What is it? Hard to tell from the layout exactly because the way this flat is arranged is causing me actual physical anxiety in my head and chest, but it's basically an office smashed into a bedroom with a big red rug in the middle and a shower attached; it is hell, it is the very hell beneath our feet—
Where is it? Archway!
What is there to do locally? All Archway is is a menacing McDonald’s, a far too steep hill, a bus terminus and a hospital. It is a horrid place and I despise it.
Alright, how much are they asking? £924 p.c.m.!
We came to an agreement about this, didn’t we, that rooms are generally four walls with a flat top. Door to get in, that sort of thing. Single flat plane as the floor. You know a room. A room! Close your eyes and imagine a room. You’re probably coming at it from the same angle as me, flat on the floor, grey office carpet, white gloss skirting boards, plain white walls, perhaps a double-glazed window, sill at a depth of a few inches. You know: a room. A room! We came to an agreement.
What the fuck is this, then? What the fuck is this?
What has happened here is Someone Has Had An Idea, and in this case it has turned out to be bad. One thing people say about ideas is like: oh, ideas are good. They are like: "Let’s have more ideas." Ideas – tiny sparks that turn eventually into realness but start like a beautiful blossom in the eye of the mind – have led us to here, to greatness. Ideas started the internet, and getting to the moon, and ecstasy. Ideas were what started motor travel, and society, and marches and protests and poems and laws. Ideas are the very foundation everything is built upon (someone had the idea for foundations, once!)! The pixels you are reading this on were once someone's idea! Ideas are vital! But also someone had the idea to turn a single-room studio apartment into something multi-layered and mad, and now I’m breathing very quickly into a paper bag and trying to understand it and I can’t.
Okay, so first fucks: there is a window that looks into the shower here (*1). Like: there’s a blind over it. You can roll the blind down! But also the window looks directly into the shower. That is… why would anyone want that? I suppose if you live alone then you could leave the blind up and, like, watch TV through the window, while you lather yourself, I suppose. That is one use for that. Or if you’re cooking pasta – you know it sometimes boils over when you’re not looking at it? – so if you’re cooking pasta, while you shower, you can watch it from the shower window, dash nude and dripping towards it if the water runs over the top (that would not be a reality in this flat, as there is no stove, so you couldn’t cook pasta on it, or watch that pasta from the shower, but: we’re dealing in hypotheticals here, and that is one of them). But primarily I am thinking about the window going the other way, in, and why… why would you have a window in your house that looks directly into the shower and/or toilet? Someone had the idea for this, once.
Second fucks: there are two office chairs being arranged as a kitchen table! Am I having a conference call or am I eating some cereal here! This kitchen table cannot tell me! It does not really matter because the only tools to prepare food with here are a single microwave! I am not even seeing a fridge! Someone had a series of ideas that led to this!
Third fucks: you are looking at this and you are like, heh: it’s every boy on Tinder’s bedroom. That’s what you are thinking, aren’t you. You keep matching with skaters called Luke who don’t take their beanie off when they fuck you, and they keep inviting you back to places with no sheet and no bed frame, just a raw horrid mattress, and you can’t even bring yourself to sleep on it when you’re done, can you, you just get the night bus home even though it’s pushing 4AM. That is what you think is happening here, but no. Note that this bedroom is actually the flat’s crawl space, so the room itself is accessed via a ladder from the office–kitchen and the ceiling itself is only a few feet off the ground, so the reason there is no bed frame in this photo is because there is literally not enough vertical space for one to exist. The addition of a humidifier and a camping chair are, frankly, sinister. The addition of three nude lightbulbs screwed into the wall is something a murderer would imagine. Again: someone’s idea.
Here’s your shower: we put bricks in it but you can’t see a toilet. Another idea from the mind of a British maniac.
I want to get out of this place but I can’t because I can’t figure out where the doors are. I’m disorientated and I don’t know how to leave. Why are there so many levels to this flat? How high up am I right now? Is this flat built on another layer of flats, and sandwiched beneath another one, all vertically stair-shaped in their layouts, all red and drastic and kitted out with office chairs and shower windows? Where am I? Remember that when you escape here, all that Archway has to offer you is a very large and ominous roundabout. Why are you here, wherever you are? How are you paying close to a grand a month for this? Who made this? Are you in prison? Is this the frantic imaginings of a dying mind? Is this real? Am I real? Why is that rug so red? Am I dying? Have I been dying all along? Is everything a joke invented to soothe me as I rush towards the light? Why? Is? This? So? Red?
(*1) I am 90 percent sure that is what that window is – the layout of this flat is an absolute panic attack and I’ve literally sketched out floor plans of it to try to understand it – but I am pretty sure the bathroom is through this window, but also on an additional sub-level, so you go down some stairs to go take a shower, and then that shower, inexplicably, has a high internal window looking into it, covered by a blind. Either that or the window looks into a hallway (which is also weird???) and the bathroom is hidden behind some cupboard doors in a small triangular slice of real-estate just off from the kitchen-cum-office, but there’s no way of knowing for sure unless I actually go to this flat, which I am afraid to do in case I become trapped in it.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.