What is it? By now, we all know what “The Mandela Effect” is – an internet conspiracy theory with a thin film of “first-year psychology” scraped over its top, a Reddit thread that got gilded so many times it developed arms and legs and tendrils and an ego, and crossed over into the real world as if it was a real thing. And so the theory goes: there are mass voids of “false memory” which swim uncorrected in the minds of swathes of people, ranging from “thinking Nelson Mandela died in prison” to “Walker’s salt and vinegar packets used to blue”, and true kooks are convinced that this is the one tangible hint we have that reality is a myth, that our brains are plugged into some collective matrix and that these jags of mismatched memories are indicative of, I don’t know, some save file being corrupted while it was being uploaded to all of our spinal columns, the 1 next to “>>mandela_dead?” accidentally turned to a 0, and that we are all batteries being run on a billion-lode network, forced into slumber while the robots repair our world from the hell we have wrought upon it, something like that—
Where is it? Another solution to The Mandela Effect being, of course: some people are fucking thick and misremember things—
What is there to do locally? However, despite me not thinking it is real, I am proposing an addendum to The Mandela Effect, namely “The Winton Modification”, that supposes that certain people in public life can die – and you can know this has happened! – but the information keeps slipping out of your mind, juddering you to reality again once you remember it has happened once every eight or nine months or so, because this happens specifically to me every time I think about Dale Winton, who is dead. And so The Winton Modification: every single time I remember Dale Winton is dead, I am surprised anew. Is that something? Is that something? Fellow redditors, is that not something? Does me forgetting that Dale Winton is dead not feel like a very fascinating psychological quirk, to you?
Alright, how much are they asking? I suppose I am thinking about Dale Winton – his quiet death, his throwback cheerfulness, his bizarre essay in support of Donald Trump – because this particular Rental Opportunity has such shades of Winton that I cannot believe he is not alive to see it: it feels less like a property in London that you can rent for money and more a doomed BBC One Saturday night quiz-cum-obstacle show, Dale Winton holding prompt cards and asking a mother-daughter duo from Kent (“Karen and Kayleigh join us from Tonbridge!” Dale Winton says, while a studio audience applauds. “Karen, you’re an accountant – tell us about that.” “That’s right, Dale, I work in my family firm and I always have done!” “Lovely, lovely – and Kayleigh, you’re studying social care – but your mum tells me you have an interesting hobby!” “That’s right, Dale, I am way too into riding horses” “Karen and Kayleigh, everybody!”) as they have to sprint through the beams of this house, without injuring or impaling themselves in any way, wearing knee pads and matching primary coloured helmets while peeling the stickers from laminated £-sign cards and frantically solving simple riddles against the clock. Get Out Of My House!, hosted by Rylan, will be on BBC One in the Autumn.
Can you clarify the actual details of the house please, seeing as we got way too fucking off piste with the Dale Winton thing? It’s in Hornsey Lane, a dreadful non-zone behind Archway and Highgate, and it costs £975 per month
Bring on the walls! And beams, and beds, and low windows:
So here is a place you can rent in Hornsey Lane, if you wanted to, if you were absolutely desperate to live in Hornsey Lane for some reason and literally didn’t care about the height of the ceilings above you while you did so. It’s actually quite hard to tell what is going on, with this flat – your eye is drawn to the bold slashes of supportive beam (painted black! Deliberately painted an eye-catching black!) – but what is happening here, broadly, is that this is someone’s attic, and it has been almost converted into almost a flat.
I think there is a substantial portion of the London rental market that is “we converted this space for our teenage son so he could masturbate and listen to rock music undisturbed, and now he’s graduated from university we don’t have the same use for it we had before, so we may as well rent it out to some prick instead”, and this space feels adjacent to – but not spiritually of – that. I think if you made your teenage son live up here it would be because you very deeply hated your teenage son. You would make your teenage son live up here if you wanted your teenage son to grow up not straight-backed, not posturally normal, but bent over and gnarled, like you were deliberately trying to backwards formulate a bellringing tower hunchback. “Here’s what I think of your ‘Nine Inch Nails’, Jeremy! Go upstairs and don’t come out until you have one squinty eye and a hump!”
So here you have:
A Kitchen That Is Behind a Low Surrounding Wall, Like a Moat, for Some Reason
The kitchen has been built like this because the low lean of the wall above it means it would be impossible to cook using an appliance that was mounted against the actual back wall, like a normal kitchen might have, so this kitchen instead has to occupy a custom-built island so you can actually just about stand up in it, but because of the haunted way light falls in this flat it is a deeply gloomy little place, tiled in the extreme, and also the ceiling (already slanted very hard into the space you would otherwise be standing in!) has a sort of floating angular lump to it, which I think is an extractor fan built very inelegantly into the wall, a supportive column that has been chopped in half, maybe, which is prime for anyone above the height of about 5’4” to knock themselves fully unconscious on if they stand up too quickly from getting a lasagne out the oven. For some reason, this kitchen has two stools adjacent to it, as if two people’s love could survive in here long enough for them to take breakfast.
Just a Fucking Bed On the Floor
Futons are very useful when you’re staying at someone’s house for exactly one night, and you’re sleeping in what is normally their office, and because it’s better than getting a hotel – you are staying with some friends in “Reading”, in this scenario, to attend a nearby wedding the next day, and truly sleeping on a futon in their office vaguely near the town centre is better than getting a Travelodge near a big roundabout on the outskirts of town, and even then only just – you don’t complain about it, because that is exactly what futons are for. They are not something you pay £975 every single month to sleep on, every single night. They are not made for that. ]
Even if you do want to get out of bed – which is just some planks on the floor, remember! – I don’t see any feasible way of actually standing up and getting out of it, especially with the dark beams barring your way, so every morning before you go to your gloomy walled kitchen to make coffee, you have to slither out of bed like an accurséd snake.
An Interior Window????? OK
As mentioned, light falls very oddly in this space, and I suppose the window has been put in that wall because, without it, a solid wall would block all light out from the sole light-providing window the loft seems to have, meaning you would wake up in absolute pitch darkness, your body clock completely misaligned, before trying to blindly wiggle through the beam prison around you to go have your first piss of the morning. I suppose that is why the window is there? I don’t know. I find something deeply sinister and disconcerting about interior windows, for some reason. Glass doesn’t belong there.
I think this is actually the most egregious application of “make the necessities of the property fit the space, and don’t wonder if the space can accommodate the necessities of a property” that we’ve ever seen, you and I: someone has decided that they can rent their loft out, never fucking mind the beams!, and made every single component of the flat – the bed, the low kitchen, the dark tiled bathroom – fit into that vision, and not the other way around.
I do not believe that you should pay £975 a month to live in a space that has been designed to accommodate the placement of beams more than it has been designed to accommodate human life, but again it just shows the deep primal thinking behind modern landlordism, doesn’t it: the idea of a person living in the space is an impracticality too far; just focus on getting all the shit humans need, like “an oven” and “a bathroom” and “something to sleep on”, all crammed into the same vague zone, and worry about what it’s like to actually exist in it… never.
Perhaps this is particularly triggering to me because I’m fairly tall and I would accidentally kill myself – I would knock myself out a number of times within 24 hours and be found with an irreparable brain at the bottom of my own stairs within a day of moving in there – in this flat, but I don’t think normal-sized people could particularly live here either: the only living room space is a closed triangle section of the flat with a wardrobe in it.
You have to army crawl to go and look out of the back window. If you wake up urgently and sit up in the night, you will hit your head on any one of five or six pieces of structural integrity that constantly surround you. Keeping the roof supported on the house is more important than even one atom of a tenant’s comfort. This is half a loft with some space heaters in it, a backwards-thinking kitchen and some sort of wizard’s curse on the place that keeps refracting and diverting all sources of natural light.
Dale Winton, RIP, didn’t die for this.