Goodbye from the Square
On Halloween, we hosted some lovely music and hang outs to say goodbye to our young Social Centre. The night started out with some cute winter snap peas and cupcake costumes running around. Richard Laviolette played a beautiful set and took out the cuss words for the young ones in the crowd. byron. belted out at the top of his lungs songs about love and struggle in the City of Guelph, with a room full of back up singers. Jenny Omnichord, in an incredible Anna Murray costume sang some beautiful songs about loss & shared words about how much she loved having the square around. Test Their Logik finished off the night with a lively hip-hop performance. In between the music, a number of folks shared their good memories of what the space meant to them.
On Oct. 31st, We closed our doors after only 5 months of running a Social Centre in a small city. The Square | Print Shop & Social Centre was both a space for our hobby letterpress and social/political printing projects, and a large, semi-accessible downtown space for free events, no rental costs & no fees at the door.
A small collective of friends & anarchists paid rent out-of-pocket and spent countless hours promoting, hosting & figuring out the boring stuff (like bills) so that there was a space for all the people out there who were looking for a place to hang out, host a workshop or show. It was functioned as a place to go to talk politics.
The space we were able to create facilitated a social hub in the downtown for some queer organizing, discussions about the city’s development strategies & gentrification, the struggles of good parenting, & so much more. in our short time, we were able to host over 100 events, a third of them in September alone.
The Square was a beautiful project that stood in contrast to the cities aspirations to just ‘put a condo on it’ or ‘put a cupcake shop on it’ (Portlandia reference anyone?. The Social Centre made space for free events which was the beginning for relationships to grow outside of commercial and business interactions, in contrast to the cities agenda.
Perhaps we can see this relationship most clearly in the City Square which our Social Centre was named after. As the city diverts bus traffic from the square, with beat cops harassing the downtown youth and securities cameras installed, we see a space traditionally used as a public, social gathering place becoming a decaying site of human interactions. We tried to foster in the Social Centre, similar intentions of the City Square of years past, but as long as our interests stand in contrast with businesses interests (who wish to mimic these real human interactions in order to sell their goods and make a profit), The Square and the intentions we put into that space will come into conflict with city’s business interests.
Thank you everyone who contributed to the space, donated their time, money and energy to host workshops, perform, screen movies, engage in discussions and for bringing new relationships into our lives based on a world we wish to see, which has not yet come to be.
Until we find a new space, see you in the streets,