This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Every week or so—the frequency varies but the bleakness stays the same—there will be an advert for a London property that plumbs new terrible depths of bad bastardry. Rent a bunkbed above a wardrobe, that sort of thing. Pay £1,500-a-month [$2,350] to sleep in someone's shed. You know: the sort of thing that only an estate agent with a ponytail and a thing for cheap coke can truly think is acceptable. Anyway: we have decided to catalog all of these in a big effort to worry your mom. "How's London?" she's saying. She's leaving you a voicemail message because you won't pick up. "How's that London you live in? I've heard people get shot there. I've heard people pay £1,500-a-month to live in sheds. Come home, Sam. Come home forever, and I'll do you a roast."
What is it? A single bed in a kitchen.
Where is it? Kingston-Upon-Thames.
What is there to do locally? The nightclub FKA Oceana, AKA PRYZM.
Alright, how much are they asking? £400 PCM inc. bills. Or, $625 American bucks.
Ever wanted to sleep in a shareflat kitchen? Would be like a fun sleepover, wouldn't it? Like when you were a kid, and you went out in the garden in a tent. Pretending at being a grizzled homeless man with stumps for legs living under a flyover. Shining a torch against your throat and watching the red of your own blood glow through your cheeks. Ghost stories! Snacking on raw marshmallows because your dad wouldn't let you have a fire. Own-brand supermarket cola. Running inside screaming and crying if it rained too much, assuming that death was coming the first time you heard two foxes hysterically shagging in a bin behind you. Ah: youth.
Now you can recapture that fleeting happiness thanks to Joe, an industrious young renter in Kingston, southwest London. Because what Joe is offering is a go on a single bed with a leopard-print dog blanket over it, nestled neatly in the corner of his kitchen. For £400 per month. Four-hundred fucking pounds. "PLEASE notice is not a room," Joe dutifully explains in his Spareroom advert. "Is a single bed in shared kitchen, you can use your own entrance from the garden, if you wish."
— Revel! As Joe cooks a big fucking pan of pasta and leaves it on the side to go all gluey right next to your head, and you send a pass-agg e-mail like, "Guys, could you not cook after 9PM? The smell of your pasta-pesto combination makes it very hard to sleep", and Joe is like, "Pasta doesn't smell of anything," and you are like, "Yes it does," and to make a point Joe disconnects the router so you can't send emails any more;
— Delight! As the southern-facing window allows the sweet and dappled morning light to filter beautifully onto your angelic sleeping face before the girl Joe is casually sleeping with tries to make him a 6AM bacon sandwich and somehow sets the fucking fire alarm off three fucking times in 15 minutes Gabby are you fucking joking me;
— Transport! Please transport and fold your tiny single bed from the corner in the kitchen to the other corner and tuck it behind the sofa, because Joe has the lads round tonight, and they need space to practice their wrestling moves, because they are really into wrestling, and;
— Use! Your own entrance from the garden, if you wish.
On one hand, part of me wants to feel sorry for Joe: he must owe a substantial amount of money to some exceptionally scary dudes if he is trying to rent a corner of his sharekitchen out for £400 a month, and he's already ploughed a good £20 [$30] of his net worth into a camping bed and dog blanket. But then you remember he is trying to get another human being to rent a corner of his kitchen—not, please note, the entire kitchen—for £400 human pounds per month. And that's in Kingston, too—a nice place that is about a hundred hours' commute into town.
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Watch – Regeneration Game, our doc about the ongoing war to live in London:
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It's the New Flatmate Preferences section of the Spareroom ad that really get you, though. Couples OK? Couples are not OK, because one human can barely fit on the campbed, let alone two. Smoking OK? Yes, smoking is fine. Pets OK? No. Occupation? Don't mind. But DSS? Is DSS OK? DSS is not OK. Let that sink in for a second: Joe, a man who is trying to rent a small square-metre section of his own kitchen out for human occupancy, does not want someone on benefits occupying that small scrap of kitchen. He looked at the tickbox on the Spareroom website and thought, 'Well, I am renting possibly one of the most meager available living spaces in the history of London… but I am exceptionally picky about the type of person who might live there, and how they might pay me my £400 on the monthly.' That said, Joe has helpfully indicated that there is disabled access.
Fuck you, Joe. I hope you trip over that campbed and hurt not one, but both of your shins. And you'll lie there, won't you—a warm, dark feeling of pain soaking your shattered limbs like a warm bath, calf muscles twitching angrily behind them, tears welling in your eyes—and you'll think: 'I deserve this.' You'll think: 'I deserve this, for being one of history's worst shits.'
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