What is it? The usual garbage we are all used to, really: a bed in a kitchen with a shitty little bathroom attached. Could just stop the article there, I suppose. Done. Thank you. Invoice attached, Jamie, if you could—
Where is it? I will play your game then, fine: it is in Hounslow. "Is Hounslow even London?" you're asking, aloud, and the answer is: fucking hardly, no.
What is there to do locally? As best I can tell, Hounslow is just a borough-sized dumping ground for all the wretched fuel and smogs that belch out of the nearby Heathrow airport, a sort of salted earth sector with a few grey-and-white brick new-build apartment complexes dotted over it and a couple of parks, and then also Twickenham, which is Tory Disneyland. Will cheerfully revoke the above if a single person who is delighted to live in Hounslow contacts me to correct.
Alright, how much are they asking? £750 pcm.
A List of Things I Dislike About This Shitty Little One-Bed In Hounslow, No Order:
i. This is the first time I have ever seen this before, but: the oven is a half-oven, as in it is an oven (with hob) that is exactly half the width of a regular oven, so it has two burners on the top and, like… half an oven below. So take an oven, right? You know an oven. Take an oven, and squash it, horizontally, until it is exactly half an oven. That's not normal, is it? Before I even get started on "in what fucking world can you even buy a half-oven, like this, beyond, say, a caravan accessory warehouse", the main thing I cannot shake from my head is no single standard-sized baking tray will fit in that oven. So not only do you have a weird Landlord Special™ Cheap-A-Roney Space-Saving Oven-Flavoured Appliance, you also have to buy new baking trays, which is unideal.
ii. Is it weird that my mind just immediately got hung up on the baking trays? Why is that where this one went, so soon? Normally it takes a couple of paragraphs to zig off into the deep space of my errant psyche, but no, almost straightaway with this one. What is my preoccupation with baking trays? How did I become this person, and is there any possible way to go back?
iii. I mean, it is a given, but your bed is in your kitchen, which is also I presume your living room, so your living room and bedroom and kitchen are all the same room. I've lived in flats where the living room and kitchen are monstered together into a open-plan living space and they have been fine, because they have been airy enough to accommodate both functions in a single room – leisure, and burning bacon; cooking a mediocre Wednesday night stir-fry, but also idly watching Don't Tell the Bride in the background – but I've never added a bed to that mix, because beds deserve the respect of their own room, and also very crucially this living-bed-kitch-room mash-up event is too small to, feasibly, host even one of those rooms, on its own, so the idea of cramming three in there, are once, is fantastic. And not good fantastic. Fantastic can mean bad.
iv. Can "fantastic" mean bad? Jamie, please check. Do the invoice first, but then check.
v. Hmm, OK, so the bed repulses me, because— well, alright, cards on the table first: I am repulsed by the sheer idea of the naked and unsheeted mattresses that make up a vast proportion of the Greater London renting economy. Every mattress you've slept on has been slept on by somebody else, and they have tossed and turned and fucked and wanked and emitted their skin flakes and their fluids on it, and then taken the sheet off and handed it over via a landlord to you, and the landlord rents it back to you without even spraying it down or checking for lice or anything. All mattresses are basically toilet seats that we sleep on. And this one looks particularly bad, there, under the thin sheath of a protective top sheet. It just looks like it itches and moves—
However, and also: I am 100 percent sure that iron bed frame is creaking and collapsing and may explode, totally, the first ever time you sleep on it, and if not it will skit along the laminate floor beneath it every night every time you move, so the sheer act of tumbling softly over in slumber will actively wake you, from it, because the bed is so primed to make huge juddering squealing noises whenever you do anything on it, and I mean that's before we even get to the notion of doing a fuck on that, if you can ever convince anyone to fuck you, in Hounslow, in your kitchen, which you never will—
Additionally, the single ill-fitting storage drawer beneath the bed is: incredibly, aggressively depressing, to me
vi. Back to the baking trays: it's weird, because the half-oven also has, crucially, a half-extractor fan above it, and what a well-primed and healthy mind should've immediately thought is: 'How, in this hell-world, is a half-width oven extractor fan a thing that you can buy – and crucially, how can you be a moral person, walking into a shop that sells it, and buy it for the studio flat you own in Hounslow, to rent out for £750 to some unsuspecting innocent?' The answer is: you cannot. I do not know if you believe in the ultimate, in life after death and the everafter, of heaven and hell and the paradise and terrors in between, but basically: you're not going up, if you buy a half-width extractor fan for your rental kitchen-cum-bedroom. You are going straight down, and never ever coming close to rising.
vii. Lakeland does a single portion baking tray, I just checked. That is an incredibly bleak thing to exist. A single long, thin baking tray, scattered with jaundiced oven chips and frozen nuggets, dinner for one, eaten with a wooden spoon directly off the tray, in Hounslow, in bed.
viii. In one of the photos a single duvet is crumpled and laid out on the floor of the kitchen (it is closer to the oven than the bed, so I am demarcating it the kitchen), and that is done because – and I'm going on feeling here, not sense – that is done because someone slept there, once, I think. Someone slept on the squeaking iron bed and someone slept on a duvet in the kitchen. I feel this. This flat has bad vibes and I can sense them all.
ix. I don't know if it is sesh PTSD, but I find nothing more troubling, on Earth, than a thin curtain closed against the blazing sun, which is what this flat has. The closed curtain asks more questions than it looks to hide: what is it shielding? What is it hiding? From the quality of the rest of the flat, I am assuming the door/window opens out into something particularly bleak: a direct view of the greased wall at the back of an off-brand piri piri chicken shop, for example, a building site where they found that body and had to close down, thick deep foundation holes slowly filling with muddying rain water as the police tape tickers in the wind. If there was anything good out there, the photographer would undraw the curtain and show us. But there isn't. There is nothing good to be had outside that window.
x. For some reason, the cabinet in the bathroom is curved and distorted the same way the walls behind Geordie Shore girls are in their Instagram photos, and at first I thought it was a trick – surely that's just bad photography, right? That must just be a weird lens, surely? – but then I saw the cabinet had the exact same bend in both photographs of it, from both angles, which I can only surmise means… that the bathroom cabinet… has an inexplicable… kink in it? Maybe I'm just going mad. Maybe I need to stop googling "small baking tray is it at all possible?" and have another week off. The start of the year has, clearly, been incredibly psychically distressing, to me
xi. There's no natural light in your bathroom, so you're pissing in the dark, face-to-face with your own sink, crammed under what looks like, from the angle of the ceiling, somebody else's stairs. I've never shat while two people ran upstairs directly over the top of me, but: I simply cannot imagine that is a comfortable thing to do. You know that noise people running up stairs makes: a-jun jun jun jun jun. That, but while you're in the barrel-bottom depths of a hangover shit.
xii. For £750.
xiii. A month.
xiv. In Hounslow.