Metro 127

Richard Herring: Revenge is mine – with a toilet brush

Wednesday 13 Aug 2014 
The Edinburgh Fringe is an expensive proposition for performer and punter alike. You wouldn’t believe how much money I’m paying for a small, studenty flat. Go on, guess a ridiculously huge amount. Now double it. No, it’s more than that.
You can’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 it’s still galling to be left a note from the owner saying we won’t be able to contact him in August as his phone doesn’t work abroad. How can someone who lives in a horrible flat like this afford a month’s foreign holiday? Oh yeah, right.
I wouldn’t mind so much if the flats were properly equipped but I’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 I’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. I’m tempted, as an act of sarcasm, to pay someone £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: ‘Now your flat is worth what you’re charging for it.’ 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 – just use the money I would have lost on transforming my lodgings. I would put in a boiler that wasn’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. They’d be furious about what I’d done but imagine trying to go to the police about that. ‘They’ve replaced my shoddy old boiler with a brand new one that you don’t have to manually turn on every time you want hot water!’
‘Isn’t that a good thing, sir?’
‘Well, I mean, it’s going to make my life a lot more convenient, but they did it without my permission. And they’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.’
‘I’m having a problem seeing your issue with this. They seem to have added thousands of pounds to the value of your property.’‘But I think they’ve done it in a sarcastic way. They’re mocking me and my greed. I want them arrested for criminal home improvement.’
I’ve spent too much putting on my play to be able to do it this year, so this flat’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. It’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 £3. Are you an animal?
Also, you didn’t lock your cupboard properly and I’ve been wearing your pants all month. Nice tan.