good for bristol

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Squat Tech

Squatting back in the early 1990s we were high tech with an old Spectrum, a black and white telly and a geek with a computer screen strapped to his face.  Nowadays we have notepads, internet dongles and mobile phones.  This makes a big a difference both practically and psychologically.

We're currently about to take the next building.  As well as looking from the outside we've studied it from above on both Google and Bing satellite, checked online for planning applications, paid £4 to check the land registry details online, looked up the financial circumstances of the owner (bankrupt) and found the nearest office of the appointed reciever.

The planning application check showed the building is awaiting redevelopment so the owner's not going to be panicking about possible damage.  Google streetview shows it was empty four years ago so we've got a good chance of a long stay.

When it comes to looking for buildings some of us have registered with local estate agents so they regularly email us lists of their empty properties.  Nothing beats walking the streets but hey, it helps to have details sent out to you in advance.

And more: having the internet and mobile phones keeps us all in touch with mainstream society more.  Twenty years ago we were living alongside the rest of the world but might as well have been on another planet.  The whole experience was more alienating and psychologically harder.

Now we've all got T-mobile dongles.  Cheap, and they don't cut you off or even throttle the bandwidth much when you storm through the puny 1Gb a month limit.  And when the dongle runs out in a couple of weeks if I'm still skint I can use the library internets.

Although back in the day we did all spend our time stoned in a circle around the telly watching Agassi storm his way to winning Wimbledon - happy days - while now we disappear into our rooms more.

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