to me but as i helped him when he was drunk he wasn't going to let me wander the streets of Hackney alone. Which was good because i had about £800 worth of stuff on me.
We walked through Hackney sharing a bottle of rum and coke when he laid the bomb on me that he had nowhere to go as he was Homeless. We continued chatting, about himself and how he came to be on the streets. Unfortunately he was a victim of circumstance. Foster homes, run ins with police etc, I'll leave alot of that discussion out.
He came to London from Ireland about 10yrs ago but again circumstances meant he was on and off the streets. We sat around talking for hours. He met a couple in the off license and they came and we all sat around chatting till the sun came up. He is actually a graphic designer and currently has two websites up and running, he uses free WiFi to update etc. He was a really nice guy, and now a friend on Facebook, hopefully I'll see him at some point again.
It got to that point where i had to find my way back to paddington otherwise i would just curl up in a ball and pass out. I said my goodbyes and jumped on a bus that said 'Via Kings Cross' as i vaugley knew where that was.
OK due to me endlessly twittering to keep me amused during my journey it helps piece together things. Apparently i left the squat at 3:54am with Morgan and we chatted till 6:44am which is when i got on the bus to nowhere. Due to that nice bus trip it meant i was back in Hackney about 7:30am because i went to McDonald's to get some breakfast. Now i have only had 1 McDonald's in about 4 years and that was on New Years Eve.
After walking a while some guy called Gary proceeded to tell me that he 'Doesn't drink or do drugs but needed some money for a hot chocolate" I ended up getting a tube from Highbury and getting to Paddington at 9:29am. So it took me 3hrs of walking and the such to get me about 8miles, impressive display of idiocy.
I think my experience of Hackney is summed up by this tweet
"I cant seem to escape hackney. Ive walked in every sodding direction and taken a bus yet I'm still in fucking hackney"
Not having much money i was pleased to see the gates in London were open and if i had any trouble in Reading i would just say i came from Twyford. As soon as the train left Paddington i must have sparked out in the vestibule because i woke up as we just pulled into Reading. I then remembered i sodding cycled to Reading so had a 4mile bike ride home. Slowest bike ride ever. I walked into my home around 10am, and fell asleep till 4pm. Then went to a friends from 8pm - 2am. No point wasting a day in bed :)
All in all i had an amazing time in London. The squat party was brilliant and was for a good cause so check out the website No Sweat. The people i chatted to were amazing and I even enjoyed the walk home.
I think that's about it, unfortunately this probably doesn't seem that good, but to me it was a fun evening and I'm sure some of it has been lost in translation.