What is it? It is a bed in a kitchen;
Where is it? Actually maybe that is a misnomer: it's sort of a bedroom with a kitchen in it, so it's hard to know whether that makes it a kitchen first and a bedroom second (i.e. a kitchen-bedroom) or a bedroom that just so happens to have a kitchen and all the necessary kitchen equipment in it (i.e. a beddy-kitchkitch) so anyway we're getting off topic. It's in Euston;
What is there to do locally? There's plenty to do in Euston – go to the British Library, the Wellcome Collection, the Grant Museum, the Euston Tap – but what I find I most often do is sit in a Pret for an hour waiting for my train while every single person in London somehow finds and excuse to clatter into my fucking luggage;
Alright, how much are they asking? Yours for £541 a month, squire;
Here's a bedroom-cum-kitchen in Euston, and are we even surprised any more? Are we even surprised anymore. I have to tell you that we are not even surprised. I have to tell you that my colleague forwarded this London Rental Opportunity on to me with the caption, "Not the best ever but still quite weird", is how unsurprised we are. Not the best ever. But still quite weird. A bed in a kitchen is only "quite weird", now. We do not get shocked by beds in kitchens any more, either. We are post-shock, we are post-surprise. We are post using punctuation in internal emails to one another. There is very little London can now do with its housing that will surprise us. There is very little that, grammatically, will send us for a wash. Sometimes life feels like one long sigh of exhaustion towards the grave.
Anyway, here's a kitchen-bedroom in Euston. As you can see it is more than just a kitchen with a bed in it (Ibid.): this is a bedroom that is also a kitchen. The rooms are distinct, yet occupy the same space. The good thing about the kitchen-bedroom is it allows you to make friends even while you sleep. "The cheap room you need to be comfortable knowing that you are living in the kitchen," the current occupant, Eleni, explains, "and if you want the other rooms you need to be comfortable and respectful to the privacy of the person whose room is the kitchen. I didn't know my flatmates before I moved in (to the kitchen) but it has actually worked out really well and we've not had any issues at all." If everyone is respectful it is quite possible to live in someone's kitchen. As long as nobody wants food or water between the hours of 10pm and 7am then it actually makes sense to live in a kitchen over an actual private, locked room.
I actually have two-fold beef with the concept of a kitchen-bedroom, beef that comes from vast experience from living with other human beings, beef that suggests to me that sleeping in a kitchen is less ideal than Eleni (who, for someone who lives in a kitchen, writes very cheerfully) describes it. I'll break it down for you:
i. The kitchen is, I find, the most contested shared room in the house, the one subject to the most passive-aggressive notes left on unwashed pans, of food gone astray, of crumbs left in butter. Kitchens are where wars happen. You ever tried to make a sandwich while your foodie housemate is simultaneously using every single pot and pan at once to make pesto and pasta from scratch? You ever seen someone make a full roast on, inexplicably, a Monday night? People eat at mad times and insane hours. People spill salt and pepper fucking everywhere. The floor of a kitchen is the worst floor in the house. The kitchen is where the most stinking garbage goes to fester. The kitchen is quite often where a spinning washing machine is kept, and someone is doing an overnight wash, and it keeps beeping to tell you the cycle is over. And there, distantly, in the corner, in your fresh pressed pyjamas and with a cup of jasmine tea on the go, there's you, just quietly trying to read a book and have a sweet little eight hours in among the chaos;
ii. Food smells for fucking hours. You ever made bacon, even once in your life? Your hair still smells of it. You ever made something in a slow cooker? You ever tried to make a curry from the BBC website? Imagine the fragrances, the aromas. Now try and sleep in that, with grease still heavy in the air, with your nostrils stinging with it. There is no escape;
And, thirdly, and most crudely, and I am almost sorry to bring it down to this, but that's who I am:
iii. Wanks. We all have to wank, sometimes, don't we? So, question: how you gonna wank in a kitchen? Or, indeed, enjoy physical congress with another human being? You can't fuck nasty while someone's doing the washing up!
Wanks aside, I think it's clear as to what has driven us to the point that someone is very calmly and evenly living in a kitchen, and that is this: unequate the £125 per month that the kitchen occupant pays in rent (that's £541 a month, not largely detached from what I currently pay, and I live in a room with a lock on the door and I do not have to sleep near a cheese grater) and you're looking at a two-bed flat that costs £1,867 pcm, or £933.50 split two ways, and which, for housing advertised to students – even students in That London with their Lofty Ways and their Did You Not Know You Can Go To University In Other Parts Of The UK, You Daft Dickheads, Like Literally Anywhere Else, There Are So Many Universities, So Many Places To Go – even with all that, is so absurd it is basically criminal, and is indicative of a system and a city broken sort of completely beyond any repair. That the only way to make a two-bed near your university financially viable these days is to have someone hunker down in the kitchen and pay rent for the pleasure. Only way to really get through the three years of your degree is take very real compromises with your privacy and the amount of food smells you deal with as you're getting to sleep. Not the best ever, no, but quite weird.
More from this series which someone has to option for a book soon, surely, come on, I need to pay my rent somehow, mate come on please I live in a kitchen: