New digs

30May10

Well that is me moved into my new (temporary) digs. Just beyond two months of living here. I have to say, it is less than desirable. It is the kind of place that even psychotic crack addicts would think twice about in their more sober moments. It has potential to be better than it is but as it is usually the term-time residence for first year undergraduates aged under 20 years it is an absolute shit hole. I mean absolute. This is the ur-shit hole all actually existing shit-holes are mere simulacras of. This is the kind of place that typhoid old hack writers would come to feel they were salt of the earth, true lumpen-proletariat visionaries. Its the kind of place you could imagine Raskolnikov plotting to kill Sebastian Dangerfield. And what is worse, what is the truest, surest hell of it; I can’t smoke. My window and the kitchen windows all open onto the warden’s house. Yes, folks; there is a warden, two actually. This is a complex rather than a flat. Properly Foucaultian in its design.

I got here to discover my key didn’t open the door. As the wardens are not here today (it is the day the term-time residence have to leave) I had to get the security office’s phone number from one of the rapidly escaping former inmates. A wait in the rain ensues, my nursing placement mentor and I sat in the car. When someone with the correct set of keys arrives we go in. First we discover the kitchen. Pictures of naked women plastering the walls, the abandoned debris of those who have left strewn everywhere: a pipe, a football, mounds of unwashed dishes gone all bacterial civilisations, shards of kicked in something or other across the floor (it later turns out to be the freezer). And the smell. The smell clings to everything to such an extent that I suspect it was here first, that the smell is the real of this building and the material composition came later. The stink is one of damp and mould. Its a crypt smell. The air is not just stale it is positively necrotic. The toilet floor is strewn with smashed beer bottle glass, the hallway with organic and nonorganic rubbish. I do into my room.

It has not been cleaned. It is still coated in the skin flakes of whoever lived here before me. I actually know some of the people who lived here before me from the university bar. They were not the most hygiene conscious people I have ever met. The over head light fitting is busted up so that you can ram a light bulb in there but it will just fall back out again. The floor is awash with what looks like sawdust. There are interruption in the smooth consistency of the walls; evidence of drunken punching. It is so small I can traverse it in four paces. Like everywhere else it fucking stinks. The noxious stench of adolescent abandon. Some might say its alive (it certainly is) but its more or less a fucking flop house. And I’m not particularly romantic about these kinds of things. I can feel might chest getting tight. Their is a cloying humidity that is unseasonal for North East Scotland, especially on a day where you need a coat to go outside.

Two consolations: I am not homeless, this I am incredibly thankful for. It would have meant leaving Dundee and returning to London, essentially wasting the last year and being thrown back into unemployment. Secondly, it appears I am alone here. At least in this part of the building. This may not be the case, it is hard to say, but I have not seen or heard anyone else in the building. Of course they may be away for the weekend or out in the city centre but it does appear as if I am the only person in this flat, which is the entire ground floor storey of this building. It may be that it gets intensely lonely as I’m so far now from the city centre. It may be that I find comfort in the solitude. Time will tell. And as I say, there is only two or three months of that to spend here.

Still, I can’t smoke.

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4 Responses to “New digs”

  1. poor you…you’ll make it work for you 🙂

    • 2 dronemodule

      Well, as you know I shifted my attitude quite quickly after cleaning the place out. Still more work to be done but I am now very much attracted to the idea of being the sole resident of a shared housing complex. Its got a very Ballardian, last man in the high rise feel to it. I’ve decided to enjoy the solitude. But I’m certain more people will come and it’ll all be ruined.

  2. ssssh if they hear you, they might come……


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