A selection of Marina's published articles

These articles have been published in the Economist, Standpoint Magazine, Financial Times, MoneyWeek, the Times Literary Supplement, New York Observer and more

Money Observer: Boxed in by London’s rental market

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When 22-year-old Joe Peduzzi came to view a room in east London at the end of 2015, he was in for a surprise. The double room in Bethnal Green costing £480 a month plus bills that he expected was in fact a mattress in a shed in a corner of the communal living room of a flat.

One year on from what became known as ‘a bed, in a shed, in the lounge’ – the epitome of London’s housing crisis – I too am once again at-hunting in the capital. Who would have guessed that decades after my family managed to leave the Soviet Union, I would encounter a ‘housing question’ not unlike the chronic shortage experienced by Muscovites in the 1930s (beautifully captured by Mikhail Bulgakov in The Master and Margarita) by living in the UK?

Ever since I first moved to London, I’ve lived in ‘good areas’ for what’s considered a ‘good price’, but I’ve always made some kind of compromise. I spent the first years living in a room where the Tube trains used to go so closely past my window I could look into passengers’ faces. Luckily I sleep like a log, thanks for asking. Then I had another few years in a small room in a gorgeous gated mews with a large family of mice, and now I’m on the main road of a popular area, but the problem is that I have to move out.

After many viewings, I may just have found the perfect place. The price is okay for London (it would get me a three-bed in Berlin, of course) and it’s above one of my favourite coffee shops. What’s the compromise, I hear you ask? The letting agent communicates with me via emojis, the wifi is slow and the shower is currently not working.

This column was published as part of Marina’s Imaginary Millions in Money Observer, November 2016.

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This entry was posted on November 14, 2016 by in Marina's Imaginary Millions.

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In a crowded London shop
An open book and empty cup 

On the marble table-top.
While on the shop and street I gazed

My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less It seemed, so great my happiness,

That I was blessed and could bless.

- Yeats

Always to shine,
to shine everywhere,
to the very deeps of the last days,
to shine—
and to hell with everything else!
That is my motto—
and the sun’s!

- Mayakovsky

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

- WH Auden

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