By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


An inspector calls

Ian Martin presents his latest gift to the world: the invisible bedroom

MONDAY My latest gift to the world is the invisible bedroom. Internal walls are made of transparent ‘hard air’® blocks. The space itself is saturated with ionised nanospheric optical glanceback ‘gnobules’ (patent applied for), which trick the human brain into wanting to go to the toilet urgently.

I’m hoping my invisible bedroom will hoodwink the portly new army of government bedroom tax inspectors. Bring it on, you fat bumptious jobsworths.

TUESDAY To semi-rural Essex, where a beta version of the invisible bedroom has been created in a local authority house occupied by my old friend Amy Blackwater, the ecomentalist and recently disabled activist.

She’s been a bit down in the dumps lately, what with having to use a wheelchair, antagonising all her carers, being told she’s fit for work and threatened with financial penalties for having too many rooms.

The latest indignity is being threatened with the loss of social security benefits altogether unless she takes her balaclava off.

WEDNESDAY ‘Those squares and breadheads can do one,’ she says firmly when I arrive. ‘My bally is an expression of who I am. It’s my turban, or burqa. I am sick of people telling me they can’t see my face. This IS my face. And it’s wearing a balaclava, OK?’

Great to see you too.

She burbles on crossly while I check the invisible bedroom, giving it a final spritz of glanceback gnobules before the inspector arrives.

Oh here he is now, pulling up outside in his silver saloon. A few muffled bars of Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, then the engine stops, paperwork is gathered and a chubby, prematurely middle-aged G4S bedroom inspector beetles purposefully up to the front door. He seems completely at ease with his own cruel destiny, like an overweight Tarantino Nazi.

When Amy opens the door he simply holds his hand up and continues to huff into one of those ridiculous earpieces that look like a child’s kazoo.

‘Yeah, at first address now, over. Wheelie present. Roger that. Entering premises. Going offline, over. Right love, I’ve come to count your bedrooms, yeah?

What’s going on with the mask then? Been in a fire, or you in a band or something? Who’s this, your Dad?’

‘Show us your ID,’ demands Amy. ‘For all I know you’re just some fat knobhead with a clipboard’.

There’s an uneasy silence while he fishes out and flourishes his inspector card.

‘OK, Pussy Riot? Now, let’s count your fucking bedrooms.’ Man, it was worth every tedious second developing the hard air/gnobule prototypes with my nanotechnologist mate Beansy just to see Fat Bedroom Cop’s face wrinkled into a Martian landscape by unaccustomed brainwork.

‘It says here this is two-bed…’ ‘Well how many bedrooms can you SEE?’ I can hear Amy say. I’m inside the locked bathroom.

‘Can I use your toilet?’ ‘No. It’s engaged. You’ll have to go down the pub.’ ‘I’m desperate!’ ‘Sorry love, that’s the way the world is. You brought this on yourself…’

I can hear Fatso ringing in to say Amy’s house is one-bedroom and that he needs the toilet and he’s going to the pub, over. Then a loud crack. Then silence. Then Amy humming Don’t Stop Believin’.

THURSDAY This is the worst day out with Amy since that time I helped her with her animal laboratory thing.

I was always against the firebombing, it was a late work by the Smithsons.

But burying a bedroom tax inspector in Epping Forest is worse. Dead people weigh a TON.

Yesterday’s just a blur of gloves and fingerprint removal and driving the car to the pub and walking very quickly back, then heaving the body into the boot of Amy’s car - ‘don’t look at me, I’m in a bloody wheelchair’ - then discovering this is the THIRD inspector Amy’s murdered since the legislation came into effect earlier this year.

And to think my invisible bedroom was conceived as a force for good.

FRIDAY Amy’s interviewed by the police. Inspector Morose has been listed as a missing person and they’re trying to trace his final movements.

There’s a faint smell in the hallway still from his last involuntary toilet break. Feel a bit sorry for Amy, who’ll no doubt be blamed.

SATURDAY Moral dilemma. Maintain the invisible bedroom, or remove the incriminating invisible evidence?

SUNDAY Lie low in the recliner, waiting for a knock on the door.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters