For the chronically insomnia-stricken like I it is impossible to tell, did I sleep two hours or fourteen? There is always voices in the living room, be it two in the morning or at eight, or at four in the afternoon. Noon may be the only time when quiet and black can be expected (but not guaranteed...).
In the past, before being turned into the squatted social centre that it is now, the place was one of the city's most notorious backstreet dives, a place that with time had got out of hand, and become a den for drug-dealers and mobsters. It was actually closed down after two men had their brains blown out in the men's room in what seemed to be members of the mafia settling old scores.
Right now, the men's room, cleaned out and refurbished, is converted into one of the rooms people live in, and it happens to be mine. I may loudly proclaim my gratitude to some ad hoc deity for the fact that I don't believe in anything like evil spirits.
After being left empty for over a year after the double murder, the old backstreet dive was turned into a squat. Occupied about two years ago, the original occupants of the place were Barry, Nadin and Giel.
Barry is a fellow traveller, a great guy who always has a serene smile on his face and who likes to try out different kinds of attires and headgear which lend him a completely different look every time.
Nadin happens to be the first person I ever met in the city of Leiden, back in June. She is a Reggae-loving gal with brunette rastas originally from Curaçao, today striving to make a living out of recycling rubbish into art. The way I relate to her can be summed up much like the Pixies song:I la-la-love that girl, as well as her funky new "family": the metal-loving boy-friend and the tender pair of cats, "Apple" and "Pie".