I moved to Dovecot Towers during a housing panic. It’s far from perfect here and frequently a nightmare. If I was to move, it would be to a similar development with the same troubles, albeit in another part of town. I’d have to pack and find somewhere else, enduring the whole reference/deposit dance. The flat itself would more than likely be identical. And so, trying to be rational and scientific, I have written a list of pros and cons to weight up what I should do. I now have graphs, pie charts, venn diagrams and very white knuckles.
Pros: being near the city. Bars are within lurching distance, and visitors can pop round, casually. It’s like being in Austin Powers, so trendy, hip and happening is it.
Con: being near the city. No community, no neighbourhood, drunken scallies and yobbish, wealthy ‘young professionals’ who vomit on the pavement as they pass my home. Imagining you are being followed home by a ranting drunk to realise it’s actually your neighbour (who’s ranting and drunk).
Pro: being a brownfield development. Dovecot Towers uses derelict waste land instead of paving over rare orchids. Sited on demolished Georgian slums, I am reasonably certain that no dormice were relocated to satisfy my housing needs.
Con: being a brownfield development. Stretched out before me is a magnificent, cascading vista of elegant and majestic building sites, with cranes, obscured by hazy cement dust.
Pro: I never see my neighbours. I wouldn’t enjoy that village mentality, where you can’t buy haemorrhoid cream without everyone knowing, then having nodding acquaintances enquiring after your piles.
Con: I never see my neighbours. If I should die, pigeons could chew the face off my rotting corpse to feed their young, and even then, nobody would know.
Pro: Everything is so close. I don’t need car, and I can walk everywhere, no queues for taxis, or surly bus drivers, no saving change for the ticket machine, or investing in season tickets.
Con: I am always soaking wet, and my shoes are threadbare. I visit suburban friends with a tent and Kendall Mint Cake, just in case (am I over-cautious?) And if I did own a car, there’d be nowhere to park it.
Pro: I don’t have to bother with fitting out my home, as most white goods, a shower etc are already provided.
Cons: The goods provided are second rate, and break down if I have so much as one negative thought about the brand.
Pro: Shops are close by. Luxury goods are within shooting range of my debit card. I can find designer clothes, fashionable accessories, and there’s that chi-chi Farmers Market.
Cons: Balenciaga is within easy reach, but value beans elude me.
Should I put my life in a tailspin? All that turmoil, for more of the same? Life in the city is an acquired taste, but one I have acquired. I can’t imagine living in the suburbs: all that commuting, no Café Nero etc. So here I am, choosing between the rock and the hard place, the frying pan and the fire.