Every luxury apartment comes at a price, I guess, and you get what you pay for, I suppose. And I got mine at discount rates. Tonight and for the next seven nights I'm in an ultra-modern central Leeds room with a 1250 sprung pocket memory foam bed, leather sofa, wide screen LCD satellite TV, free internet, lots of very nice kitchen equipment - and an online food ordering service so you don't have to use any of it.
But I'm not surprised, neither am I unhappy, that this glamourised bedsit is also very hot (sun streaming through picture windows), very noisy (being on Burley Road, one of the city centre's main access points, and down to one lane with road works), and has a view surprisingly not mentioned in the publicity - across the canal to Armley jail.
I'm pleased, that it's not all perfect. Makes me feel that it may be quite a human place after all. Bit like my experience earlier today at Junction 32 Outlet Shopping Village, feeling rather misshapen and ugly amongst the fashion-conscious, when very incongruously the piped musak gave way to R.E.M. singing 'Everybody hurts ... sometimes', which made me look around and notice that the place was full of plumpsters like me, and folks in wheelchairs, and parents struggling to control their vibrant offspring, and the variously-shaped and -gifted girls of Normanton Knightingale Cheerleaders all performing bravely for the passing shoppers.
Armley Prison notwithstanding (and historic neighbouring St Bartholemew's church), the view from this fourth-floor window is of a real mix of urban Yorkshire life: a tatty drunk totters slowly across the car park watched by a well-dressed couple stepping out of a high-performance car; the students across the way in Opal 2, assembling for their first week of term, pick their way gingerly through local youths playing football around the traffic cones, and these students look to come from various cultures, and these youths are a mixture of white and Asian, and the staff serving my needs are a mixture of British white and Eastern European, and I'm aware that one of the themes of my coming weeks in Leeds and other West Yorkshire towns, will be the human mess and hopefulness of people of difference having to live close together.
Golf-shirted middle-aged Yorkshireman to his wife having just arrived in Junction 32 car park (concerning a leather-coated, slouch hat wearer passing by): "Look at that scruffy b.....d". Polo-shirted middle-aged Yorkshireman on delivery-duty from Ruchee's, at the door of my flat, with a generous smile on his face: "Are you hungry yet? ... Enjoy it." Luxuriating imperfections.