Sunday, January 13, 2008

Short term let

Since quitting squatting, I've had to become acquainted with the London renting market, in its least appealing sector, the short-term let. It appears that there are tens of thousands of tiny "studio flats" which are rented out for few weeks or months for ridiculous amounts of money: £300 per week for a soul-less shoebox (with wi-fi!). There are enough people in this city who need a place, have the money and don't know any other option. How can this take place in a city where thousands of houses stand empty? The logic of capitalism may be flawless, but it still doesn't make sense.

The other option, when a short-term place is needed, is subletting a room in a flat where one of the housemates is away.

Mink: Hi is this G? I'm calling about the three-week short term let, can I come and see the room?
G (young, American and just woke up) Yeah, sure. How old are you?
M: 33 (I don't know why I say this. I am 34).
G (put off): Ergh.. What kind of music do you like?
M: Excuse me?
G: What kind of music do you listen to? Our house is like really about music you know.

I try to think. There was a time I used to listen to music, when I had a real home and my own room. I used to listen to Drum and Bass and Gypsie music on my computer while writing my phd thesis. But since April I moved house 10 times, my hard drive died, and music disappeared from my life.

Actually, last night I listened to music. It was the Muppet Show soundtrack, I found it in the kiddie cds in the house we are cat-sitting at the moment. I even replayed three times Fozzie Bear's cover of Simon Smith and his Dancing Bear.

Somehow I have a feeling the Muppet Show will not go down very well.

M: hmmm all kind of music.
G: ok let's see if you know these bands. Black Dagger?
M: No
G: Clarence Dude?
M: No.
G: OK listen... I'll text you later about coming to see the flat
M: But you don't have my mobile number.
G: That's fine. Take care

Annoyed of this band-based discrimination, I start humming the song again:

I may go out tomorrow if I can borrow a coat to wear
Oh, I'd step out in style with my sincere smile and my dancing bear
Outrageous, alarming, courageous, charming
Oh, who would think a boy and bear
Could be well accepted everywhere
It's just amazing how fair people can be


Kruse said...

Grrr! I hate music snobs! Ah, the Muppets - you made me laugh! Personally my Muppet favorite is the opening song from the Muppet's Christmas Carol - "There goes Mr Skinflint, there goes Mr Mean..." Great sounds man.

Niki said...

what an ass, i hope he sees your blog post and feels embarrassed.

mink said...

Well I did notice that they didn't find anyone else, at least for another week (the ad kept appearing on the Gum Tree website).

I have to say though, that although he made me feel old and uncool, I appreciated the fact that sharing a house was for the little snot more than simply covering the rent.