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? Dude there is a shower in that kitchen;
Where Is It? It does not matter where it is, there is a shower in the kitchen;
What Is There to Do Locally? Handcuffed as we are to the radiator of this format, I think these questions are skirting around the subject a bit, and we – together, you are not alone here, come child, take my hand – we are ignoring the very real truth that there is a fucking shower in that fucking kitchen right now;
Alright, How Much Are They Asking? It costs £347 per calendar month, which is quite a reasonable amount, until you need to have a shower, which you must do in the kitchen.
Don't know about you but I have this thing – a quirk, some might call it, a kooky tic, some mild eccentricity – where I shower in a bathroom. A fetish, you might call it. A peccadillo. Me: naked and sprayed with warm but not too hot water, in a glass-encased coffin over a decent drainage base, in a bathroom. It's how I start most of my mornings and end some of my nights. It is a spa, a haven, a sanctuary. Just me and the Dove For Men Clean Comfort® and my lathered hands and my thoughts. Heaven, escape, relief.
That said, I would not want to do it in my kitchen, the ritual body cleaning thing, and so I will not be moving to this surprisingly-affordable-until-you-remember-there-is-a-shower-in-the-kitchen studio flat in West Kensington, currently available for just £347 per month.
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Because £80 per week – in London at least – is a decent rate. West Kensington is sort of nice, too – it's no South Kensington, is it, but it has a Waitrose – and pretty close to the centre of town. If you didn't have to wash your junk in an enclosed space just inches away from a functioning microwave, the basic set-up of this room, in this flat, with its transport links and its genial surroundings, would be good. But, again and to reiterate: there is a shower in the kitchen. An exceptionally small shower.
"Very clean single room" – the description reads, because that's what everyone looks for in a dwelling, the temporary status of its cleanliness – "with own shower sharing fully furnished kitchen with 3 people with good living space wardrobe table and desk wooden floor through Edith Rd is only 2 minutes away from West Kensington and Barons Court with plenty of connections to central London full of bars and shops the area can offer suitable for 1 person."
Suitable, literally, for one person.
Those who are looking for rooms in London have to develop an eerie sixth sense – a precognitive twitch, an X-Menesque mutant ability – to ascertain from one grainy photograph whether a flat is good or very bad. I am no different. But this Edith Road property has thrown me. Because, essentially, this is the only photograph that exists of the room. This. Is this the best photograph they could take? What could be lurking just out of shot?
The answer to that question is "something worse than a kitchen-shower". Imagine what is so bad that a professional estate agent daren't photograph it. Imagine a fox corpse nailed to a wall, only the fox corpse is somehow structurally integral, and removing it would collapse the ceiling. Imagine a spooky burial ground exclusively for sex offenders. Imagine turning around and – sat seductively on a single bed – is James Corden. "Hiya," James Corden is saying. "I'm contractually obliged to be your roommate, forever." That's what was worse than the kitchen-shower. James Corden leans close to you, his hair and face the colour of oats, like a dog shaved into the shape of a human and forced through tortures unknown to perform and clap for us. "Would you like to hear my Ricky Gervais impression?" Squeeze yourself into the shower to escape this. Get yourself in sideways if you have to. James Corden is at the door of the shower. "Didn't think it could get worse, did you?" he's saying. "Do you want to watch my Gavin & Stacey DVDs and I can do you a commentary on them?" Turn on the water, crank it as hot as it will go. You could escape this, should you tilt your head towards the shower tap and succumb. You could glug enough water that oblivion embraces you.
Or, you know, just don't pay a letting agency called, literally, "Easylet" £347 per month to live in this West Kensington hellscape. Up to you.
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