Goldsmiths student loses site for Etta the ebay bus

Bootleg Bus Pic: Eva

Bootleg Bus Pic: Eva

Eva needs some help. “It’s getting to the point where I might have to get rid of her, which would break my heart into a million pieces”. Three years ago Goldsmiths anthropology student Eva made the unusual move of buying a double decker bus on ebay, and now the bus is in trouble.

“Buying something on ebay is really easy, but taking possession of a double decker bus that’s in Devon when you’re in London and can’t drive is a bit harder. I had to reconcile with my dad, who used to be an HGV driver, so that I’d have someone who could drive it back from Devon for me. It doesn’t even have seats so I had to sit on the stairs for five hours”.

“She’s called Etta. At the moment she’s sitting quietly in a weird, broken, post-apocalyptic transport museum in Walthamstow. It’s got all these broken trams and a tube carriage that looks like it’s exploded.  They slowly fix things up.”

It can’t stay there, though, as Waltham Forest Council has decided to repossess part of the land where the Pumphouse Museum stands. Naturally, it is the section of land where Eva’s bus lives. “The old blokes that run the museum didn’t think to tell me in advance this was happening, they just rang me up and said the land was being repossessed the next day. So they repossessed the land… and I need to get the bus out of there”.

“It used to live on a farm outside of North London. A bunch of my friends went up there and we finished the renovations and painted it and it was amazing – they gave up five days of their lives. It was hard; have you ever tried to paint a bus in blazing sunshine and heat?”

This labour of love is partly for fun, and partly as a social enterprise. Eva and her friends drive the bus to different locations around London to show films in, and the built-in bar helps massively. “We use one side for the bar and the other side for the screen. It goes wherever I put anything on, so we’ve taken it to Peckham Rye Common, a farm on the borders of Essex, a place in Shoreditch”.

The perfect solution to the homeless bus problem would be something more permanent. “What I’d like to do is to find a place where I could keep the bus and combine it with a workshop. I teach mobile communication and filmmaking – it’s called Found Cinema. We use webcams, mobile phone cameras, I teach how to make cameras and microphones out of stuff so it would be amazing to have a proper base for that alongside the bus. We could use the cinema in the bus to show the stuff that the classes make. I’m hoping to do an all-girl film school in the summer, and I’m planning to do an LGBT one, too”.

It’s only a matter of time before she’s forced to move the bus off museum land, and solutions are not forthcoming. One thing is for certain: to part Eva and Etta would be tragic. “She’s got that good growl in her. She’s pretty great.


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