I lived about a half year on the willemstraat squat. It was the old majors house of eindhoven, right in front of the mosque. I shared the attic with Paul Beekhuis, a photographer and allover cool guy whom I still have contact with sometimes. Paul was one of the few dutch people that came to my wedding here in Istanbul. Anyway, the house had been empty 3 years before we occupied it and the place was a dump. The toilets didn’t work, there was no heating no water. We had to fill a jerry can with water everyday a mile away at some other squatters house. It was getting winter and the winter was pretty cold. It was freezing and we just had this small gas heater we would gather around with 10 people. It was an exciting time. There is something wild and exciting about living in such ghostly places with people you don’t know very well yet. Its a strange experience because these people become like your new family.
I remember two events that sort of stuck out in the months we lived there, besides the barricading frenzy I mentioned earlier. One time I came home late at night with arno and we saw a shopping car full of beer bottles which had been drunk by our squat by the guys. We decided to make some surreal artwork with beer bottles in the garden and stuck all of them heads down in the sand so at the end there was this giant field of beer bottles as our back garden. It looked surreal and cool and we went to sleep. Next morning paul came wake me up in great consternation. A large group of Muslims had gathered at our house, apparently today was the start of Ramadan and they thought that garden, which was right in front of the mosque, had been made specifically to insult them. We apologized and told them that wasn’t the case and quickly cleared all bottles from the garden.They weren’t aggressive or anything, in fact their logic was perfectly comprehensible, but of course our action had had nothing to do with the mosque.
Another event: an old sewage pipe broke in Patricks room downstairs and we had been using the toilets upstairs, and shit was literally spouting into his room. He had to go in and try stop it. A heroic effort if I ever saw one. He was covered from head to toe in feces but managed to stop the flood. He was like this sensitive sort of cancer fellow but no one wanted to volunteer to go in there, we were like ‘yeah dude, its your room man, you stop it’…
We also found this insane bastard dog in the street we adopted. We named him ‘zeiksnor’ because he had a drooling mustache and he would all the time chase his own tail and shit everywhere in the house. The first time my dad actually came to see where I lived I was already living there for 2 months. He came into the house and immediately stepped into dog turd. As he was already highly opinionated about squats you can imagine that didn’t improve his opinion and he was in and out of the house in two minutes. Oh well.
We used cooking turns so everyone had to cook like one day of the week. The only guy that wouldn’t cook was Jeroen. Jeroen was a strange fellow. He used to get up in the morning, take a beer from the fridge, sit down and sit in the same chair all day saying nothing at all. The only times he would get up was to get another beer. I think he was seriously depressed but at the same time I think he sort of felt it was really cool to be like that. We lived with him for 2 years and in this 2 years we could, one time, after applying an enormous amount of group pressure, get him to cook for us. ‘Ok ok I will cook’ he said. He went to the supermarket, got a can of beans, heated it up and that was our meal. When we moved to the school later on we put Jeroen in the weird basement of the school since there were no rooms left. We figured he didn’t actually need any daylight and he was perfectly content living in that half flooded cellar too, which sort of added to his ‘coolest beer drinking punk in the world’ image. Last time I heard from him he was actually talking to me and telling me he got some teenage girl pregnant.