58 Sunlight Street

Sunday, January 31, 2016 • Liverpool Arts Society

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I love Liverpool. I love the city, I love the people and I love the radio tower; because whenever I took a photo of the sunset out of my student accommodation it would be there, smiling back at me. I say ‘took’, because replacing that view now, is a big pylon.

I was brought up in a place in the North East called Durham. An old miner’s town, it has now become what we call towns vs gowns. Which for those of you who don’t know, essentially means; if you’re not a local, you’re a dickhead. I once happened upon a guide for Durham University students about the local area and pubs. Under the heading of one of the local jaunts ‘The Fighting Cocks’, they wrote, ‘DO NOT ENTER under any circumstances – strictly locals.’ Like out of some old western.

So when I graduated and my student accommodation kicked me out, I needed somewhere to live or I would be sipping pints in The Fighting Cocks for the rest of my adult life. Myself and my fella (for data protection reasons we’ll call him Jim Royle) started looking. Now at this point I had no job and few prospects, so admittedly we weren’t expecting much.

But then we got a viewing for a house on Sunlight Street. Doesn’t that sound lovely – Sunlight Street? And despite being the cheapest one we had seen so far, it was a proper little house, not some dingy studio. So, as I’m trying to work out how you get into the back yard through the thick black bars that cover the back windows and door (yes, I know, warning sign), there’s a shout from the front room. As Jim and the letting agent were stood talking about what the area was like, a drunken man had wandered up to the house over the road, can in hand, and started slurring abuse and banging on our new neighbour’s window. Eventually, two men came out and beat the shit out of him, ending with the can man running off, only to return ten minutes later to retrieve his beloved can. Now to some people this might have been enough to put them off ever living there.

But no, we moved in, unaware that our problems had just begun.

First, there was the faulty front door which wasn’t helped when you had the over the road neighbours (all five houses) with blacked out windows knocking on in the middle of the night thinking you belong to whatever it is they have going on inside those houses and asking you if you got the text about the thing Dave wanted. Might be worth mentioning here that there was a cat on that street when we first moved in and I haven’t seen that in a while either. Then there was the faulty back door which wasn’t as bad because, of course, we had all of those metal gates to lock us in. There was the leak in the spare bedroom that somehow managed to penetrate a lightbulb on its way to the carpet almost causing an electrical fire – good job we had the emergency number to call on a Sunday night – but oh wait, of course it’s unrecognisable because they can’t make it easy for us not to die. Then some fellas come to fix the leaky roof, but forget to tell us they’re coming, so Jim wakes up in the middle of the day after a night shift to a couple of scallys on a ladder up to the bedroom window.

THEN there were the noises in the bathroom ceiling, scratching and rustling and the rise of the mould which managed to find its way on to every piece of new furniture and clothing. Followed by the electrics in the bathroom cutting, meaning dark baths (but not dark showers because it didn’t even have a shower so we used a jug). Then there was the realisation that the scratching noises and the end of the bathroom light may be linked when the smell began to consume the bathroom. Not to fear, the man came out to fix it and left asbestos hanging from our open , dark bathroom ceiling for a couple of weeks before filling it up again but forgetting that nobody actually removed the ‘presumably now dead after biting electrical wires’ rat.

A few weeks later and the first maggot appears. It’s only one – oh wait there’s another one, now you see, the first one, the first one has a friend. So really, it was a happy ending. That was until I found Jim’s very professional ‘Log of incidents’, which began shortly after officially moving in, described the following incident;

Rat Situation!

Date: Tuesday 17th Nov 2015

Name: Environmental Health

Arrived: 8:10am

Name: Council/Rat man

-Rude

-Patronising

-Wiped his shoes a little then walked through with shit on shoe (probably)…

HE HAD SHIT ON HIS SHOE? – (probably) – I mean as if to just rub it in.

So my advice to you all when looking for post-graduate cheap accommodation is, well I don’t have any because clearly I’m not very good at it.

Thanks for Listening,

Kity Cooper

The Occupier of 58 Sunlight Street