What is it? A studio flat, again, that ethereal and unknowable thing that cannot be defined, i.e. because it means something completely different to you and I – good people, people with souls not condemned to hell – than it does to estate agents and property developers – who just cram everything a flat should have into one small room and hope the job is a good one – about whom I cannot say the same re: the hell stuff; hell isn't even real and they are going there, a chasm will open up in the earth and fire will spew out from it, and I will spit into the void, and my saliva will sizzle and erupt into air before it even reaches the pits in which they will be chained, amen;
Where is it? Brent?????? Whatever that is? Quite seriously: I have lived in London since 2009 now and I do not know what Brent is, nor have I ever heard of Brent. No way "Brent" is a thing. Brent. Absurd;
What is there to do locally? I mean, the main thing, I would say, is to muse upon the very meaning of life, seeing as you are pitched up in a place that does not exist with a name that does not exist and has never been heard of. I mean, surely the only thing to do in Brent is stare existentially into the abyss, in the vain hope the abyss will extend one shadowy hand back out to you, and yank you, once, twice, three times, down into it, until your thoughts slowly fade from searing technicolor through to black;
Alright, how much are they asking? £200 per week, which probably comes out at about £840 a month. Sorry: I didn't realise that was what the monthly payment was until I did the maths, and I just let out a little uncontrollable laugh when I did it. One like this: hah! You know. A James-Corden-hosting-a-panel-show laugh (*1). One of those. £840. A month. To live in Brent.
Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. But then also: we essentially invented everything we'd ever need about ten years ago, once the iPhone came out. Honestly, since then: has anything really been invented that we need? Everything from now on is just incremental improvements on a classic. Everything we have created this millennium has been, essentially, unnecessary. We are living, now, in a perfect and complete world, and so we must tinker and refine, shooting for flawlessness and only succeeding in making things worse.
For instance: you never really thought you'd want to microwave from the comfort of your own bed before, did you? But now you can, because someone invented it. In Brent:
Absolute no way you can open those cupboards
Before I started this series, I did not know it was possible to buy a microwave with two hob plates built in on top of it. What can I say: I live a sheltered life. Now I know that. Now I know that information. You cannot un-see them once you know they exist. They lurk in dreary grey corners, threatening to half-fry a sausage for you while heating a tin of beans up underneath. No toaster so you have it just on bread. Eat over the sink to speed up the washing up process. Go to sleep with the lights on and try not to think about where it all went wrong.
As best I can tell, the properties on offer here are two studio flats, but also they are very much not studio flats, because there is simply not enough room for them to be. We, as humans, don't truly need that much to get on with – a fridge, a kitchen sink, a bed, a bathroom w/ washing facilities for hands and body, a little bit of space for a leisure area, somewhere you can put a chair or a TV stand. Lone humans do not need that much space to thrive, once you really boil it down. But also: this studio flat in Brent (B r e n t) is not big enough to support that dream, i.e. the dream of being able to stand up in your own bathroom without severing both arms off at the shoulder beforehand. Behold, I've projected the floor space:
Like: you can't sit on the toilet in this bathroom without clonking your knees on the sink when you stand up to wash them. I suppose you could wash your hands while you're still sat on the toilet, then sort of slide your legs out beneath the sink sidesaddle, then sort of skitter out of there… but then, why should you? Can a human being stand comfortably in that shower, by the way? Going to go with a hard "no" here.
Or: like how exactly are you supposed to navigate a flat where the bedroom and the kitchen is the same small space segued into a sort of cabinet (this is your storage), the side of which acts as a TV stand should you want to sit on the sofa (contextually enormous) in the corner and watch it there. But also any television you do balance precariously on the end there is almost likely to hurt your eyes w/ its proximity or just fully tumble onto your legs should you stand up too quickly and hit the wobbly floorboard (I am projecting but: there's no way the floor of this flat doesn't wheeze and contract like a smoker's lungs in damp weather), shattering everywhere. And that's your one source of joy, gone.
How are you possibly meant to relax in any way at all in this scant amount of space? Eight-hundred and forty bones, this costs. In Brent.
Someone invented this. Someone looked at this room and thought: 'This is big enough for a bed, technically, and a sink. I know a builder who is not morally opposed to installing ant-sized bathrooms for ants. I could rent this space, and the one next to it, as a studio apartment, in Brent.' Yes, someone thought, peering into this cupboard. This will be the making of my fortune. Eight-hundred and forty big ones, per month, flooding right to me. We should have stopped ten years ago, because every day that goes by we are only making this place – *gestures vaguely in the direction of the entire planet* – worse.
More! Terrible! Property!
(*1) Someone once told me trademark laughs are v. useful on panel shows because, when there is a laughing scene, it's easier to cut to the guy letting out the awful laugh-honk because you know it's coming from him and then, in the edit, transition smoothly to another thing, cutting out minutes and minutes of people laughing and slowly coming down off the incline of a laugh and going "oh", with exhaustion from the laugh. That sort of thing. So in many ways James Corden's annoying laugh is the only reason for his success. It makes him easier to edit through a crowd. Here's a two-and-a-half minute megacut of James Corden laughing that I bet you a shiny penny you can't make it all the way to the end of.