Even though I lived there too we always referred to it as Sam's house, or Sam's flat or Sam's place.
EVERYBODY knew Sam's place.
I've forgotten how many years he has lived there, his mum owns the place, amongst others. I eventually moved out after two and half years but that makes for another story.
The row of flats are set back from the St Paul's Road between Highbury/ Islington and Angel underground stations. You walk up the steps to where the shared balcony with the adjoining flats is and then through the wooden gate onto our private courtyard.
To the left of the front door are two recycling boxes overflowing with wine and beer bottles of every coloured glass and branded labels as you can possibly find within a five mile radius. To the normal household this would appear to be the consumables of at least a year's worth of booze but at this flat we manage to fill the recycling boxes every couple of weeks, and in less than that if someone gets really excited.
So on this particular day I let myself in with my key, the black iron gate that protects the front door is unlocked so I know that somebody is home. Again in the normal household, where all the residents have full time jobs you would expect everyone to be at work at this time of day.
But not at this flat.
I go in and I'm met with the usual smell of alcohol and that recycled aroma of alcohol that has travelled through the stomach and breathed back out again that flows through every room. It's pretty quiet which is unusual.
The newly fitted kitchen with its black granite surfaces is to the right, before the stairs, and as usual it is cold and messy with unwashed dishes, empty beer cans, over flowing ashtrays and various fancy dress garments and old ladies hats.
The top layer of the chicken outfit is half draped over a kitchen chair but mostly hanging onto and touching the dusty floor. The familiar purple wizard’s cape has been screwed up and discarded in one corner as if flung off by its previous wearer and forgotten about. I also notice that my orange plastic comedy sized sunglasses that came from a festival in Amsterdam have been taken from my bedroom and have joined the clutter in the kitchen, oh and there's a pink straw hat, the kind that you might see on Mrs Marple. I have no idea where that has come from.
I go up the stairs already imagining what chaos is going to greet me. All the main rooms are there, the sitting room, the bathroom and three bedrooms. The overall décor of the flat is modern, clean off-white coloured walls, brown leather furnishings and unfortunately an unforgiving beige plush carpet inevitably stained with the red and brown and whatever coloured alcohol has been spilled on it.
The place is dead quiet which, like I said is unusual because we never sleep at the same time here....
..…the same as we don't all seem to go to work every day as we should either.
Especially Sam who is also fondly known to his friends as 'Lord Faffington' and is often known to be ''working from home''. Yes working from home in inverted commas indeed. I pass the sitting room, where most of the hedonism of this little London flat takes place and without looking I already know it is in the same state of disarray as the kitchen with the addition of cds everywhere, cd cases covered in the familiar white dust and rolled up notes or pieces of magazines. People also like to flamboyantly jump around and throw things in the sitting room so the sofa cushions are probably strewn about the place and somebody I’ve never met before will be asleep on the floor.
I already know this and I haven't even been in there yet.
I head for the bathroom first which is located at the furthest point from the landing and is on the left to Sam's bedroom. Now when I first moved into this flat Sam hid his promiscuity from me, probably out of politeness, or maybe even in an attempt to hide his intentions! Either way a man's promiscuity isn't something one can keep hidden for very long! That would be like asking a child to pretend they don't like sweets and to then continue pretending to dislike sweets even when in the presence of brand new sweets!
So I'm heading for the bathroom but the door is locked, indicating that it is in use, when a girl I have never seen before comes out of Sam's bedroom, wearing very little and a guitar. This isn't all that unusual and my other flatmate and I are completely used to complete strangers coming out of rooms in the flat, but Sam now has a girlfriend...a girl he really likes, loves even, and whom he has been with for a little while now.
'oh hello' she says, 'I'm just leaving'... ooh ok.
So this doesn’t look good, bearing in mind we all know Sam’s missus. Oh but of course…on closer inspection the girlfriend is there also, all tucked up under the duvet all naked with a sheepish look on her face… looks like my beloved flatty and his girlfriend have found themselves a new hobby!
A hobby worth bunking work for!