Blatch

Aug 02 2007

14 Blatch Avenue

As news slowly spreads that the vegan punk-house at 14 Blatch Avenue is closing down, sentimental friends and old roommates are phoning to pay their respects. A hike in rent and an ongoing difficulty keeping the five bedrooms filled have made the hard decision a necessary one for the people currently living there.

Since the early 1970s the Rabbitton house known as just “Blatch”, has been home to students, artists, activists and punks interested in cheap, co-operative living.  Hundreds have lived there, and as many travelers have crashed on the couches—some of whom eventually made it their home.  Long time resident Rodney Wall figures he alone has had almost 60 roommates during his ten year stint.

Plastered on the walls are decades worth of show posters, art, photos,and  postcards. More history is recorded in a Blatch scrapbook, in an epic Blatch song, which dedicates a line for everyone who’s lived there, and more recently, in The Blatch Blog—which you can see at blatch.livejournal.com—the fate of which has not yet been determined.

Blatch is rich in mythology. Many have heard tell of the basement shooting range, the incident of spontaneous carpet combustion, the mild-mannered ghost named Oral, and the dolphin buried in the backyard. (The last of which even made it into the novel This All Happened by local author and Blatch alumnus Michael Winter.)

The house has also been the birthplace of political and artistic projects. In the late 1990’s St. John’s first incarnation of Food Not Bombs held its initial meetings there.  Bands Bgnstrclm, Brand X and Zapruder played some of their first shows there.  It’s also been a venue for legendary parties and house shows.

A yard sale is planned for August 11th and 12th.Friends and former residents of Blatch can get in touch at blatch.livejournal.com

—Lesley Thompson
Suggestion for a nook? nooks@thescope.ca

105 responses so far

  1. Aiee! I can’t believe it’s ending. Admitedly I only lived there for like two months, but what months those were.

  2. The end of an era! I lived there for three years with a wonderful group of characters, and continued to live cooperatively for many years thereafter. What a grounding to have. I remember when that young punk Rodney moved in. We thought for sure he would be a short transient visitor. Boy were we wrong.