Penthouse flat in Stockwell. Superb views. £200 a wk. So said the ad. Now given a choice, I'd rather not return to Stockwell. It's shit. The people, generally, are shit. The chicken shops are shit. Gangs, hustlers, pimps, prostitutes, dealers, teenage mums, it's too much. But a penthouse, at that price, I was curious.
I knew the location. I'd be close to my aunt and one of my best mates. That's two guaranteed meals a week, too good an opportunity to pass up. I liked the idea of standing on my balcony, overlooking the locale and ringing the police every time I witnessed a robbery, knowing full well of course that the police won't turn up.
When did stepping into urine-stained lifts with teenage mums and tracksuited locals with bull terriers become a penthouse?
Locals would hear I'm back from my 11-year exile. They'd assume this erstwhile pillar of the community had returned to help. That a fortune made in hair grooming products and selling late 80s porn mags on eBay would be invested in a fucked up community.
Donations would be made to the chicken shops, youth clubs and betting shops that now sully my old stomping ground. That I'd fund a huge knife arch, rivalling the Wembley arch in size, to be built over Stockwell. The arch's alarm would be set off every ten seconds. I'd be expected to bankroll English classes for London born kids who can no longer speak their own language.
So imagine my disappointment when the penthouse turned out to be a tower block next to my aunt's block. When did stepping into urine-stained lifts with teenage mums and tracksuited locals with bull terriers become a penthouse?
How is a tower block a penthouse? When did that happen? When did pressing '18' on a blood stained panel on a lift constitute a penthouse?
Is that not a tower block, or am I wrong? When did that happen?
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