What is it? Gonna answer that question with the sentence: "There is a structural microwave in this one."
Where is it? In Clapton, where all your mates moved to when you went south, you remember? You all said you'd move south and it'd be fun. "Forest Hill!" you said to them all. "That's where I am! The rent's so cheap for what you get x", and then, just as you were unboxing all those books you’ve moved house with three times without opening a single one of, you got a really long WhatsApp group text: "Hi [whatever your name is] – so sorry, we found this amaaaaaaaaaaaaazing place in Clapton! Barney’s dad put the deposit down for us so it was a complete steal. So sorry! Forest Hill sounds good though!" and they promised they would all visit but they didn’t, did they, your housewarming was so ill-attended as to be disrespectful, nobody has come and seen you at that dark energy Forest Hill Spoons you keep going on about, and now you have to get the Overground to work every day while all your mates – who you never see anymore, because they live in Clapton, alongside everyone else you know, even partially – live in Clapton. You poor, stupid, fucking idiot.
What is there to do locally? I live in Clapton and I don’t fucking know. What do I do here? What do I do all day? Sometimes I walk down to that Turkish pastry place where they hate me and get a sort of spinach and feta thing for lunch. And there’s the pub that deals heroin. Uhh… is this all I do with my life?
Alright, how much are they asking? £900. If you'd like, take a minute to calculate just how many days you’d have to work at your job to make that money, post-tax. Nice to think about it like that: how many days, of your hard labour, of your time, of your getting up early, of you forgetting breakfast and having a Pret breakfast, of you forgetting lunch and having a Pret lunch, of that interminable bus journey home, of flopping down knackered on the sofa: how many sheer days of that, of your life that you never get back, would you have to work to pay for the monthly rent on this place? Alright, you can read it now;
Clapton's where they all go now, isn't it. You know who I mean. The "RAINS backpack" lot. The "slightly too serious cyclists". Everybody with an opinion about oat milk. That's where they went to: Clapton, formally of murder, now of some really nice pubs, actually, and a fucking great actually tap room. Ignore the heroin pub, that’ll close soon. We’ll smash through that Turkish pastry place and put a fuck-off Franco Manca in. Ignore that. Old police station will be some bloody nice flats soon actually. There’s a pub down there with an old-style pool table nobody knows how to play but only takes 90s pound coins. It! Is! Sick!
And now you could live there, here, if you like, in a £900… well, sort of repurposed front room, replete still with the squidgy orange nan carpet and a completely anarchic furniture set-up (there is no single item of furniture in this house that is in the correct place, not even the bed, because though the bed seems to be in roughly the right place [bedroom, corner] it is rendered wrong by the context of the furniture around it [TV stand with TV, TV stand without TV, two office chairs but no desk, haunted wall clock], so though geographically it is in the correct place, spiritually it is not), and we should probably address this: a shower mounted directly over a toilet:
Been thinking about this for a while and, annoyingly, I can see some grim logic in a toilet-mounted shower: perhaps someone with limited mobility lived here at some point, and they needed somewhere to sit when they showered, and turning the bathroom into a sort of all-encompassing wet room made a weird sort of sense. There are clues as to how this room-turned-flat came to be – the room listing bills it as a "Self-contained ground floor Studio in quiet family house", and when you consider the dated soft furnishings and the IKEA-and-done practical fittings, and the haunted wall clock, and put it all together, this very much screams "we moved nan in here for a year so she could comfortably die".
To that end: toilet shower is good, because nans always shit when they shower. On another the-world-is-broken hand: if someone is repurposing their dead nan flat as a room in their house they can feasibly rent out for £900 a month, and every time you shower you have to straddle the machine into which you piss, and also a nan haunted it, then that is bad. That is very bad and I don’t like that it is happening.
But if we take a moment off from giving whoever is renting this room out a break (which goes against every particle of my soul, and I apologise: you’re right, we should drag them by their hair through cobbled streets), it really is better to analyse the sheer unliveability of this place. The kitchen is 1 x bizarre freestanding sink space, 1 x oven, 1 x extractor hood with wiring that crosses an entire wall to make it work, 1 x kitchen table pushed against a wall with 1 x chair only pushed within it, 1 x washing machine that out-exceeds every other edge in the room, 2 x cupboards sandwiched either side of a microwave, 1 x fire extinguisher, 1 x can of Pledge.
The bedroom is similarly nonsensical: 1 x double bed hovering in some grey no man's land between the arc of a bay window and a nearby wall, and then facing that bed is every other piece of furniture in the flat: 1 x wardrobe that just stands there, watching you; 1 x slender freestanding mirror in case you want to look at the reflection of exactly one of your legs; 2 x desk chairs, 2 x TV stands.
I cannot tell if this room was empathetically carved out for a dying relative or if someone realised that, if they put a carpet down in the room they store all the furniture they find on the pavement, they could rent the thing out for £900 a month. Either way: don’t rent here, please. If £900 and shitting while you shower isn’t enough, I am absolutely convinced that mischievous spirits dwell inside that clock.