Up early for work this week and Hove felt a bit more like it used to. Rubbish swirling around the car as I drove through the empty streets. The bin men are on strike. I like it. Hove has been getting a bit up itself. The old 7 Eleven has been replaced by Starbucks and a couple of Metro-marts. Everyone is driving BMWs, buying designer dogs and going skiing. I liked the feeling that things are falling apart again. Implacable entropy is reasserting itself as in an old Moorcock novel.
Walking back along Western Road I noticed that several shops were empty yet more estate agents are popping up. One morning this week I was woken by some pundit on Radio 4 saying that London had escaped the housing slump and now the rest of the country was recovering and bringing some of that “good feeling”.
Good feeling!? Why on earth do we British think that rising house prices should bring us a good feeling? The average house price in the UK in March 2013 was £238,976. If you had a mortgage of three times you salary that would mean you had to earn over £79,000 a year.
Average price for Greater London was £454,644. That would mean you had to earn over £151,000! The only people getting a good feeling out of this nightmare are the estate agents which is why they’re opening offices along Western Road I guess.
Rubbish in the streets, work hard to come by, salaries on hold and the spectre of war in Syria on the horizon. Do the entropy tango. Yet house prices are going through the roof and some imbecile on the radio is telling me this is good! I am reminded of an episode of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur Dent was observing a planet where nearly all the shops had become shoe shops. The Guide explained that, as the economy became more and more geared to making shoes, it became uneconomical to make anything else. This was termed the “Shoe Event Horizon“. Eventually all the shops became shoe shops and the economy collapsed.
So hopefully the good news is that the proliferation of estate agents means that we are approaching the estate agent event horizon.