Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Edgar Allen Peckham

My friend Lee lives in The Fall of the House of Usher. His Peckham house was constructed by an insane lawyer, criminal builders and a vaguely mystic welshman.... and then abandoned.

It perches, like Michael Caine's van, on a precipice between urban chic and complete desolation. Every floorboard creaks, every ceiling sags alarmingly; the pipes leak, the expensive slate cracks, the doors bow, and the paint has the colour, texture - and increasingly, smell - of really old cheese.

Kipping on the sofa there reminds me of when I slept in a hammock in a storm. Lee likens it to being on a ship at sea - he finds the constant groaning and wailing oddly comforting. But then he would.

It's odd at first glance every room is a fine example of modern design - but then, at closer inspection it's a frightening collision between Wallpaper magazine and The Beano.

Lee cheerfully tells me even the cats suffered - often able to sneak around the rattling mess with perfect silence and stealth, there were one or two floorboards so loose that they'd suddenly sink, tip and roar, sending the cat scuttling away like a spider in high heels.

Expect to nip round there for supper and Alias one night only to discover that the earth has swallowed the house, sins and all.

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