The story of Henry’s epic search for a free chair, and how he eventually found one.
Last Wednesday, my chair’s back snapped.
I’m not sure what happened. Either it could no longer stand my poor posture, or it’s been transitioning into a stool on the sly.
Despite a valiant attempt to reconstruct it with superglue, it’s still broken and now my jeans are sticky.
I’m not a stool-ist, but the wound’s pretty jagged. So, like a hairless cat, or a multipack of Walkers crisps without any salt & vinegar left, there was no reason to keep it.
So I set it free by putting it in the cupboard where the bins live.
However, after dropping it off, I found myself in a predicament. You see, my amp is too low, and my dirty-clothes-mountain is too perilous.
That meant I no longer had anything to sit on.
Thus began the most epic adventure since Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a tale that minstrels will to sing throughout the ages:
If you’re looking for a way to find a free chair in London, this is probably the best guide you’re going to get (because who the hell else is going to write one?).
So at about 15:00 last Wednesday after my chair broke, I started roaming Hackney’s streets in search of a new chair for my room.
Gather Your Party Before Venturing Forth (Get Some Help)
Knowing all great adventures begin with a party of unlikely companions, I decided to recruit some merry people.
My severe lack of friends presented the first challenge.
It wasn’t really a challenge though, because the economy’s provided me with loads of friends by consequence. That’s right, I tried to convince my flatmate to join me. You can probably do this too, even if your face looks like a potato (not these potatoes though).
Anyway, my flatmate’s a medical student, so we share similar hours (and work just as hard as each other 😉 ), and I knew that he wouldn’t have anything better to do.
Here’s how I masterfully approached the situation:
I proclaimed, “Oh naive Medical Student, forsake those dusty tomes, and join I, Henry the Humble, on the quest of the ages. We shall overcome formidable obstacles to find the one true grail, a new chair perfectly suited to my chamber. Your healing skills will be indispensable, for many foes will stand in our way.”
To which he replied, “Go to Argos and buy a new chair. They’re £20.”
First, they don’t cost £20, they cost £45.
Second, what he didn’t say was more important than what he did say.
I’ll spell it out for those whose EQ isn’t as great as mine:
“Forgive me, Henry the Humble. Nothing would bring me greater joy than joining someone as magnificent as you on this great quest, but alas, I have made a sacred oath to St Thomas’ Hospital. Rest assured, a man of my considerable cowardice would do you no favours in battle. If I came along, you’d probably end up sacrificing yourself to save me from a berserking bin man.”
That was when I understood this task was too dangerous for ordinary men. I’d have to complete it alone. (No one was was going to come with me)
If you’re looking for a free chair though, you should probably bring friends because, well, you don’t want to die do you?!
With the quest begun in earnest, I journeyed to the source of new seats.
Finding it was simple. I just used my mighty powers of recall.
(remembered where my previous flatmate had found the old one)
At the other bin collection point!
I knew that I had to approach the bin collection point with trepidation.
That’s because when discovered, my former chair looked like it’d been staggering the streets for days. While we never spoke of the past, I assume that my chair had either been pimped out by a sofa, or forced to work in Vietnamese nail salon (both would explain the scratches).
In other words, there were probably some mean old chairs sitting in that cupboard, betting on stool fights, stealing seat slips and smashing each other’s shoes.
But nothing could have prepared me for this scene:
Doors completely hewn from their hinges, rubbish everywhere, and no chairs.
I knew then that all of the chairs must have escaped, or more likely, been kidnapped.
Yes, they’d definitely been kidnapped.
Facing such a setback, I reconsidered my options.
(Considered whether I could actually be bothered to find a new chair)
Is Buying A New Chair Really That Bad?
Beset by what I knew now must be a kidnapping, I uncharacteristically considered buying a new chair.
Then I remembered that buying new furniture is scientifically proven to cause global warming.
Yes, instead of blaming politicians or coal, the true culprit for all of those emissions is actually DFS.
Think about it.
How did they think they could get away with all of those better than half price sales, while selling chairs that are just made of glue and staples?
Sure, “half price” glue and staples might be a great temporary diversion from the regret you feel after buying that two-bed, semi-detached new build, on the Government’s Help To Buy Scheme, but it’s going to do nothing for your carbon footprint.
So instead of shying away from this mystery (and succumbing to evil) I set out to uncover who had kidnapped these chairs and complete my quest.
Unfortunately, the only way to do so was to follow a trail of destruction.
I discovered that sustainability is a great excuse to be cheap, and is a great reason never to buy your girlfriend or boyfriend any presents, ever again
There wasn’t an obvious direction to go, so I just walked down the road looking for chairs.
These are the chairs I came across, with an assessment on whether they’re suitable replacements for your own broken chairs.
Chairs In Front of Cafes
The first chairs I came across were on the patio at Venerdi, an Italian restaurant on Chatsworth Road.
The chairs were just about to tell me where they’d seen a large lorry load of chairs going by, when the restaurant manager leapt out and told me to stop eyeing up his seats.
If I’m honest, I’m not even sure that one of those chairs would look good in my room.
It’s ok to steal chairs in front of cafe’s, but they’re not always great alternatives to office chairs.
Next I spoke to this mobility scooter.
It looked pretty suitable. And I liked the idea of finishing my quest early.
It had wheels like an office chair, with the added benefit of being motorised, so I would have been able to make trips from my bedroom to the bathroom with great ease. It’s also completely covered, so there’d be no splashback or any little accidents.
However, I then remembered that my bedroom has absolutely no floorspace, so the chair would be impractical, unless it was like offroad, and didn’t suffer from malfunctions after change got stuck in its wheels.
It would also be quite difficult to get driving stick under my desk too.
So I trundled off, further down the road.
Motorised chairs are fine to take, as long as the person you’re taking it from is only pretending to be ill. The easiest way to discover if this is the case is by stealing their mobility scooter and seeing if they’re able to run after you.
Chairs That Are Really Damaged
Next I came across Arnold the Armchair.
He’d been playing in a skip and some plasterboard ripped up his skull. Poor Arnold.
For a chair that was dying, he seemed quite cheerful. He also knew about the bin cupboard kidnapping.
With the last wheeze from his leather cushions, Arnold divulged the details.
Apparently, a small man with an Indian accent and a very bad case of erectile dysfunction, knew that I had nowhere to sit in my room, and wanted to use the opportunity to scam me by pretending to be HMRC.
Arnold said the man needed £50,000 for a new battery operated penis, and had invested all of his remaining savings in hiding the chairs around Hackney from me.
That’s because when he called, he wanted to make sure that I had nowhere to sit down. Because that’s how you make people really, really worried.
Arnold said that he was going to call on 020 3631 5675.
I thanked him, but he was already dead.
It made me a bit upset, because if my flatmate had come along, he could have cast cushion moderate wounds or raise the upholstery and Arnold might still be alive today.
It’s not a good idea to take chairs from skips. They’re normally full of asbestos and smell like weed.
I was worried by what Arnold had said.
Obviously I had no interest in talking to a man with a severe case of erectile dysfunction, especially if I didn’t have a chair to sit on.
What if it was contagious?
I had to find a chair, and fast.
Finally, I came across one that looked sort of suitable. However, it appeared to be in jail, for no obvious reason.
I asked what crime it had committed. The chair wouldn’t talk to me, but then I saw a pretty horrible yellow puddle forming on its seat.
The dirty bastard was trying to urinate on me.
So I promptly left.
When looking for a free chair, remember to watch out for those with bladder control issues, as they will completely ruin your jeans and your room’s floor.
Delegate Responsibility To Your Girlfriend
Having not found a chair, I told my girlfriend about my predicament.
She said I was being stupid and should buy a new chair.
Tired after a day of questing, we went to the merry ye olde tavern, The Elderfield, securing a room for the night for three coppers.
The next morning, I awoke rested, and having nothing better to do, set off on my quest again.
A Call From A Man With Severe Erectile Dysfunction
Just as I was about to find a great new chair near that old weird building on Homerton High Street, my phone started ringing.
The number wasn’t withheld, it was 020 3631 5675.
Damn, the man with Severe Erectile Dysfunction was calling.
Answering the call, I was met with a pre-recorded message that said, “This is an urgent call from HMRC about a fraud matter. Please press one to accept this call.”
Obviously, I pressed one.
That’s how I started speaking to Armit.
He had a thick Indian accent, and definitely sounded like he suffered from Severe Erectile Dysfunction (you could hear his penis flopping about in the background).
He said, “Hello, is that Mr Henry, this is HMRC calling, a warrant has been issued for your arrest. The only option to prevent your arrest is to pay £50,000 now.”
I was standing near a wall, on which I rested.
Yes, I’d foiled the evil Armit’s plan and knew that he’d hidden all the chairs because he wanted my £50,000 (I’ve totally got £50,000).
So I just hung up.
He then called again and posed the riddle, “Mr Henry, with HMRC you only get one chance, you need to transfer the money now.”
Having worked in Government for six years, I knew the answer straight away. Specifically that the statement definitely wasn’t true if you’re white and English.
So I dispelled his spell by hanging up on him again.
I then walked home, forlorn that I hadn’t enquired about the chair’s he’d kidnapped, and the respective failure of my quest.
Deus Ex Ma-chair-a
To my surprise, that evening my girlfriend called me.
She’d found a black chair just like my old one, only with a broken leg.
It was dark and handsome, so when we both collected it from outside someone’s house we decided to rename it Vincent.
It’s great, and I’ve never been happier.
Thus ends the greatest story ever told, Chair Quest.
The moral of the sotry is, if you’re looking for a free chair, tell your girlfriend and she’ll find one for you.
Also, if HMRC call you and say that you owe them £50,000, it’s most likely a man with severe erectile dysfunction at the other end of the line.
If you work for Netflix and want to get the rights to this story, drop me a line.