We’ve been at SCA 8 months (2 to go..). During that time I’ve moved 4 times. It’s been chaotic, tiring but also kind of fun. There was a stat in a brief last week that said moving can be more stressful than a divorce, good to know I’d be able to take on 4. No more than 4 though.
I started SCA in a ‘Live-In-Guardianship’. It’s this company that rents out old/abandoned churches, schools, banks, hospitals and other buildings that are waiting for their next build. They offer cheap rent to occupants so long as they ‘guard’ the building and stop squatters from inhabiting the place. You kind of act like the muscle, having to intimidate any trespassers, which I always found funny because it was just me and my sister living there and I don’t think we’d be great at that. Luckily we never had to put ourselves to the test.
We were living in an old church that had been changed into a community centre. The first question everyone always asked is about the temperature. They imagine a lofty building with pews, an organ, maybe a ghost or two and freezing. But the reality is far more dull. There were no confessional boxes or stained glass windows and it was always warm (thankfully) because they had to keep it dry. We lived there for a year which was great. I know some people who have been living in old bank volts on Oxford Street for 7 years or so, so these places can become permanent homes.
They kicked us out in January as the building permission went through. They’re now knocking the interior down to build a block of flats. I walked pass it the other day, weird to see the skeleton of an old home. The move was the roughest out of the 4. We had built up a bit of a hoard from Free-Cycle and Facebook MarketPlace, also in the area people used to fly tip loads so we’d always find random treasures on the street. What we couldn’t sell or pass on to another hoarder we hauled out. Took 2 days and my back hurt for a week.
After the church I had trouble finding a place, my sister moved to Bulgaria for a bit so I was looking for a single room. Anyone who has been on spare room recently knows how dire the housing market is in London. I was searching for places, seeing a load of homes, meeting a load of people that could be my new housemates. Some places were brilliant but others got their first, other places were very depressing and still other people got their first.
I managed to couch surf for about a month and a half with friends. This was the fun part, I got to see friends I hadn’t seen for a while because of the course and it felt kind of like camping which I like. I also got to explore a lot of London, moving North, West and South, didn’t end up East at any point which I still want to try.
I liked the nomadic city life for a bit but was happy to see the end of it. I found a sublet for a month in Brixton, 10 min walk to school. It was over the D&AD period so was good to be a little settled for that intense period. Luckily during that time a place I saw a couple months back finally become available again. In Camberwell, 30 min walk to school. I’ve been here for a month now, had never lived in Camberwell before and I already love it. There’s no tube near by but I’m learning to love the bus, finding it a great place to get work done (currently writing this SCAB on Bus 35 on the way to an agency day).
My advice to any future SCA student moving to London would be to find a place you can get settled in for as long as possible but if you do have to move, just see it as prep for your future divorces.