This Studio Apartment In Oxford Is A Huge Aesthetic Mistake

by decwells
This Studio Apartment In Oxford Is A Huge Aesthetic Mistake

What is it? The goal, of course, is to eradicate every embarrassing memory or thought from your brain so that all that’s up there is calm and peace, a rolling green valley filled with neatly trimmed grasses and moss, like the Microsoft XP standard wallpaper—

Where is it? – but only a blunt instrument can take your pain away from you. You come to, cold sweat hot blankets, shocking and alone in the night. You gasp once, twice, three times in the dark. You remember when you were at a party and you confidently said the word “nous” out loud for the first time without really knowing how to pronounce it. You just arranged the letters in your head and figured out a rough logical circuit and just went for it.

What is there to do locally? “Sorry, what’s that mate?” “Hmm?” “What is that you just said?” “What now? It’s kind of a—err. A kind of soft edge, malleable form of intellect, I suppose.” “Yes, no, I know what that means. I mean: say it again.” “Now.” People are laughing now, more than one. You are hot. You got hot. You know this about yourself when you get hot: it’s going to be minutes, maybe 25 full minutes, standing in the garden smoking and shivering, until you don’t get hot. You didn’t get hot, you got hot very quickly. Pray it didn’t wash over your face. “Ro, ro, you have to see this: this bitch says nous as if it were a French derivative. It’s from the Greek, you stupid fuck!”

What is there to do locally? You sit up alone in bed, the darkness swirling around you—

What is there to do locally? “It’s from the Greek, you stupid fuck!”

What is there to do locally? You don’t remember falling back asleep, but you crawl awake in the bluish early morning hours.

Okay, how much do they charge? £800 PCM.

We are in Oxford this week, which is a strange little un-place for me. I went there once years ago, and have a curious absence of memory about it: I have no sense of time, or place, or where I slept or what I did, as if I had entered a strange forgettable dream and only really starting to make sense. of myself again when I was on the Oxford Tube back to Victoria. Does Oxford even exist, anyone know? Or is it one of those collective hallucinations that we all just let wash over us, like Stephen Mulhern being considered charming enough to be famous? Why do— really fast, without looking, what is the boat race about? Is Oxford real?

A single bed with brick wallpaper
Bright green kitchen set with brick wallpaper

I’m sure hundreds of 33-year-olds who went to Oxford will get in touch to let me know that yes, Oxford is real, and they know because they went there. I remember working full time at VICE and this happened often. “Oh, Oxford? Did someone here say ‘Oxford’?”. Just all the time, just constantly. Some guy from sales no one has ever met came down two flights of stairs to say it. It’s as if he sensed the word through brick. “I just thought I heard someone say ‘Oxford’. It’s just that I went there— yuh, did you too? Yes yes yes yes Which college? Maggie? I was in Trin!” Anyway, this room is where he slept when he studied there.

The thing about this studio – which the listing very generously described as a “detached 130 square meter small studio annex” – is that it unlocked a number of deep, well-buried memories in me: the claustrophobic brick-effect wallpaper , the all green. kitchen set, the green spoons and green cups. We’ve all made aesthetic mistakes in our lives: outfits, haircuts, tattoos. I think they are often attached to the first freedoms you ever have: the first time you have enough money to buy your own clothes instead of shopping with your parents, the first time you can do your own hair choose without complying with school rules about cutting and colouring, those first few exciting years of adulthood where you have ‘a drawing friend’ and £80 and decide to make a mistake that will scar your thigh for the rest of your natural life will haunt

In general, our generation couldn’t make interior design mistakes because we couldn’t make interior design choices: for example, very few of us were ever allowed to paint a bedroom. But when you do see the couple who grab one toe on the ladder and immediately start a separate Instagram page for their home renovation, you often see some very bold interior design decisions being made simply because it’s the first time is what they could make them in their life. A dark pink ceiling next to a petrol green bedroom wall is the ‘two nose muscles in one day’ of buying a starter home.

A single bed and brick effect wallpaper

The first and last time I made an interior design aesthetic decision on my own was during that sacred passing-of-the-stick pre-college trip to IKEA everyone seems to go on with their mother. You did it, right? You went to IKEA with your mom and bought, like, plates and a pan and a really ill-conceived rug, and she got weirdly emotional at the checkout counter while every other 17-year-old in the area was also lining up to paid, full-sized ironing boards (“You’ll definitely need these”) sticking out of their carts, strings of fairy lights, CD towers? You experienced it, yes? You heard the phrase “The Times says you can cook anything in a wok” many hundreds of times that day, didn’t you? That’s why you spent the first year heating supermarket brand baked beans in an unsealed wok, isn’t it? Because of this day.

Screenshot 2022-10-27 at 16.57.44.png

Anyway: everything I bought was lime green. Plates, cups, cutlery. Full size ironing board. Mat. wastebasket Shower caddy. Lime green, lime green, lime green. The goal, of course, is to eradicate every embarrassing memory or thought from your brain so that all that is above is calmness and peace—

I can’t imagine living in this room. We have to confront the brick-effect wallpaper, of course, because it confronts us immediately: it’s a very, very oppressive pattern to be repeated over and over again in such a small space. There is no wardrobe, just a single bed, so the only clothes you can viably store in this property are ‘enough to fill the two drawers under your bed and nothing else’. The sleeping area in the property (in houses and flats with separate spaces divided by doors, this is known as a ‘bedroom’) is just in the exact same space as the small kitchens, which are also brick effect but also green .

No washing machine, don’t be stupid. And a note about the door too: I recently climbed up and down a double-decker bus with a rucksack on and two carry-on bags, and it was a rather inelegant and rather difficult operation, banging against guard rails, well in crunching my pockets. as I spin through a narrow space, making strange noises, everyone looks at me, sees me. That’s what happens every time you walk through the front door to this apartment, without fail. If you want to use your body to carry a bag through this door and into the kitchen, you’re in for a bad time.

The small apartment with a two-burner heating element in a kitchenette and a tiny bathroom and a bed in the same room as literally everything and no wardrobe and also the bed is a single bed costs £800, which is a wild amount is to pay per month for this (despite the fact that the bills are included), and is in Oxford, which does not even exist. There have been many reports of ‘the rental market going crazy right now’ – a perfect storm of a cost of living crisis affecting mortgages but never house prices, the housing legacy of COVID, the perpetual atrocity of landlords and estate agents and the bizarre fact that investment properties are a protected class for some reason – and I think an £800 kitchen in Oxford is pretty good evidence of that. Stop making a Pinterest board of cute ideas for when you have the opportunity to paint your first bedroom. You may be waiting a long, long, long time.


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