What is it? I've found that the only music I can listen to when I look at Rental Opportunities – staring into them, with their grey concrete and their low depth-of-field photographs and their cloudy little corners and their harsh, luminescent light, like staring into the sun but the sun is somehow asking you for £800 for the courtesy of staring into it – are very intense, doom-laden church organ situations, ten-minute songs with no lyrics and no tune, dirges maybe, very much sounding like someone got shot in the spine and fell body-first onto a huge pipe organ and, as they bled out – still twitching, barely, breathing but only just, more a hoarse, horrid, shuddering rattle than an actual breath – as they twitch and bleed out, they let their blood – the black blood, the bad blood – spill out onto the keys, and that is what I am listening to right now, a sort of prayer for my own soul, and I have to say: I have forgotten what the question was because I am convinced I am going to hell.
Where is it? Hmm? Oh, hold on, let me check. Uh… Enfield.
What is there to do locally? [Briefly suppresses the intrusive imagery of ghoulish demons, giggling maniacally, flying fast and rapid up out of the crack in the soil and out towards me, glowing hot and red with a lavaistic rage, teeth filed to points, eyes green and wild and lucid, shocked thin with the glare of the sun, their wings papery and wretched and soot-black, folded up and wrinkled like a bat's, and then – suddenly! – splayed out again, huge like an eagle's, flapping with a tacky sort of skin sound, the sound of skin rubbing against a blackboard, skrrit, skrrit, skrrit, and suddenly the sky is dark and looming with both grey and black clouds, and the air is thick and choking around me, and I am here, on my knees, begging and weeping for mercy, please, please, I have so much left to do, please, Please!, but it’s too late, they have their little claws around me, their palms scaled with tiny hooks that pull and tug my skin away like velcro, the tears are seared onto my face, slit like wounds down my cheeks—] Enfield has a duck pond!
Alright, how much are they asking? £900 pcm.
I have long theorised that estate agents, property agents, landlords et al literally do not know how to use a modern phone. You suspect this, too. You have probably lived this scenario: you have been looking to rent a flat, and you and a couple of your friends who are all looking to move in together are hunting, and you find one you kind of like, and there is an online enquiry form, and you – you naive little idiot – you fill it out with your name, your phone number, your email address, and think: 'Someone will contact me in a normal and prompt way after this.'
And you were wrong: somewhere between six to 15 days later, you get a frantic phone call from someone who appears to either be on Bluetooth while running away from the police or is stuck in a branded Mini doing doughnuts around Britain's busiest roundabout, screaming in the background but also somehow the sound of a hoover running, and they go, "HELLO MATE, YEAH, CALLING ABOUT THE FLAT," and you say, which one, and it takes them about 20 full seconds to figure out which, and you tell them no thank you, you’ve already found somewhere, and this happens every day intermittently now for about the next month, and then one really random one where they call you at 11PM on a Sunday night, and every single conversation is as if they are speaking to a person for the first time, using their jaws to make the shapes of sounds for the first time in decades.
None of them can text. Every phone call ends with the words, "Yeah, well email me," and they don’t manage to do it for four more days and two more phone calls. They take photos that look like they were discovered on a thumbdrive in some haunted woods. They put listing photos online like the below, just dripping in chaotic energy, the screenshot of the photos, the 16 percent battery, the fact this was done at 9:15 at night. Anyway, here’s Enfield:
Start with the bathroom, move out: the bathroom is inexplicably the biggest room in the house. This is presumably why is has been palatially tiled, for some reason, and has had a washing machine plumbed into it, the washing machine powered by just a dangling electrical cord, which yeah to me seems extremely safe and normal and good to have there, just out, in the flat’s mistiest and dampest room.
This bathroom judders with the same chaos as the photos that represent it: a see-through glass sink: why? Huge expensive slabs of tile: why? A blue beaker that is too small for its holder: why? An MDF chest of drawers: why? A door that’s been fitted in an obscure corner where a full jamb cannot encase it, so they just put two sides of jamb on there and lopped the other one off: why? A rug that runs the length of it like a striped red carpet: why? A lucid green welcome mat to usher you onto the throne of the toilet: why?
Then here's your main room. First thing you will notice: inexplicable fucking kill-drop from the front door down to the floor below it, which is good. The kitchen can be described as "vaguely normal": a normal-sized fridge-freezer, a sizeable work surface, a couple of cupboards, a bizarrely freestanding oven, but it works. The floor is not concrete, it's a thin carpet the exact colour of concrete. Yes, there are two chandeliers seemingly stapled to the ceiling to jazz this up.
And then, now, look around this thin corridor of yours: "Why," you might ask, "where is the bed?" There is no bed. For £900 a month you have to provide your own bed, and it’s either going in the kitchen or the bathroom, but you’d need to move the washing machine if it’s going in there, so let’s just try to cram it in that corner bit and hope for the best. The entire property is the width of a double bed, so I’d suggest you get a single.
Here’s the blunt description from Gumtree: “£900 pcm No dss no housing benefit Professionals only”. Ah, yes, it’s me, the working professional. I want to spend a grand a month to live in Enfield and sleep in a narrow bed in my own kitchen. I want to simply buzz with anarchic energy beneath the light of two fucking chandeliers. I want to shit peacefully beneath the soothing womp of my washing machine on a spin cycle.
Thank you, Gumtree user "Esra", for enabling my dream. After this, hell awaits me.