Life of luxury fell flat

EDITOR'S PERSPECTIVE: My new life of luxury fell a bit flatEDITOR'S PERSPECTIVE: My new life of luxury fell a bit flat
EDITOR'S PERSPECTIVE: My new life of luxury fell a bit flat
THE advert had promised everything and I signed on the dotted line for a new life of wine, women and song.

A few days later I had settled into my luxury flat which I had been assured was “town centre based, appointed to an extremely high standard, within walking distance of bars, restaurants and other amenities and providing easy access to motorways”.

What more could I possibly want?

Well, a door that wasn’t a good inch short of its frame, a wardrobe that didn’t fall over every time you entered the one bedroom, some storage, a washing machine that worked and an outside area that wasn’t over-run by rats who had made their homes next to the passing railway line would be a start.

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Oh, and the wine, women and song… well, all that was provided by the flat being conveniently located just behind a very noisy pub which stayed open into the early hours and was frequented by those operating in the “red light tolerance zone” into which it transpired I had just moved.

On the plus side, apart from the highly appointed bit, the rest of the description was accurate enough and it was just a two-minute walk to work, which meant I didn’t have to get up particularly early.

I genuinely can’t think of any other good points. It was £450 a month to rent, plus council tax and bills, and this was 20 years ago.

It proved to be quite an expensive move as if I had been away I would parkoutside to unload the car and immediately be asked for money or if I “wanted to do business”. I suppose it did look suspicious pulling over in that street, but it was where I lived.

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There were drug dealers (pimps) to contend with and I was often approached, by erm, investors in the late night economy who would ask if I had change for a 20. Turned out they meant £20, not 20 pence.

In the daytime, when I was at work, I assume it wasn’t bad. The cobbled street outside was nice, but the rest of it, you could say, was ripe for purchase by the sort of entrepreneur who takes advantage of poverty and misery to provide a “makeover” in the guise of “gentrification”.

As dusk fell though, like some cliched film, out came the nightcrawlers.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to leave work and head for the gym, maybe followed by a quick beer and, on returning home, cut through an alleyway by the pub. I say it wasn’t uncommon, that little short cut was soon rejected as one night when I walked through a “couple” were what I could describe as “handing over the goods” that one of them had purchased.

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Often, in the morning, the evidence of night-time activity was there to see; cigarettes and condoms beneath the over-flowing drain that dripped god-knows what on to the concrete.

I wonder what happened to the people who existed in that little patch of squalor that wrapped itself around those flats. The area is no longer a “tolerance zone”, but does that mean the “problem” was just moved on elsewhere or those whose activities were deemed to be “intolerable” were given help to escape whatever trap had put them there and the flats now delivered the promised luxury?

I think I know the answer.

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