This column first appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post.
This column has become hard to write.
Not because world events have become stale. Quite the opposite, clearly. And not because I’ve been busy moving house and have been without WIFI for the last fortnight. That has been a predictably torrid time, though – in the absence of Netflix and iPlayer, I had to watch live television. You know you can’t choose what’s on? The broadcaster employs somebody to pick what goes out and in what order – a scheduler – and they have awful taste. Have you seen The One Show? And don’t get me started on Tipping Point.
Although my struggles are related to my recent house purchase, it’s not the process of moving that lead to me submitting this column late. It is that, in the process of saving up for the deposit, I have become cripplingly dull.
I have a page of a newspaper to fill and nothing to say for myself.
When articles and news pieces talk about the perils of getting onto the property ladder – unaffordable house prices, the sky-high rental costs, the long hours for low wages, the excoriate price of the eggs benedict that millennials steadfastly refuse to give up – they make no mention of the erosion of your social life. How you must exile yourself from evenings out, just in case that £6 taxi fare leaves you short of the £30,000 you need by the end of the year. I’ve seen hardly any of this year’s major films, so panicked am I that I’ll fall a bucket of popcorn short of what I need for stamp duty. And, on the rare occasion I have been out for dinner in the last twelve months, I have missed the bulk of the conversation for figuring out how many breadsticks I can order without dipping into the solicitor’s fees.
In fact, the vast majority of my social interaction has been with Phillip Scofield, Lorraine Kelly and the overly enthusiastic bloke from Homes Under the Hammer. Never trust anybody who becomes that animated about a loose-fitting drain pipe.
I know what you’re thinking. Darryl, you have bought the house now. You are in. The fees have been paid. Surely this is your moment for reconnecting with friends and having new experiences – experiences you can then write about in your wonderful column that we so enjoy.
Firstly, thank you. Secondly, you are wrong.
Besides the fact that most of my friends have flatly forgotten I exist, I still can’t drag myself from social obscurity because the decimation of your bank account doesn’t stop at acquiring the bricks and mortar – you also to shell out a small fortune to buy things to fill it.
The most adventurous outing of recent times came in the form of a trip to IKEA. Once I’d navigated my way through the great unknown of its floor plan, I was almost knocked off my feet by the cost of a cabinet. How can shelving be so expensive? It’s just something I’m using to put things on. Has nobody thought to question the fact that the piece of the wood we’re using to put things on is often of more value than what we’re putting on it? And chairs. Don’t get me started on chairs. Hundreds of pounds for a place to rest my bum. Are we all going to carry on as if this isn’t happening?
And so, in what is the final edition of the Lancashire Evening Post for 2018, the only piece of meaningful insight or whimsical social commentary I have to offer in my final column of the year is this: Homes Under the Hammer should be scheduled later in the day, to avoid a clash with This Morning.
And that may be the single most boring thing to have ever graced the pages of this iconic newspaper. In truth, it’s hard to justify the cost of printing it. I expect to be sacked as a columnist before lunchtime.
So, allow me to make this plea. It’s a plea to the legislators, the solicitors, the surveyors and builders. Make houses more affordable. Not just because you are denying a generation the right to own a home – but because you’re also turning us into tedious bores.December 31, 2018 | No Comments