What is life like in London? Hell. Here’s proof that renting in London is a nightmare.
What is it? The first glimmer of hope in 2022. On January 1st, you woke up with your mouth dry and your head turned and thought, “Maybe this year will be different. Maybe this year will be better. Maybe this year … maybe they’ll sort something out. ‘ No. Not correct. Fool. Everything is still the same and worse. Bunk beds are still available in London for over £ 700 a month.
Where is it? With “Angel Islington” it always sounds very glamorous when you are 12 years old and dream of the lights of the big city on a Monopoly board and then you show up and it is just a medium-sized boot, one branch is from GAP, one quite impossible Series of intersections to navigate and, if you get there at the right time of day (9am Sunday is my personal tip), loads of dazed looking goths who somehow survived the night at Slimelight.
What is there to do on site? The Golbyian Theory of Wetherspoons ™ prescribes that the branches of the Wetherspoons are roughly divided into three subspecies: Big Light Wetherspoons, Bad Vibes Wetherspoons, Fine Enough Wetherspoons (there are no “actively good” Wetherspoons).
Big Light Wetherspoons I think are pretty self explanatory. For some reason, a lot of Wetherspoons stores – especially in or near train stations – have an incredibly bizarre approach to ambient lighting where they simply put downlights on the ceiling and let it glow at any time of the day, which creates this bizarre tightness Skin too awake at the airport when you are in it and influences your mood accordingly. Some scholars argue that it is imperative that the Big Light Wetherspoons keep the lighting that way for anthropological reasons – just as prison walls are painted muddy surrounding paints to discourage violence (example: The Masque Haunt, Old Street).
Good enough Wetherspoons, once again, you already know: a Wetherspoon that you walk into, which strangely has a lot of Kramer’s apartment level and you can more or less find a chair and the app service actually works and the toilet is clean and they actually cook the food all the way through, and it’s in a decent geolocation that all of your friends can reach.
And then you have Bad Vibes Wetherspoons that just have that terrible, dark, razor-sharp energy that nobody really seems to be having fun with – like in a fun pub! – or planning a real crime, like in a shit hole pub, or having a depressed beer before they have to take the S-Bahn home (a train station pub).
Instead, everyone is gripped by this amalgam mood, which lies somewhere between all three: Every time you go to the bar, you half expect that a man with a freshly shaved head will accuse you of buying a “cunt drink” because you ” a cunt “and all toilet graffiti are done in ballpoint pens. What strikes me again and again about McDonald’s is the nature of the big gears of global logistics and centrally issued preparatory measures have meant that a McDonald’s fry tastes the same in 1998 or 2008; or in Chesterfield, London and Tokyo – an amazing feat of corporate control.
It is also incredible that all Dark Wetherspoons – no matter where they are in the country! Completely unconnected via the Wetherspoons paintwork, menu, toilet cleanliness teaching and app! – have exactly the same pulsating dark energybe it the one in Hackney, the one on Turnpike Lane, or the one in Chelmsford. And what I’m saying is that Angel is sitting on strange dark leylines deep below the surface of the earth, and that means both branches of Wetherspoon have extraordinary, deeply disturbing vibrations. That is “what to do in the field”. Get threatened with a penknife by someone wearing a Bag for Life.
Okay how much do you charge? 173 pounds a week which I make for 726.60 pounds, but feel free to send me a very boring tweet telling me my math is wrong because contrary to the tone of the previous sentence, I really like the wetherspoons there.
Whenever I see an adult bunk bed in a London studio, my first question is: is this a real bunk bed that you can buy in a bunk bed store or did someone have to make it yourself? And in this case, I really can’t tell. The bunk bed has all the hallmarks of a shop from a landlord (cheap knotwood, smoothed and beveled edges), but the dimensions seem to have been made specifically for this apartment by someone who was so desperate to raise their bed away from their kitchen that they want this Get wood from a bucket and do it yourself. There is, of course, a third possibility that I am not ruling out: someone bought a bunk bed in a bunk bed shop, disassembled the parts, cut them again and built them to fit. I don’t rule that out.
Bunk beds are pretty exciting as a child and then lose their appeal as soon as the parents take out the “play area” under your bed, which is filled with stuffed animals and a beanbag, and replace it with a “desk” to study for your SATs, “and that is it A moment when it is no longer fun to sleep a little high up.
Why London landlords are convinced that this thrill will last into adulthood, I don’t know (I know: They are lizard people, like apprentice Candidates who have never been normal or interact with a normal person), but if someone builds me a bunk bed and expects me to sleep in it at night and sit on a sofa in the shade in the evening, then at least I would ask them to set up so that the bunk bed does not actively block the only window so that I am occasionally exposed to sunlight. That didn’t happen here.
The thing about the concept of a “studio apartment”, of course, is the idea that it’s an area that strips away the pretension and frills of “separate rooms” in order to instead create more space that you have without interior walls. The shades of art and creation cannot be overlooked either: in a successful studio apartment you have space to always have a large screen on the go, while in a corner you have a bed, perhaps incidentally, but still functional.
This is not a studio. It’s so small that I am amazed that anyone has ever walked in and thought, ‘This room would be a good place to put a sink in,’ let alone anything else. Let’s repeat that: this apartment isn’t bad because it’s a bunk bed next to a kitchenette, although that’s canonically bad. It’s bad because The apartment isn’t even big enough for a kitchenette before adding a bunk bed.
If this apartment were a room in my house, I would use it to pile up old shoes that I don’t actually wear that often, to stow the big box that my TV came in, and maybe a bucket with a bunch of pieces of metal to close could I have? find useful someday. Can of paint and what’s left of a 24-pack of full-fat cola I bought on a whim. Old bluetooth speaker that I no longer use but don’t want to throw away. That is roughly the exact limit of the function of this room. But someone wants you to do it live in it, instead of this. And not for free or as a joke! For serious and for money!
Anyway, it’s January 7th. We have already established that all of the intentions you had a week ago have already failed. I know, I know, you wanted to “organize” this year. They really wanted to google what pensions mean and stop getting so much Deliveroo. You wanted to go to the gym and actually go this time. I know, I know. But no matter what you do, the harsh concrete realities of this stupid society that we built around us will still be there. This apartment is proof of that. Stop trying to make a running playlist on Spotify and get the final celebrations off the high shelf you put them on. Nothing changes out here. Why should you force yourself to do this?