Our efforts to control the universe have been both fruitful and confusing. Adventuring creatives closed down their lives in one country (in this case the UK) to open up a new life in another country (in this case the Netherlands). The planning was all in the dream, very little concrete. Dreams aren't made of concrete, if they were we would need more heavy duty pillows and neck braces.
So far so good. We are here, that was the first step. So, the next step is the one that is proving to be a little allusive at the moment. For the last year Beauty and I have been discussing what we wanted when we got to Amsterdam. We had always spoken about finding a nice little place for ourselves (just ourselves, no housemates) and living on our own schedules as artists. Simple plan.
The house with a magical washing
machine from the future!
Not so simple when you get here though. Oh no.
First there are the scams, so many fricking scams!
"Hello, I have a flat to rent in the centre of Amsterdam, it has a huge bedroom with balcony, kitchen, living room and lift to the roof terrace, close to all shops and museums, super-fast mega internet, a washing machine from the future, three toilets (shared shower), free boot cleaning every Wednesday, fully furnished with extra furniture (5 sofas!), 400 euro a month, please email me for more details at email@example.com"
Oooo, now that looks nice, I especially like the sound of a washing machine that's from the future, imagine what technology has done to the washing process in the future! I bet you don't even need any detergent, the clothes are probably cleaned by just being in the presence of the magical washing machine. So I send off an email expressing interest in this nice flat and it's futuristic technologies.
Reply comes back quickly, with a sob story attached.
"My name is Georg and I am from the Ukraine. I had to leave Amsterdam very fast because my mother is sick in my home town and there is no one to take her care. My sister was taking her care but husband has been made no job and need to move for new work. I have key with me for house. The house is still available for rent, you like I send you key in mail, please transfer one months rent plus one months deposit (total £1000) into my Western Union account so I know I can trust you, thankyou bye"
Hmm, really? Right, so what assurances are you going to give me Georg?
"I send copy of passport for prove of my house. My lawyer will draw up contract and send you to sign. Please sign and send money via Western Union."
Well the passport check out, the person in the picture is called Georg. Now let's send him all our savings so we can go and live in his fictional house in the middle of Amsterdam. Oh, one last thing Georg, could we come and view the house before sending you all our savings?
"No, I am in Ukraine."
Oh, okay then. Well, how about any friends? Do you have any friends in Amsterdam that could show us around?
"No, I have the keys with me. You send the money and I send the keys. I promise, you can trust me, I have an email account, only trustworthy people have them."
...and so on, and so on until I tell Georg to go stick his scamming head into a bowl of animal guts and hold it there until he drowns.
These scammers come in many types, but they always use the same scam. You get a sob story about how hard their life is at the moment due to circumstances worthy of a hollywood script, then a lovely long description of the (imaginary) property, followed by a request for money as a show of good faith. We have even spoken to one of them on skype, via the text only, but still, that was one persistent scammer. Called themselves 'very friendly one' to hide the fact they were actually a bulging arse-bubble.
Our hunt continues...