Perhaps it’s being confined. Maybe it’s desperation, or the feeling of being hemmed in, knowing that you will always live in a tiny newbuild flat, with no escape, moving to another, and another…and another, forever, and ever. But an entire belief system is emerging, circulated by illicit whispers in new developments; it’s a complex web of fantasies, fairy tales and modern myths, complete with it's own unique demons.
There’s the paranoia. ‘They,’ ‘Them,’ ‘The Government,’ have allegedly installed listening devices into all new flats. While nothing would surprise me coming from those Labour enthusiasts for ID cards, I think the man sharing this information should get some fresh air and smoke less weed, because all ‘They’ will ever hear is the high pitched whine of whingeing tenants.
Then there are stories about the rats. Huge, man eating rats the size of donkeys which devour small children, and chew your feet if you stand still too long. But don’t worry, because we are going to have buzzards living on the roof, to sort this out. That’s the rumour courtesy of yet another newbuild hating, wildlife loving tenant. I have never seen a rat. Rats are far too clever to move into a newbuild. ‘No, the place is definitely stuffed to the rafters with enormous great bloodsucking rats.’ He insisted ‘A man in a pub told me.’
People have some daft ideas. New tenants are touching in their innocence, and embark on an epic quest to locate the now legendary ‘Lock Up In The Car Park.’ The story goes that because the flats were designed without much in the way of cupboards, every flat has a lock up in the basement, to store the stuff you won’t need until you move out, or just to store stuff. Tenants have asked where they collect their key. What a crazy idea.
There’s the building haunted by a dead rent boy, or junkie. There’s the story that ‘… a man was raped in the basement. He’s in a mental hospital now. Don’t park your car alone!’ I think (in fact I know) that the last legend was invented by the caretaker when giving potential residents 'the grand tour', to deter ‘the wrong sort of people’ from moving in.
Another story goes that these flats were only built to last for ten or so years, as the land is earmarked for the new United ground, a swimming pool, or parkland. So there’s no point buying one as they’ll knock it down, but don’t worry as anyone living there from the beginning and paying their rent will have rights to buy a new flat cheaply. Of course, and I believe! The sceptic in me suspects this rumour was started by the buy to let owners.
The scariest rumour is that the flower bed is sited on an old Indian burial/communal plague pit. While I am sceptical, my fear is this: that they moved the grave stones – but: THEY DIDN’T MOVE THE BODIES!!!
It gets to everyone eventually.