Aside from being sexually harassed at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, I was starting to be harassed by my housemate, Redgate72, in Noughties Fulham Broadway.
A large aspect of him offering me lodging was the fact he wouldn’t have to travel far to score weed- just to my room, in fact.
Unfortunately the large drop in income caused by the ODPM only offering me 27 hours a week meant I could no longer afford to buy weed to sell. It fucking sucked all round.
“But that means I’m going to have to go out and score some,” Redgate72 snapped as he angrily banged down his midi controller keyboard seemingly at random. “It’s your fucking fault my music project isn’t going anywhere.”
“Could you get me an eighth do you think?” I asked.
“Maybe. Maybe not,” he replied as he slammed the front door before striding off to the tube station.
Three or four hours later, he returned.
“Right, I had to look all over Notting Hill to get half an ounce,” he said. “But I promised the girls upstairs a quarter, so here’s your share.”
He tossed me about enough for a small spliff.
“This isn’t an eighth,” I said.
“Look mate, I’ve wasted half my fucking day getting this so that’s all you’re getting,” he said, clearly forgetting that my own trips to score had been via Bath and Bristol.
I sensed that somehow my presence was unwelcome so sloped to my room, lit a very small pipe and considered my options.
London was a shit hole and Fulham was increasingly filling up with Nigels and Fionas braying at each other in the refurbished streets. I would pass the newly-built restaurants in which they sat, supremely confident and solvent and cuntish, on my way to buy a Tesco sandwich meal deal- the only food I could afford.
The corporate world had no use for me. I was severely lacking in useful contacts and had burnt my only bridge in an attempt to enter the television industry by asking one of the BBC’s top producers, moments after she had offered me a job, why there was so much shit on TV these days.
My clubbing friends were spending a season in Ibiza while I was regularly walking home from Victoria to save on the bus fare. To make matters worse, one of my tracks was apparently being played at Circo Loco and the DJ wanted to meet me to discuss putting it out as a white label. I could barely afford Tesco’s value label, let alone an air ticket to the Balearics.
At about eight o’clock, all the weed was gone. I tapped gently on Redgate72’s door. He was entertaining his julie who was, ironically, actually called Julie.
“Yes? What do YOU want?” He asked in a massively contemptuous manner.
“Do you think I could erm get just a pipe’s worth of weed?” I asked.
“No! No you fucking can’t!” He said’ “And don’t knock on my fucking door again!”
The door slammed shut. I stared at it for a while, blinking and stunned.
Later that evening, Redgate72 entered the kitchen where I was making toast.
“Thanks for talking to me like a dog earlier,” I said.
Seizing the wrong end of the stick and running with it like a pissed off pit bull, Redgate72 screamed at me, “Who’s a FUCKING DOG? Who’s a FUCKING DOG? Are you calling me a FUCKING DOG?”
“No, no,” I said. “That’s not what I meant at all.”
“You’re on borrowed time,” Redgate72 said before flouncing off all huffily.
Back in my room, I decided to take the nuclear option.
I had looked from time to time at Dave’s ESL cafe on the internet. I’d been sorely tempted for a while to just think fuck it and leave all this London shit behind.
The jobs page for English language teachers offered endless openings, most of which didn’t come with free flights, accommodation or a desire for someone with zero experience. The only country that gladly offered all these things was the Republic of Korea, aka South Korea.
I knew nothing about the place whatsoever, except that my cheap telly had been made there, but it had to be better than this ever-decreasing circling the drain that London had offered me.
In the event, for a while it was actually a lot worse.
But that is another story and shall be told another time.
After I moved out without telling him, I didn’t think I would ever see or hear from Redgate72 again. In 2010 I found myself living in Bristol in a doomed attempt to return to the UK. He sent me a Facebook friend request and we got chatting.
It turned out that for the whole year I was living in Totterdown, he had been living on the other side of Victoria Park from me.
“Must be fate,” I said when we met up for a long-delayed beer. By then, I had already signed a contract for a job in Vietnam. I was due to head off in a week.
“Fate would have been if I’d got in touch a year ago,” Redgate72 said, sadly. “We really could have collaborated on a project. Music or art or something. I’m truly sorry about being such a massive cunt. I had a lot of shit going on.”
“Well, no worries. Let’s go have a spliff. Fuck it.”