Friday, 16 September 2016

Thoughts from an empty room.

To be is to occupy space. Walls divide space from space. Walls take space and turn it into place. Place is humanised space.

A place is somewhere to put things. A space is a place with things in it. "Wherever I hang my hat, that's my home". Things are not human. Things are other. What I do to the world, I do by means of things.

Today I move out of one place and into another. I collect the keys, sign my name on various documents I say that I've read, and I arrive. My place. 

Your place or mine?
The place is empty. Some bare necessities have been provided: an oven, electricity, running water. There are no curtains in the windows. The walls are almost white. Accumulated post for the previous occupant, no longer at this address, please return to sender. They have gone to a better place. Round at their place. 

Furniture begins to arrive. It is as though I am already losing something. Space becomes place. 



An unbearable stillness. A king of infinite space. Life is here, I think, somewhere. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Cost of Living: August 2016

August 2016 is the end of 'stage one'.  This month I move from a flat costing me £650-675 a month in rent to one costing £350 a month. Since rent has been my biggest expense up until now, and will probably continue to be for some time, I'm very pleased about this.  It's also satisfying that I'm moving only about 10 miles from where I am now, into a one-bedroom flat that's about the same size as the one I'm in at the moment.  Manchester city centre has become prohibitively expensive for anyone you might once reasonably have described as "normal".  Perhaps it always was: I don't know, or really care.  Normal is relative of course, but you know what I mean.  Just don't live in a city centre, OK?  Trust me on this one.  I am not a normal person.  That's all I have to say about that.

A normal person.
This month's numbers are actually rather pleasing, all things considered.

OUTGOINGS
Food: £168.59
Postage/ebay costs: £89.20
Prescription: £25.20
Rent: £675
Mobile/internet: £87.19
Council Tax: £84.00
Alcohol: £25.14
Deposit and 'admin fee' for new flat: £680.00
Other: £123.64
Total outgoings: £1957.96

INCOME
Income from work: £958.20
amazon/ebay selling: £221.88
Other: £3.30 (refund)
Total income:  £1183.38

BALANCE:  -£774.58

When you take account of the £680 for the deposit and admin fee I had to pay for the new flat (and what is an 'admin fee', really?  Nobody knows) this is an acceptable result.  All being well I have a £750 deposit to be returned to me when I move out of where I am now, which brings me to more or less even for this month.  What that means is that with my rent about to drop by £325, I can live as I have been doing, sustainably, while working much less than I used to.  Goal achieved.  What's next?  Some more number-crunching, for a start...

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Two Weeks Remain


This week I began to feel for the first time as if I'm really making progress.  It's now 13 days until I move out of this flat and into the next one - a step sideways it may seem, but it's really a step down, by which I mean a step up.  It won't be as "nice" as where I live now, but it will cost less.  And less cost = more time, which is the whole point.  That's what I'm telling myself; I may be wrong of course.  It feels at least like I'm beginning to gain some clarity.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Out of the Heartlands and Into the Spleen

In two weeks I move out of Manchester city centre and into Bury, a distance of less than 10 miles but that crosses a couple of constituency lines, taking me out of out of Labour territory and into Toryland.  Middle England, perhaps. If ever an understatement was to be made, it's this: this is disappointing.   A cursory glance through the charmingly useful theyworkforyou.com reveals my soon-to-be local MP to be a Mr David Nuttall, whose astonishing voting record reads like a list of all the top things a person would have to say if they wanted an absolutely guaranteed way to piss me off.