Richard Herring: Revenge is mine â€“ with a toilet brush
Wednesday 13 Aug 2014
The Edinburgh Fringe is an expensive proposition for performer and punter alike. You wouldnâ€™t believe how much money Iâ€™m paying for a small, studenty flat. Go on, guess a ridiculously huge amount. Now double it. No, itâ€™s more than that.
You canâ€™t blame the people of Edinburgh for trying to profit from this huge cavalcade of idiots and literal clowns who descend on their city for a month. But itâ€™s still galling to be left a note from the owner saying we wonâ€™t be able to contact him in August as his phone doesnâ€™t work abroad. How can someone who lives in a horrible flat like this afford a monthâ€™s foreign holiday? Oh yeah, right.
I wouldnâ€™t mind so much if the flats were properly equipped but Iâ€™ve already had to buy the owner quite a few essential items, including chopping boards (his have dubious orange stains), spare keys and a toilet brush. It feels a bit like Iâ€™ve been politely mugged but, as a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ, I believe that if a man steals my cloak I should give him my coat as well. Iâ€™m tempted, as an act of sarcasm, to pay someone Â£20,000 to give the place a makeover. Imagine how bamboozled the owner would be on their return.
Maybe I would leave a note saying: â€˜Now your flat is worth what youâ€™re charging for it.â€™ Surely such an act of satire would make him consider his evil ways and dedicate the rest of his life to allowing Fringe performers to stay in his apartment for a reasonable rent?
I might not even put on a show next year â€“ just use the money I would have lost on transforming my lodgings. I would put in a boiler that wasnâ€™t made in the 19th century, redecorate, knock a couple of rooms together. And then leave the place pristine and imagine the confused face of the owner as they return. Theyâ€™d be furious about what Iâ€™d done but imagine trying to go to the police about that. â€˜Theyâ€™ve replaced my shoddy old boiler with a brand new one that you donâ€™t have to manually turn on every time you want hot water!â€™
â€˜Isnâ€™t that a good thing, sir?â€™
â€˜Well, I mean, itâ€™s going to make my life a lot more convenient, but they did it without my permission. And theyâ€™ve knocked my store cupboard and tiny kitchen into one space, put in a cooker from this century and added top-of-the-range units and a dishwasher.â€™
â€˜Iâ€™m having a problem seeing your issue with this. They seem to have added thousands of pounds to the value of your property.â€™â€˜But I think theyâ€™ve done it in a sarcastic way. Theyâ€™re mocking me and my greed. I want them arrested for criminal home improvement.â€™
Iâ€™ve spent too much putting on my play to be able to do it this year, so this flatâ€™s owner will have to make do with new unstained chopping boards, an extension plug for his bedroom and a toilet brush. Though leaving him a toilet brush is probably the best satire of him and his life I could possibly construct. Itâ€™s a tiny gesture but it makes a massive statement about him. How were you managing without a toilet brush? What kind of person are you? They only cost Â£3. Are you an animal?
Also, you didnâ€™t lock your cupboard properly and Iâ€™ve been wearing your pants all month. Nice tan.