What is it? What's this then? What's all this then? Quite a lot of power walking into a situation and saying that, isn't there. Might do it next time I go to a party. "What’s all this then?" I am both admitting I know nothing about a basic situation, and asserting power by having someone explain it back to me. Me, in Starbucks, at an oat milk latte: "What's all this then?" Me, increasingly louder, beholding my reserved seat being occupied by a stranger on a train: "What’s aLL THIS then?" I have literally just realised that "what's all this then" is the most powerful sentence in the English language. This is going to be a very tedious year for everyone who knows me
Where is it? It's in the place in London that most sounds like a made-up village in a Sunday night tea-time drama about a mysterious murder that has eight different suspects, all of whom were seen walking out of the church in the same evening by nosy passersby: "Cricklewood".
What is there to do locally? Here's the pitch, right: handsome hotshot young detective Noel Frolby has been parachuted into the sleepy town of "Cricklewood" to peer at the bruised body of the popular local vicar and establish who done the murder. The suspects? Heh, it’d be easier to list those who aren’t suspicious than those who are: there's the bake sale mum with a dark secret looming in her past; the lawyer father who plays away from home; the bitter little old shopkeeper who won't sell sweets to children; the butcher, so threatened by Frolby's powerful masculinity that he stands up straighter whenever he's near him, sharpens his knives in a threatening way. Where was the under-9s football coach on the night of the murder, and why was the mayor's wife's lipstick found in his sofa at home? How come the headmaster knew where to look to find the hidden stash of church roof repair funds? The odd couple who run the motorside diner? The new-in-town family and the mysterious older daughter no one knew about up until now? With the help of his cheerful dog walker accomplice, Lance ("Ey up, Noel!" "Ey up, Lance!") there's only one man who can solve the murder and standing-up shag two (two.) entire still-got-it local divorceés while he does it……………… in ITV's new summer drama, Frolby. Alright, how much are they asking? £1,198 p.c.m., and before you look properly at the pictures, I do want you to consider what you, personally, would be happy spending £1.2k a month on. I am not happy spending £1.2k a month on anything, which is why I rent far, far below that bracket. But say you have £1.2k spare a month, plus bills. Now imagine what sort of palace you, personally, would be happy to live in for that amount. Got it? Alright I'll let you look now:
Yeah, so here's… that. Will walk you through it, picture-by-picture: in Image #1, you can see the mattress has a clear plastic cover on it, which suggests the mattress is brand new. There are only two reasons a London landlord buys a new mattress, and those are: i. That the previous mattress has been so irreparably stained that the police have taken it away as evidence ("Noel Frolby, special detective… I'm here for your mattress, you NONCE"), or ii. The flat has undergone a "London refurb", whereby the landlord gets the house painted white, puts down some ugly grey laminate and some vile kitchen cabinets that don't open properly, leaves the old curtains absolutely as-is and charges £400 a month minimum extra for the service.
Seeing as the rest of the flat looks grey and knackered in that way you did towards the end of January after you'd been on the arse-end of your Christmas paycheck for close to six fucking weeks, and you'd had to ask your mum to send you £20, which you, you horrible little troll, ended up spending on cigs and a single freezer pizza you somehow made last a week, I'm assuming someone was literally tied to that bed and cut into five pieces before the landlord was moved enough to replace it.
Image #2 and, if you're playing "London Shitheel Landlord Bingo" at home, this might be close to a full house: the microwave-cum-two-hob on the kitchen counter; a bonus point for the entirely erratic, exposed-cable and the way it's been plugged into the wall; a fireplace alcove that's been filled in with an electric heater; a kitchen counter somehow installed over a fireplace; an over-sink water heater, like you live in a caravan; a freezer you can probably get about one box of cereal inside; a kitchen counter supported by a single exposed chrome beam.
It does not get more London Shithole than this. This is a literally perfect example of a shitty London kitchen. They should show that image to potential buy-to-let landlords before they approve a mortgage for them, and if they say, "Yeah, looks good to me," then, instead of being approved finance, they go directly to prison, where they are administered the death sentence by means of a painless but lethal injection.
Image #3 and, whether you know it or not, you are looking at a bathroom. It is hard to tell this is a bathroom because it is mixed in among assorted mismatching furniture (none of it matches, but all of it has the same sinister looming energy, like stone statues of trolls found out there in the woods). I'm not sure what that red circular thing on the wall is, but I think it might be an incredibly loud doorbell. Your bathroom is inside that sort of lean-to thing, and I don't think it explicitly has a ceiling on it, so if you're into, say, shitting in the exact same room as your partner with nothing but a thin door and some plasterboard between you, then sure, pay £1.2k a month to live here, with them, in Cricklewood. But I won't be joining you.
Image #4 is your actual bathroom, sort of (it is not immediately clear where your shower or bath is – I suppose you could wash your junk under the water boiler in the kitchen, in a pinch), and this bathroom has a very particular air of something retconned into an old shop-fitting, like a charity shop or independent boutique that used to be something else, or a temporary building site bathroom, or basically any toilet–sink combo that employers install to almost proactively detract you from ever pissing and shitting, because it's so bleak to do it that it's not even fun to waste the small amount of time you would be in there, shitting or pissing, so you save it all up and do it at home instead.
Only, this is your home, and it has no shower, and no bathroom ceiling, and no living room, and no central heating, and you're full of a day's worth of pisses and shits, and it's in Cricklewood, and it costs £1.2k a month, to live there. Still. New mattress, at least.