What is it? A one-bedroom flat in Camden, which as a sentence has staggered down the pegs in meaning over the last 20 years in quite an interesting way: once, saying you lived in a one-bedroom flat in Camden meant you were one of those strange punks who smell too strongly of jeans; then it became a brief locus point of absolutely, unassailable indie cool; now it's just more-or-less the same as the rest of London, i.e. "three bars which used to be great and are now alright, an inexplicable rabbit warren of food stalls, new-build complexes that have exactly two affordable flats in them", only with the added spice of, at any one time, exactly 1,000 pupae-stage goths trudging round with their mum five steps behind them, ready to buy their first Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise and finally ascend to "weirdest kid in school".
Where is it? Camden. Have we not been through this already.
What is there to do locally? I have found the best thing to do in Camden is have an argument with your friends about the quality of the two most important venues in the area, on which everyone seems to have a wildly differing opinion: I argue that the Camden Wetherspoons that checks your ID on the way in, even if you look like you're in your sixties, is actually Very Good, and that dark and dangerous dagger-edged vibe it has within it is actually incredibly fun to be around, while others argue the exact polar opposite; I would also posit that The Roundhouse, which everyone thinks is Wholly Good, is actually a very soulless venue that's never actually as fun to watch music in as you think it's going to be. Throw a conversational grenade into the chat next time you and some mates are around there, see how it goes. For advanced speakers: which is better, Camden Sainsbury's or Camden Morrisons?
Alright, how much are they asking? £1,625 pcm. That's: one-thousand, six-hundred and twenty-five. Per calendar month. Every month, they want that. They want that monthly.
Whenever I see a toilet in a bedroom – it's sad that I can type that sentence with an air of grizzled experience, isn't it? I have seen more than one toilet in a bedroom. I can survey the quality of the toilet in the bedroom based on previous experiences of seeing toilets in a bedroom. For reference, this is actually a very nice toilet in a bedroom, but it's still a toilet in a bedroom, isn't it – whenever I see a toilet in a bedroom, I cannot help but imagine the conversations I would have with people if I lived in a toilet in a bedroom and had to, say, go to the toilet, while they were in it. I mean, it goes like this basically, doesn’t it:
Me: Can, uh...
A Girl I Have Slept with Like Two Times But Am Nowhere Near Comfortable Just Fully Pissing in Front of: What
Me: I need to [gestures to the toilet with my head because I am too afraid to say the words "I need to go to the toilet"]
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: Can you not hold it in? I just woke up.
Me: Yeah, I know, but I've been up checking Instagram on my phone for 45 minutes.
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: Alright, there's no need to be like that.
Me: Like what?
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: It's Saturday! I don't need to wake up early.
Me: Yeah, I know – I just wake up earlier than you. It's fine.
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: It just feels like you're judging.
Me: I'm not ju— listen, I'm not judging. But I really need to, you know...
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: Say it.
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: Alright, fine. But only piss.
Me: I wouldn't dream of shitting.
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: Can I have a T-shirt?
Me: I think there's one on the floor over there.
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: I don't want a floor T-shirt I want a clean T-shirt.
Me: I dunno if I have a clean T-shirt.
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: What kind of slob doesn't have a clean T-shirt?
Me: Oh my god LET ME GET MY PISS OUT.
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: I'M NOT STANDING NAKED IN THE KITCHEN WHILE YOU DO A LURID YELLOW MORNING PISS.
Me: I DON’T THINK WE SHOULD SEE EACH OTHER ANYMORE.
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: FINE. I DON'T WANT TO SHAG A MAN WHO PISSES IN HIS BEDROOM ANYWAY.
Me: I PAY ONE-THOUSAND, SIX-HUNDRED POUNDS A MONTH TO DO THIS.
A.G.I.H.S.W.L.T.T.B.A.N.N.C.J.F.P.I.F.O: [furiously gets dressed and leaves]
The door slams. Later that day, a WhatsApp screenshot of her telling her friends I piss in my bedroom with the caption "Ugh, men" goes mega-viral. 166K likes. Twitter Moment, the whole deal. It's very embarrassing for me. A lot of my friends text it to me, laughing. They all know I piss in my bedroom.
So, like: I don't think it's optimal, to piss in your bedroom. Even if you're having sex with someone you're incredibly familiar with, i.e. familiar with to the point that maybe you'd piss in front of them (I'd never shit in front of anyone in my life, even at gunpoint. If I live in this Camden flat I'm just deciding to stop shitting. Maybe I could get a gym membership and shit there, but then – that's too tactical, isn't it? And a lot of gyms close by 11PM. A midnight shit is just going to have to stay there until the morning), I think a certain romantic sparkle goes out of the thing if you regularly – I mean on the daily – piss in front of them. And also your sink is in the room, like in Halls. Also, I think the shower is in there, tucked behind an alcove in front of the toilet, you having to pull the blinds down every time you need to piss, shit or wash yourself, because your entire bathroom experience is just: there.
But I suppose the weirdest thing about this flat is: someone – multiple people, I suppose – have spent a lot of time and money making it nice. Like: the sink is a sort of marble and exposed pipe thing that indicates boujieness. The kitchen has an ornate Smeg-branded over. There's a hanging lampshade and a tasteful white-and-grey-marble colour palette. It's freshly painted inside and out. The beautiful period windows open out onto a gorgeous view, either side of the flat. And then there's a fucking toilet in your bedroom that you are paying close to £2,000 a month to piss in. What kind of backwards city have we wrought! What sort of hell have we made for ourselves! Why would someone that rich pay to have goths watch them shit!