We're delighted to present to the market this compact 1 bedroom property. Sleeps 4. Ideal for two couples, or 4 single people looking for companionship. Cosy and self-contained. Newly refurbished kitchen/bathroom proudly boasts kettle and microwave. Ample freezer space in form of box on windowsill (winter only). Cosy yet well ventilated living room leads out onto the roof via (permanently) open window for spectacular views of the city. Currently unfurnished so a blank canvas. Huge potential. Easy access to the city in just under an hour via bus in next borough. Indifferent millionaire landlords live conveniently just downstairs - any problems just bang on the walls. Asking rent does not include; letting fees, admin fees, reference fees, top up fees, extortion fees, more fees, London fees, poor fees, check-in fees, check-out fees, pets disclaimer fees/additional pet deposit. Everything (including happiness) non-refundable. Our guarantee: if you're not happy, it's nothing to do with us. Early viewing highly recommended. This hole will get snapped up.
The London housing market is desperately adorned with beamingly optimistic euphemisms inspired, surely, by nothing less than the altruistic motive of shielding us from the bare cold brutal facts; to spare us the anguish and horror of the reality; a landscape of sub-par homes, competition and desperation. It wouldn’t do anyone any good, neither the estate agent nor prospective tenants pride, to announce “splendid shithole newly arrived on the market boasting roof and running water. Take it before someone else does” – though some properties in London don’t amount to much more.
To search for houses in London is to sign up to war. To fight tooth and nail, ignoring such trivial considerations as to whether you’re actually interested, just to have a chance of snapping somewhere up before someone else beats you to the punch. And the estate agents know it, it’s the nature of the market we find ourselves in. Just as job ads get away with not mentioning how much it actually pays, as if it’s of no importance, because they know people will take the job without even needing to know, so the estate agents can practically bully you into taking what’s available, as if you have no higher dream or aspiration.
“Gorgeous little property”, they’ll say. “So endearingly small and self-contained”. “So conveniently located just above this chicken shop. You like chicken don’t you? I love chicken.”
“Yeah, DO you? So you’d live here would you? It’s a box with a sink. And where’s the bathroom anyway, or am I supposed to wash, shit and cook in the same place?”
There’s almost no point even looking at properties online as they seem to ubiquitously employ the tactic that I recently heard named ‘the old bait and switch’. A property that was already taken off the market weeks ago is repeatedly re-advertised just to hook people in. They string you along, refusing to make clear whether the place is still on the market or not while they can garner as many details as they can and try to fob you off with an entirely different rat hole they’ve been unable to shift.
It boasts this. It boasts that. I can promise that after you’ve moved in you’re not going to be boasting to anyone.
“What’s wrong with it? Don’t you want somewhere to live?”
And the way estate agents talk as if they’re really gunning for you, providing a tailor made service just perfect for your needs. They’re going to learn all your details by heart, familiarise themselves with your wants and desires, intimately understand your innermost hopes and scour the market like Samaritans for your dream home.
“Can I take your name please, sir?”
“Yeah it’s Sam.”
“Not a problem, sir. Not a problem”.
I know it’s not a problem! It’s my name. As if I somehow need you and your company to provide validation of my existence.
And the photos for these properties are terrible, exhibiting the same arrogant belief that anyone will jump at the chance to rent a place no matter what it looks like. Sometimes the only photo attached to an ad is a wonky shot of a front door, as if simply the sight of a letter box might make your heart leap just at the prospect of a slither of fresh air creeping its way in. Sometimes you get 3 shots of the toilet from different angles and nothing else, or a shot of a kitchen sink stacked high with plates, or just a wall, with nothing remotely interesting on it, just a wall.
The photos of the inside of the property are taken on extreme wide angle lenses making the place look palatial, until you step in and realise that the TV would actually be about a foot in front of the sofa. You can imagine the estate agent pressed up as far as they can go into the corner, up on tip toes, trying to aggrandise the apartment for every spare centimetre it’s got.
The shots they use are so wide they verge on fish eye, which is ironic given the fact that the new tenants would be, to borrow the American idiom, living in a goldfish bowl. Particularly if you were sharing a ‘cosy self-contained one bedroom flat for 4 people.’
Still, it’s probably worth a look. We wouldn’t want to miss our chance. So long as we can find another couple to share the rent.
This article in the Independent recently highlights the point nicely: http://www.independent.co.uk/
Have you ever noticed how self-important this city’s inhabitants are. Their worldview is so London-centric that for many people London = England. There is nothing else to it.
When the man on the telly talks about the House of Commons, he’s only talking about that building just across the river. When he talks about A-list celebrities gracing our shores from half-way across the world, it’s just there – in Leicester Square – not an obscure and abstract location somewhere else in the country. When he talks about protests and riots you can hear them from your office window – not on the radio. There’s such an air of self-importance that if someone were to point out that last year’s riots actually occurred right across the country, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear a city-type remark “yeah, well we started it”.
With all that going on on their doorstep it’s not surprising that they feel like the rest of the country follows their lead.
But sometimes, alright a lot of the time, some of this city’s inhabitants need a serious whack around the face. Stop feeling so self-important, and unique, and trendy – you pretentious gaggle of arse-trumpets.
When I read this in, wait a minute, what shitty glossy free magazine was it – well I can’t find it now, and anyway I’m digressing – when I saw this, it made me so bloody annoyed I… well I… went on about it to everyone around me for the rest of the day.
A slashie?!! What a load of crap.
There are people all over the country working two, three or even more jobs, just to bring in some extra money. There are single mums, husbands, brothers, and teenagers all across the country, walking through shit weather to get from one job to another; cleaning offices, toilets, working in shops, picking up rubbish – all to raise that extra bit of money because they don’t earn enough from the first.
It’s not a new and interesting social trend which highlights something about our changing social habits. A perspicacious epiphany giving insight into modern patterns of work and behaviour. It’s self-aggrandising pat-on-the-back crap, that’s peddled by this magazine and others like it to construct an image of themselves and their readers as young, and trendy, and thrusting – dynamic and daring – living modern lives filled with high-octane nights out, crazy sleeping patterns, paninis, flat whites and wasabi peas. It’s the epitome of the modern boast of being “busy”.
Sheila in Barnsley – you know Sheila – the one who works at Gregg’s in the day but moonlights as a cleaner/barmaid/factory worker in the evening – she’s not dynamic. She’s not trendy. She’s a bloody single mum with a penchant for pasties. Offer Sheila a panini and some wasabi peas and she’ll tell you to go fuck yourself.
The realisation that some people have two jobs is not an astounding new find published by esteemed sociologists – but a vacuous and meaningless load of pap that’s made the front page because this keen editor is proud at having coined a new term.
Piss off London. Piss off ES magazine.