FYI.

This story is over 5 years old.

London Rental Opportunity of the Week

London Rental Opportunity of the Week: A Mattress with Walls in Elephant and Fucking Castle

Burn London down; it's time to start again.
July 13, 2015, 3:30pm

Mark this moment in history books when we ask when the concept of shame truly began its journey toward death | Want More London? Read: Reasons Why London Is the Worst Place Ever | A Bittersweet Love Letter to the London Suburbs | The Quality of Ecstasy in London Is Pretty High Right Now

Every week or so an advert for a London rental property appears that plumbs new depths of bad bastardry. Rent a bunkbed above a wardrobe, that sort of thing. Pay £1,500-a-month to sleep in someone's shed. They got so difficult to comprehend that we decided to start cataloguing them.

What Is It? It is a room exactly large enough for a double-bed and literally nothing else, like barely even room for a human to lie on the bed; a room so small you might genuinely worry about whether the oxygen would run out in the night. Where Is It? Elephant and Castle. What Is There to Do Locally? Watch gentrification slowly creep over the area like a death pall, crushing ancient pubs to dust as a golden city rises like an oligarch's erection around the central monolith of Elephant and Castle shopping centre.

Advertisement

How much are they asking? £700-a-month, all in.

Always a fun column, this one, to research and write, taking landlords metaphorically out back and shooting them metaphorically in the head. Unless – unless – you are actually looking for a fucking flat in actual fucking London and fucking hell, it all gets a bit too real.

To Elephant and Castle now, essentially a bustling bus terminus with houses, essentially a passport office in a high wasteland of a tower block, straddling a shopping centre – and not even one of those nice shopping centres, one of those shopping centres that smell permanently of dust and diesel, the kind where cabbies go to look at big trousers at the end of their shifts to avoid going home in the stark dawn light to wives that do not love them – the shopping centre itself squatting above a dying street market.

Trending on VICE Sports: The Wimbledon Hairdresser

Elephant and Castle, essentially, is how I imagine future slum cities will look: commercialisation built literally upon the squalid and the pissed-in underpasses, tower blocks on shaky foundations nestled among lethal roundabouts and greying university buildings. And somewhere, in there, before the cranes come and assemble business cathedrals made of shiny chrome, if you squint – past the estate agents, past the pricks, past the pop-up markets parachuted in, a mockery of real markets, a caricature of a market to make the area seem more authentic – if you squint, past them, really tighten your eyes up, you might see some bleak little spaces where humans can live.

Anyway, here's one of those spaces. A quick analysis of the photo: I can only imagine this room was built by someone putting a double bed – not a nice one, obviously, one of those box-frame ones, with the cheapest possible mattress – someone put one of those in the middle of a space and then bricked up tightly around it. I don't know how they managed to paint the walls white. Maybe they tilted the bed arrangement on its side. Moved around the bed, moved with it. A dance as old as the ages: the magnolia waltz of a tight-fisted landlord.

Here's the description, here's all we've got:

Advertisement

"Water Rates and Council Tax are inclusive in this ground floor studio flat in Albany Rd. 10 minutes bus journey to Elephant and Castle Underground and Railway Station. Frequent bus service from Campbell-well Green Rd which is a minute from the property and all the multiples can be found on Wandsworth Rd."

Read it again. Get past the fact that whoever wrote it doesn't seem to know what Camberwell Green is and open your mind to this single truth: this £700 room, essentially one padded wall away from being a mental facility store cupboard, is not even actually close to Elephant and Castle. It is not even in an especially viable or desirable location. It is ten minutes away from existence. And to reiterate, again: £700.

London in 2015 is a shitshow, isn't it? It is sort of sad that the main city in this country – and, go on, hyperbole be damned, the world – it is sort of bad and sad that one of the top ten greatest cities in existence is home to this, the sort of thing that makes anyone looking for that most basic of human rights – a place to live, a shelter over your head, somewhere to occasionally wear pyjamas in and watch TV – it does make you sort of look at that and roll your eyes and go: "Fuck it, I'm just going to move to… anywhere. I don't fucking know. Hong Kong."

Trending on NOISEY: A Man Has Been Packed Into a Tent Bag And Is Stuck At T in the Park

What shall we do? Shall we go off and start our own city, where the rich are forbidden, and where landlords are ceremonially and publicly killed, and everyone is actually allowed rooms slightly larger than their beds to live in, and everything is alright? Or will that get fucked, too? Are we, as a human race, doomed to ruin every space we ever live in? Do we fundamentally deserve shitty rooms in Elephant and Castle no larger than a bed?

No, we still don't. Humans are shit but we still don't. DC Estates & Lettings Ltd in Leyton, you are bad. Anyone who ever walked into this room and thought anything other than, 'This is just a cupboard with delusions of grandeur,' you are bad. Elephant and Castle, you are bad. London in 2015, you are bad. Burn the city down and start again. Burn the city down but let me know if you see anywhere better to rent before you do.

Advertisement

(h/t reddit user skeletonclock)

@joelgolby

More shitty London rental opportunities:

Sleep on a Single Bed in Someone's Kitchen!

The Shittiest Kitchen in London!

Notting Hill's Biggest Shithole!