For those of you who may not get to read Radical Routes' rather excellent Radical Rumours newsletter, here's the entry we've sent in for the Spring edition, written by Sven and Mattie.
This is a bit of a sneaky entry as as of yet we aren’t Radical Routes members. Maybe if we’re really stealthy, you won’t notice...
This past year has been a pretty busy for us out West. It’s a year this January that the Golem Housing co-op grew from an idea into a group of people, and then into an FSA registered entity. So far we have held regular meetings, sometimes very long, but mostly productive. We still look forwards to them, which can only be positive. The food co-op between members is still running, where each member cooks for the group once a week and is fed for the rest of the week. Communal eating has become an important part of how we work as a group. Our first co-op Christmas was wonderful, especially for those of us who were experiencing our first away from home. Plenty of handmade gifts, a festive Aloe Vera decorated by Mattie at some ungodly hour, and a group showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show were some of the experiences that marked a good season well spent. Last October we came within a gnats crochet of buying a house, only to be thwarted at the last minute by the owner filling it with sitting tenants. While disappointing at the time this has come to be viewed as a minor setback, and an education. A fair chunk of the secondary rules have been written (although we learned the hard way that rules involving money are not, in fact, easy to write.) Our new co-op’s visit was brilliant, and re enforced our collective belief that Radical Routes is what we want to be involved in as an organisation and as individuals. We have had guests from around the Radical Routes network, and in turn some of us have been guests ourselves. The feeling of community that we have encountered has been incredible.
Individually plenty has been going on in camp Golem. Hannah has been expanding her already prolific creation skills, including dying her own wool with a microwave and food colouring, recording with Lloyd (more on that later) and making the mini Golem Finn appear last November. Her knowledge of environmentally responsible baby wrangling is ever expanding, and so far both mother and baby are doing very well. He is very cute, but then we would say that.
Finn has been tirelessly taking part in pro-breast feeding direct action since November.
Joe, our Treasurer, is still Chairman of Bi Swansea. He’s currently helping to organise Bi Fest Wales in Cardiff this March, an event offering networking opportunities and workshops on Bisexual issues for people across Wales and the rest of the UK. He has taken training in LGBT activism in the past year, and has been knee deep in a dissertation on mental health within the LGBT community. As the most central owner of a table in the co-op he has also spent the past year graciously hosting many a lengthy co-op meeting. Thanks Joe.
Lloyd is often ensconced in recording. Left to Bees, the band that consists of Lloyd, Hannah and a plethora of instruments, brought out a home made E.P last year called Bones. He has also been pursuing his own projects under the name Vesperite. One of the more recent creations was a version of White Rabbit as Lotte’s Christmas present. Ingenious use of violins abound.
Lotte was the main thrust behind the Swansea UKUncut protest this December, which was held outside our local Vodafone store. Information was dispersed to busy Swansea shoppers, chants were chanted. The store closed within minutes, and remained closed until we left a good while later. Lotte also started a polyamory based web comic called Poly in Pictures late last year which has gained itself a tidy following.
Sven is in his last year of a building conservation degree, and therefore a dissertation looms. This has lead to him expanding his understanding of post oil economies and the imminent threat of peak oil. As a result, the rest of the co-op (and indeed our social circle) has had their understanding on the subject expanded. Plans for a potential workers’ co-operative are forming, perhaps there will be more news by the next Rumours. He has also been putting some hours into helping FHA with their HMO legislation work. His main activity of late, however, has been fatherhood, and quite right too.
Mattie has moved house 3 times in the past year, and this has reinforced her belief in co-operatives as the most practical way of living, ideology aside. She is slowly but surely educating herself in the way the world around her works, and isn’t best pleased. Perhaps an activist will be made of her yet. For now secretarial work for the co-op, cooking for the food co-op and general information gathering, combined with working in a bookshop take up her time nicely.
A happy Rumours to you all, and we look forwards to seeing you all at Gatherings to come.
Golem Housing Co-op