What is it? A mezzanine floor – i.e. a shelf with aspirations – just large enough to fit an un-sheeted mattress in;
Where is it? Where is anything? Where are any of these things? When I say "London rental opportunity that just about errs on the side of piss-taking", where did your mind take you? Yes, correct: Stoke Newington, in trendy east London;
What is there to do locally? Bump into literally everyone you know in the local branch of Whole Foods; have a sort of twisted self-loathing conversation with yourself about whether the new Franco Manca is a golden icon of the gentrification that has been creeping throughout the area for the last ten years or not; begrudgingly end up going to Franco Manca;
Alright, how much are they asking? £350 a month, bills but not electricity included;
How do you find a vegan at a dinner party, the old joke goes. "Oh," is the reply. "Don't worry. They will tell you." The joke here is: vegans are very forthright about their dietary choices. That is the crux on which the old vegan joke is hung. They like to talk about the various things they do with chickpeas, the vegans ("Grind them into a pitiable flour!" the vegans say. "Mix with water to make a stringy dough! Knead and roll into rounds! Deep fry in an earth-safe oil! Congratulations! You just made disgusting falafel!"). But the vegan at a dinner party has become a meta-joke now: a good way to spot a vegan in a crowd of people is to tell the vegan at a dinner party joke (Ibid.) and then a vegan will barge forward, all elbows, all vegan elbows, and go: actually, not all vegans are like that. The vegan will adjust the little hand-knitted hat on their head, claw one greased finger at their single curling dreadlock. We have our own dinner parties, they say, with carob. They pause to play a small beat on the tambourine they carry at all times and say: we've almost got cheese right. And so the joke has transformed from hijinks to divining rod. I am related to a vegan so I am allowed to talk like this.
Similarly, a joke: how do you find someone who lives in a warehouse in east London when you're at a party? Oh. Don't worry. They will tell you.
Everyone who lives in a warehouse in east London has at least one vintage shell-suit and knows how to do diabolo. Everyone who lives in a warehouse in east London is artistic in some way. Fine-grained bicycle grease in their fingernails, their fingerprints. Example of something someone who lives in a warehouse in east London says: "I live in a warehouse in east London!" Another example: "Let's have a bar-be-cue! Even though it's fucking February!" Example three: "I like to paint dog portraits with my vagina blood!" Four: "Making your own yoghurt is very important!"
Get someone who lives in warehouse in east London high on drugs and they will get really paranoid eyes and talk to you about living off grid. Go to someone who lives in a warehouse in east London's bedroom and they will invite you to have sex on a mattress that doesn't have a sheet on it. They hate sheets, the east London warehouse people. They think curtains have the structural and muffling attributes of actual walls. The only form of electric light they break bread with is an infinitely long spiral of fairy lamps. Nobody who lives in a warehouse in east London will read this because they all get their internet off a dongle. I can say whatever I want.
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And so to the first London Rental Opportunity of the Week of the year, at a warehouse in east London. Do you fancy renting a room in London for £350 per calendar month? Sounds pretty sweet, doesn't it? What if I told you the room only had one wall and was essentially a glorified shelf? What then? What if I told you your housemates were tidy, but not anally so? How about now? What if the photos of the property in its current state make it look far more like a murder scene than I think was intended? I mean, I am quite serious about this; this isn't just binge-watching Making a Murderer talking: I think the last flatmate died there. After being slain. With a knife. And the blood mopped up with the sheet that used to sit on that mattress. And then they made home-brewed yoghurt from the blood, because they are east London warehouse people, and that's what they do.
What if I told you one of your potential flatmates played the ukulele.
They did something, this week, those terrible MPs – those awful MPs, with their genitals that smell of pig, with their hands in so many corporate pies that the gravy is burning their fingerprints off, with their duck houses and their pretending-to-like-football ways – and that was this: they voted down, at 312 votes to 219, a simple amendment to the housing bill that stated landlords would be liable for their property to be quote-unquote "fit for human habitation" for the duration of a tenancy.
Parse it again: politicians, 73 of whom were private landlords and so definitely are in no way biased at all, looked upon the prospect of making the bare-ass minimum requirement to make their properties fit for human habitation and went: "Oof, bit rich for me, that." Do the servile dog people stuck in the rental quagmire really deserve natural light, space to move, something slightly more than a raw mattress on a wide shelf in a warehouse in Stoke Newington? Surely, if they wanted somewhere to put a fucking sofa and not to get a cough from the damp, surely they would just buy a house? They are near a Franco Manca, the scumfolk. Surely they have everything they want.
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Listen, man: if you want to live on a big shelf in a warehouse and get Really Into the Self-Cleaning Hair Movement then that is OK; a lot of people live happily that way. But my concern is that a sort of slanted concrete roof arrangement over a mezzanine floor isn't really a room, is it? Like: an openable window and the possibility of building more walls are both detailed as pros in the listing advert, when I consider a window that opens very basic on the scale of things. And personally, for me, a room has to have a minimum of four walls before I rent it. What can I say: I'm picky!
But I suppose the fear is that a mattress under a concrete roof will become less a trendy lifestyle choice over the next few years and instead, like, a new sub-rung on the available rental property ladder, a new rung invented by necessity, a new rung that spiralled directly from the shot-down habitable-by-humans amendment MPs decided against this week. That the fun joke I invented in the second paragraph will be redundant, because everyone will live in a warehouse in east London. If you are near a window you can open right now, go and hug it and give it a kiss. Go and fuck it. Fuck that hinged window. The future will be bereft of them. The future is paying £350 to not have walls in Stoke Newington.
(h/t @martabausells, who is looking for a flat currently, so if you got any tips send them her way)
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