What is it? Spiritually, it’s a bin room. Legally, it’s an office. But somewhere between those two concepts straddles a more uncomfortable truth: You’re allowed to sleep in it in accordance with the corporate landlord, thus making it a studio flat, but if the council ask then you don’t technically exist.
What is there to do locally? As a non-Manchester person, my main experience of Manchester is every time you go to Manchester, someone from Manchester tells you a “really good burger place to go” and you scoff at them – I’ve eaten a burger before, Manchester! I know what a burger is! We do have burgers in London, you know! Little place called London? Maybe you’ve heard of it? Lol stupid Manc pricks – and then you turn up and eat the burger and yeah, fine, it’s the best burger you’ve ever eaten in your life. The chips were good too. As was that dip— what was the dip? Little garlic aioli situation? Yeah good dip – as was the dip as well. This rule also seems to apply for coffee, pubs and “brunch places that do really gourmet porridge”.
This feeling starts to accrue. You walk around Manchester and think, yeah, you know. Maybe I could. Maybe I could buy five to ten really incredibly expensive jackets and become a Manchester person. Go to Selfridge’s a lot and have an extravagantly strange male haircut. Call people “kid” and develop really intense opinions about how late in the year it’s alright to turn the heating on.
‘Could I do it,’ I think, cheeseburger grease dripping down my hand and wrist, ‘could I move here, could I live? Or would the part of me that makes up who I am spiritually die forever and be replaced by a caricature?’ Oh, fuck, my train’s late. Which station are we going from, again? Quickly. QUICKLY –
Alright, how much are they asking? £600 a month, which seems a lot for a bin room with a load of ugly chipboard furniture in it, no matter what city on earth you live in.
Let’s just look at the photos up front and take a minute:
I think we can all agree here: not very good. “Not very good” does not seem, in this instance, a particularly outrageous statement. I don’t think anyone will be DM-ing me on Instagram (why on earth do people like to complain on Instagram) to tell me that I have erred, in accordance with unwritten but iron-clad internet laws, by calling this bin room “not very good”.
The fact that the floor is ruby-red and made of that same strange bombproof swirling acrylic stuff they used to have on the floor of the hallways in secondary school. The fact that the fluorescent lights bathe the thing in a harsh, unblinking illumination that is very useful if you’re trying to take the bins out at night and not very nice for literally any other human use you might have to a room, beyond “interrogating someone”. The fact that this used to be a bin room, according to more than one person on Reddit. The fact that all of the furniture is made out of that strange, horrible looking chipboard.
If a lobotomy left me stranded without a moral compass at the same time I came into some money, then I would at least try and disguise the fact that I made the built-in shitshow furniture as cheaply as possible with like, a lick of paint, or MDF. But no. Decisions have been made here by human beings. Human beings have driven to a wholesaler, asked for four big pieces of the cheapest building material they have (“You know this is for temporary walls within structures under construction, and not like, something you make a work surface with a sink in it, right?” “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah”), and now this has happened. I feel safe and sound in saying that this: isn’t very good.
But you do have to look beyond the fact that it isn’t very good, I’m afraid, because it’s also what most major religions would call “a sin”. I don’t want to particularly dwell on this point, for a variety of reasons (rule-abiding isn’t, at its core, in any way chic or cool), but it seems to me that the owners of the building may have applied for permission to have the bin room turned into a studio flat and were turned down, which is why there’s no council tax due on the room and why technically it’s been developed as an “office”.
It’s also irrelevant that this room doesn’t have any windows, is still expensive for what it is every month, comes unfurnished, lists the maximum number of tenants allowed as four (four!), and has the temerity to prefer a “working professional” as a tenant and is described as a “one-bedroom”. These are striking details, but they are not necessarily pertinent towards our main point.
Because: God, how embarrassing! How embarrassing! Imagine being a property company that owns an entire building, presumably renting out most of the properties within it for a healthy monthly profit every single month of the year, and still thinking you need an extra £600 on top of that! Enough to apply for planning permission for a bin room!
How absolutely unutterably pathetic! Imagine the stupid little cunts who work at this company, in their sad shiny little grey suits! All sitting in a meeting room trying to work it out! “Some bad news: People say we shouldn’t turn a bin room into a small windowless studio flat,” one of them’s saying, and another one goes, “Well if I were an ordinary person I would just assume that means it’s a really terrible bad idea and not do it, then,” and a third goes, “Yeah exactly it’s a good job we’re all cunts who work in property isn’t it?”
And they all make a nodding sort of braying sound, very animalistic, they laugh more like a hiss, and then the first one goes, “So here’s the thing: I’ve already bought four sheets of the ugliest and cheapest building material known to man,” and so they all agree they have to do it, now, don’t they, they have to turn the bin room into something, now, because he did buy the wood, and so they turn it into an office – over the course of, what, a couple of weeks?
Imagine phoning the builder: “Yeah mate. Yeah. Windowless. Yeah no, we’re gonna put a shower in it and hot glue a fuse box to a wad of chipboard. No. Yeah no, the lights stay exactly the same as when it was a bin room” – and then they took the best photos they could, they put it on Rightmove and tried to get £600 a month for it at the time of writing.
Isn’t that embarrassing? Wouldn’t you be embarrassed? Wouldn’t you feel sick to yourself explaining to the other tenants what you were doing? “Oh, yeah all the drilling? Yeah, we put a cupboard and a sink in the bin room.” “Why?” “Six hundred pounds a month.” “Where do the bins go now?” “I dunno. Outside?”
Sending a big e-mail round. Having a meeting to decide how much rent to charge. Figuring out the square-footage of a bin room. Going through all that, doing all these things, for £600 a month, for this. It’s not just that this room is shit (which it is), it’s that it is truly, the most squalid, small time, embarrassing behaviour I’ve ever seen in British property. Pathetic! Absolutely pathetic!
Note: RightMove removed the listing at the time of publication. The listing is still available to view as a cached page here.