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Fear of a Flat-Packed Planet

I resisted. I wailed, I screamed, I gnashed my teeth (damn those dental bills) but in the end, it was knowledge that was the dangerous thing. There are some things that, once you understand them, have inescapable consequences - like the negative head problem. Once you know what a negative head problem is and you understand that you've got one; once you understand that your landlord can hardly stop laughing and counting his money long enough to tell you that he won't fix it. Well then there really is no escape. For those of you that care, a negative head problem is... Oh forget it. Nobody cares. Nobody cares and it doesn't matter. It would matter to you if you had to limbo dance to get a hot shower, but all you really need to know is that it was this particular pea that broke the camels back.

Add to that the painful knowledge of how much you're paying in rent and, well, once you've understood that, it's only a matter of time before - boomph! Something breaks, the script writes itself for about sixty pages and if your life were a Hollywood movie you'd find yourself in a montage of estate agents and lawyers and walking round two-bedroomed flats that you couldn't get a bed in and DIY stores and you up a ladder with busy strings in the background signifying industry and DIY stores and you at a pasting table and DIY stores upon DIY stores spinning endlessly in a special effect and then fade. And the scene would resolve to find you where you find me now - being beaten senseless by a heavily-tattooed Essex bushman wielding a flat-packed mirrored bathroom cabinet (in fact the last flat-packed bathroom cabinet in the shop - h60cm x d30cm x w60cm, the "Blurpi").

That is correct, I am suffering interior-decoration rage at the hands of a man who clearly loves his mother and Arsenal (reading forearms from left to right) and somehow it just feels right. It fits. Isn't there after all a definite "Tea break's over - back on your heads", sulphurous whiff about the warehouse, the large intestine of the Scandinavian dream-home beast? Even through the heavenly parade of dream kitchen after dream lounge after dream bedroom after dream S&M dungeon (maybe I dreamt that one) hadn't there been nagging doubts? Beside the obligatory nagging kids and the doocot of other halves cooing "Look dear! Look dear!".

For a start why do all their products have such sinister names? Isn't brand and image supposed to be everything? So how can they get away with it? What deal have they done with what mephistophelean daemon that allows them to select all their product names from a vocabulary of vomiting sounds?
"Ah yes, good morning, I'm interested in ordering a Gurpi wardrobe and a Jukka sofa."
"I'm afraid we're out of stock of the Gurpi sir, perhaps you'd like to look at the Brurghhhh instead."
"All right then"
"And would you like some Nevveragain cushions or perhaps an Idontremembereatingthat sofa cover to go with that sir?"
And there was the fact that anything you did actually take a shine to had a little label on it saying "Out of Stock." Out of stock eh? Then why are you showing it to me - you beech-veneered cock-teasers?
Or even worse than "Out of Stock" - "See Assistance" which means you go find a girl who looks it up on the computer and tells you that there's just one left in the warehouse - so it might have gone by the time you get there.

And then, in those reflective moments when you are hopping about blinded by throbbing pain, rubbing the backs of ankles recently clipped by a trolley carrying a family of four who are racing blindly towards the last Throup bunk bed and desk playroom combination in the store. In those few seconds before you lost consciousness, didn't you start to wonder if you really did want to be the only thing in your house that didn't conform to Swedish furniture regulations?

But the worst thing about purgatory is that you think that you're in hell. My sweet, my innocent. You have so much to learn. Relinquishing a bathroom cabinet and several millilitres of blood to your inky opponent is just the start. You have not yet begun to plead, entreat, scream, threaten and cajole for - deliverance (between 9am and 5pm, no specific time can be guaranteed).

11th November 2001

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