The older I get, the more convinced I am that daytime television is a sinister government ploy to lessen dependency on the state. Ten minutes into Shit in the Attic or watching Peter Andre aimlessly piss about on ITV2 and it’s clear to me that the unemployed have got as much motivation as they will ever need to get a job. That or kill themselves. I mean, as far as the government is concerned, it’s win-win, no?
Thanks to my spectacular inability to win the lottery, I have no other choice other than drag myself out of bed and go to work each day. This means that I avoid any telly-box offerings until I get home, when I can overdose on Netflix, gin and frantic self-chill. This week, however, I’m off work and having had a couple of lie-ins, I’ve taken in some mid-morning telly while coming to life. T’other day I gagged as the TV offered me a repugnant slice of Jeremy Kyle - a bizarre hour where stupid people with awful dentistry get shouted at by a sanctimonious, shark eyed bully while the audience points and laughs. There was a lie detector in there somewhere, but I couldn’t face sticking around for the results. Instead, I fingered the remote until I found something much more palatable and BBC One seemed only too happy to oblige: Homes Under the Hammer. Oh, how marvellous! How come I’ve never seen this before? And how come I’m not a property developer? I could do that...
PROS: It seems really easy: find a derelict shit hole for sale via an auction and keep raising your hand until you psych-out your competition and end up winning the dump. Then get filmed walking around, inspecting the litany of dry rot and woodworm while you stroke your chin and ruminate upon the fact that the property probably used to belong to Fred West. Lovely. Next, you will be expected to look into the camera with a straight face as you answer questions about your property portfolio. You will be asked about renovations that you might want to make while chortling through sentences about open-plan living, en-suites and - if you’re feeling particularly exotic - installing an Aga. They will reveal that you need to spend about ten thousand on the roof alone. The asbestos removal will be another couple of grand; the bathroom and kitchen need ripping out and the staircase needs moving. You will be reluctant to reveal that your budget is about £15 and a bag of chips. And yes, that includes contingency, whatever the bloody fuck that’s supposed to mean.
In reality you will simply paint every room white, put down new carpet and forget to excavate the bodies in the walls. You will stick a mirror in the pantry, optimistically hoping that this will fool prospective buyers into thinking that it could double up as a games room or an office. You will blow your budget on glade candles, crap you don’t need from Ikea and bleach before selling the whole SHEBANG on for a profit of £9.80. And that’s before capital gains tax.
CONS: Puh! It turns out that the auction is not actually a guessing game - you have to pay for what you win. How, then, is that WINNING? Apparently, getting a mortgage on a dilapidated squat still occupied by saggy-titted hippies involved in some kind of death cult might be problematic. Especially when the sinkhole in the back yard isn’t actually a half constructed swimming pool like you thought it was. Oh, and rumour has it that said shithole was erected on an ancient red-indian burial graveyard. Even though it’s in Derby. Eeek.
In order to save money, it’s apparently a good idea to do most of the work yourself. Which, in principle, I agree with. But then I think about the time I spent a WEEKEND trying to put up a curtain rail which was so stressful that by the time Monday rolled around I had alopecia and cirrhosis of the liver. I’m more about the spirit and less about the level. Truly. Ugh. I’d rather pay a professional although that’s not going to do the budget much good. And you know what? Even if everything turned out just dandy, you could bet your bottom dollar that thanks to Brexit or whatever, house prices would drop quicker than a slag’s pants soon after completing the work. My ‘gorgeous’ investment would be worth little more than knicker elastic. Effing typical!
CHANCES: Can anyone lend me a hundred grand? I’ll go fifty-fifty with you on my, ahem, profit. Go on, you stingy so and so. You know you want to...