21 Reasons I Would Make the Perfect Housemate or Tenant :: An Open Letter to the People of Amsterdam

[When I first posted this, it helped me find a place till September. Now, with September breathing down my neck like a malicious stepfather who wants me gone, I’m hoping it’ll help me find somewhere a little more permanent. Alstublieft.]

Alright, let’s just get straight into it. We’ve no time to waste here.

Basically, like a hundred thousand other people, I’m looking for a place to live in Amsterdam. So, with that in mind, here are some things that you – potential housemate, potential landlord – should know about me. And if it seems like I’m boasting at times, that’s because this is like some weird reverse interview and I’m afraid I have to. But I’m not particularly boastful by nature, I don’t think. (Although it is sometimes fun to pretend.) Anyway, here goes – stuff.

1. I am a writer. This is good for so many reasons, not least because if you’re interesting enough, I’ll be sure to write about you – or a weird pseudo-offensive, almost unrecognisable version of you – and you could then end up being portrayed in a film by Matt Damon, Audrey Tautou, Javier Bardem or Laia Costa. Or, at the very least, I’ll blog about you and you’ll feel weird, but in a special way. (Or I won’t write about you at all, if you value your privacy. Spelbreker.)


Here I am, writing…

2. I make a very good chilli. I use meat because I eat meat, but aubergine works just as well and it doesn’t taste of death. One day I’ll go back to vegetarianism. One day.

3. I am an English teacher, and if you’re keen to improve your English at all, I’ll be more than happy to help you in a friendly, fun and non-irritating way. (Offer also applies to Scots and people from the north of England.)

4. I appreciate it’s a subjective thing, but people do tell me I’m quite funny. And I totally am. My previous remark about Scots and northerners might not be one of my best, but I’m pleased with it, I won’t deny it. Let that be your yardstick.

5. I laugh in the face of despair.

6. I am handy around the house. I’ve worked for a couple of years at least predominantly as a gardener-cum-builder and can turn my hand to pretty much anything, in terms of DIY. Basically fixing stuff and making stuff nice.


Here I am fixing a small hole in the barn roof in France…

7. I work online, writing for other people and teaching, and I enjoy it, but I also have big plans for my own writing over the next couple of years, and if they come to fruition – which they definitely will – the future is going to be almost unbearably exciting. And if we become great pals, you and I, you can totally share in that excitement. And I  – I hope – can share in your excitement. Oh, the excitement we’ll share! I’m excited already.

8. I play the guitar. I know lots of songs. We can sing them together round the camp fire we’ll build in the living room. It’ll be great. Not every night, obviously. But once in a while. Special occasions. Or if you prefer, I can just play when you’re out, and write resentful songs about you that you will never hear.


Here I am with an old guitar on the day the music died…

9. Due to the fact that we had horribly inconsiderate and noisy neighbours as a child, I am extremely considerate as an adult. In practice, what this means is that if I’m sharing a place with you and you’re in bed sleeping, or even just resting your eyes, I will creep around like a house-mouse in slippers, and I won’t even use my electric toothbrush for fear of waking you.

10. I’m not a fundamentalist, of any religion. In fact I’m an atheist. And something of a non-practising Buddhist. I’m also very keen on the idea of starting a religion of my own, but a religion for people who don’t like religion, people devoted simply to being nice to one another and not being inconsiderate, dictatorial shit-bags. And no silly gods. Join me.

11. I’m flexible. Whether you’re looking for someone for just a couple of months or a year or two, it could be me. I’d like to look into getting my own place after a couple of years, but until then, I’m flexible, like the Littlest Hobo.

[Update: A couple of months will no longer cut it. I’d like to have my next place for at least a year. I’m definitely staying here long term. It’s a decision I’ve made.]

12. I am incredibly optimistic. Not just about my own life but about the fate of the human race. I think things are on the turn. I genuinely believe we’re becoming more species-aware and we’re going to pull it around and stop worshipping money and start being nice to one another. This kind of optimism feeds into my everyday demeanour and makes me an absolute joy to be around. For the most part.


Here I am on breakfast television with a paper bag on my head. It’s not particularly relevant but it’s an intriguing picture and it breaks up the text…

13. I’m a people person. My ideal scenario would be to find a place where there was a bit of socialising some evenings. Eating together, the odd bottle of wine and the occasional godless singalong. But I can also be fiercely independent. I lived alone in a forest in France for 18 months, you know. Again, I’m flexible. You’d better be friendly though. Or you can bugger off.

14. I’m older than you. Probably. And with age, hopefully, comes wisdom. This means that when you’ve locked yourself in the bathroom and can’t stop weeping because someone you imagine you love has slept with someone else, I can help you realise that this is not the end of the world and that in actual fact, you’re better off without them. Come on now, dry your eyes and have a glass of wine. Mate.

15. I am a seasoned traveller and have lived in the following countries: England, Turkey, the Gambia, Italy and France. I’m not sure why that makes me a good person to live with really. Maybe because it means that I am open-minded and interesting. Yes. That. What it definitely doesn’t mean is that I am inconsistent and somehow a bit dodgy.

16. I am a massive cat fan. (See also medium-sized cats, kittens.) This means that, like all cat-lovers, I am a good human being with a wonderful big heart. (Exceptions to this rule are to be taken as proof of its validity.)


Here I am with George in France. I loved him so much…

17. Last night I told Facebook I was going to write an open letter to the people of Amsterdam convincing them what a great flatmate I’d make, when someone I used to live with and have not heard from for some time wrote this:

Screenshot 2016-06-08 14.30.27

So there you go. You can’t argue with that.

18. Speaking of which, the two people I was just living with in London both gave me cards before I left. One of them wrote: ‘You’ve been amazing and I will miss having you around in London a great deal.’ And the other one wrote: ‘A massive thank you for your company, wisdom and wit over the past year – I have enjoyed it immensely and I have laughed A LOT. I will miss you very much.’ And I wasn’t even paying rent in London! Imagine how much of a joy I must be!

19. Joy aside, I am honest, reliable, kind, sociable and almost painfully friendly. Honest I am.

20. I speak fluent Italian and terrible French, and I aim to be fluent in Dutch within a year. This means that if you’re Dutch and would like to speak or improve your Italian or English or both, then my god, you’d better snap me up. (I know this is very similar to #3 but I’ll be honest – I’m running out of material here.)

21. Finally, this is just a small collection of the faces I can pull and things I can wear on my head…


Imagine the fun! You can’t. You simply can’t imagine it. You have to experience it. In the flesh.

So if you’ve read this far and you think it might be fun to share your space with me for a while, get in touch and let’s talk.

If you think it might be just dreadful, then go your merry way, and good luck to you.

Oh, one more thing! I will never leave streaks of poo in the loo – not even on the examination shelf. You have my word.

About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you’ll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

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