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I’ve just done a few hours unpaid work for the landlord  of “Britain’s worst hotel”  (not its name but an epithet applied by the Press).

The story of how I came to meet him is too tortuous to bother with but last Sunday eve I went round to the Happy Vale Hotel, sat and talked over his situation with him.  
The joint is a four storey pile that you’d have second thoughts abt squatting.  Not good to be breathing the air in there, Steve (as he is) chain smoked cheroots and it seemed a sensible precaution.
I met two of the residents, mouth pierced woman on the left in that press photo and body warmer guy on the right.  I really don’ know what anyone is doing living there.

The origin of Steve getting to this pass is vague.  He’s had trouble with Camden Council, they’ve taken him to Court .....  Magistrates', Crown and High and he’s taken them to Court.  Had High Court judgements against them and, on one occasion went with baliffs to the Council after they ignored paying on a judgement against them.
I’m not impressed with the way a local council has squandered money on badly briefed cases.

Talking with him, it was just like those people used to come up and talk to me when I was selling from the pavement down Brick Lane, back at the beginning of the century.
Dunno if you knew but I was down there selling (ahem) nicknacks,  I was so broke and it was all I had to sell.  The other fly traders down there would come up to me and tell me their story. 
Dunno why they felt they had to but they did.  And they were all mad.  Made me wonder if I must be mad too, seeing as I was there.  One of them. 

The story was that they’d had something happen in their life that had caused their grasp to slip.  The  chaos that they couldn’t cope with would come to the attention of some agency, usually social services.  And that agency couldn’t cope with the circumstances of their situation (slipped through the net)  and its wallowing confounded everything for them even more.  That’s what drove them mad.

It occurs to me that the handful of residents in Happy Vale, who’ve been there some years and the Council says it hasn’t anywhere to rehouse them,  prolly have that shithole as the only bit of stability in their lives.  They are going to be v.emotionally attached to living there and their little community in adversity.

Camden has taken over the managment of the Happy Vale Hotel,  which means a local authority is now running the worst hotel in Britain.

Hey ho.

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