A Pretty Frugal Lifestyle
a story about comedian and van-dweller, Matt Watson
Matt Watson built his own world, one hidden just under the surface, where fences are stairs and flat concrete is the sound of home. He lives in a van called Burly, in a parking lot in Edinburgh, in a spot chosen by the car when it broke down 14 months ago. He is originally from Canada. He found his love and purpose in comedy, and nothing stopped him from pursuing it: not the borders of his home, not the borders of the ocean and not the borders of expectation.
Matt thrives with the minimum – a mattress, a suitcase, a few survival things, a wall of memories – and the most important thing, laughter. Matt describes himself as one of the most hard-working comics out there, and isn’t that beautiful? To think there’s someone doing his best and working his hardest just to create joy for everyone around him.
Each photograph is accompanied by Matt’s words, transcribed from an interview I did with him in a crowded coffee place. While I was collecting these images and words, Matt realised I was collecting a chapter that was ending. His visa is expiring soon, and he cannot renew it without a difficult process, which means he has to rebuilt life somewhere new, from scratch. The plan is Australia.
[Above: written in May, 2019]
Matt now lives in Australia since January, 2020. He has a new van, and this one drives. He had Burly towed in May 2019, a moment you can see on his Youtube (link below). His channel is a weekly vlog of his adventures as a comedian living in a van, wherever life takes him. Alongside the link to the video, there is a link to the comedy night he co-organised when he lived in Edinburgh, which is still running.