There’s only one door left which closes properly.
The weather boards on one of the outside walls have become so warped that they are beginning to resemble a Salvador Dali painting.
A friend of mine dubbed it the Slanty Shanty. An apt name given the massive crack which existed on the front porch. A crack which the landlord recently paid someone to cover up – not repair. The uneven angle is still obvious for anyone who cares to pay enough attention.
I’ve lived here for seven years, one month and one day. The longest I’ve ever live in a single place.
There have been two seven inch records, one EP, and an unreleased album recorded here. Not to mention the countless rehearsals from numerous bands. Or the various photo shoots which have used the house or yard as a backdrop.
More musicians have seen the inside than I can possible count. Some only briefly – maybe 30 minutes – after which I went onto auditioning the next person. But others stuck around for many years and became as much a part of the house’s character as any of its housemates did.
There were slightly less housemates – eight including myself – more than one for every year. Each one of them a good person in their own right, but I still find it difficult to imagine them all at the same dinner party or attending the same function.
However, this is a small number in the house’s history. At one point I was writing down the name for every piece of mail I received for someone whom I did not know. I no longer have the list but I seem to remember this number as being over 20. In my early days of living here dropping the ‘return to sender’ mail into the postbox was a weekly chore.
It was a house that operated 24 hours a day. It wasn’t unusual for someone to be getting home from work at the same time of the morning as someone else was leaving. And if you wanted to play some loud music, you may have been less likely to disturb someone’s sleep at 3am than at 3pm.
In winter housemates would often congregate in the tiny, dank living room drawn to the house’s only heater. As a consequence some of the best times were had during winter. Red wine would flow freely and offer the perfect environment for getting to know your housemates and their friends, family or partners.
But during winter the rest of the house’s temperature can only be considered as oppressive. The ancient gas radiator is unable to fill its large rooms and high ceilings with much warmth.
And now has come the time for me to leave number 403. Just down to road, but to an entirely new postcode and demographic.
It’s smallish place, but a newish kitchen and bathroom and heater which is appropriate for its size.
But oh how I’ll miss Albion Street. The constant flow of people and cars makes any time the perfect time for sitting on the porch and observing.
It’s a street which offers the perfect sample of what Brunswick West is now. From the conservatives to the crazies; the students to the retirees; the artists to the accountants.
And although I’m choosing to move on into a place which is a little less rugged, I will miss every crack in the wall and every wonky floor board.
It’s with sadness that I leave this place. And a reflection of the good and bad times that I’ve had. And a hope that its next residents, whoever they may be, will become part of the house in a similar way that it became part of me.