Demand for old mattresses "full of fleas" has soared in recent months in the infamously hipster Dalston district in northeast London. Imported from north Manchester, the increasingly expensive showpiece is now regularly seen on balconies throughout this area of Hackney.
The appearance of flea bites all over the face has become a key part of student identity in the London district. We spoke to 20-year-old Dalston resident Octavia from Tring, who told us, "the mattresses are fantastically unclean. I think they can be symbol that can allow us all to bring down global capitalism and create a world of happiness, fairness and free cupcakes for all". They have become a near-necessity for members of the student group, the Dalston Maoist Anarcho-Cynicalist People's Socialist Workers' Front (known as the DMASPSWF).
Octavia refused to disclose to us exactly how much she paid for her mattress but many claim the market price of an original, Manchester-cultivated mattress is currently in the region of £20,000. Scientists have described the phenomenon as the "who can own the shittest possessions" effect.
The trend has had the unexpected consequence of rejuvenating the local economy in post-industrial North Manchester. The whole area has mobilised to satisfy the unrelenting demand from London. Their production capabilities may face a further test as reports just this morning have suggested there has also been a sudden surge in mattress demand amongst students in Camberwell, South London.
Former-crack addict Darren is one of 'North Manchester's mattress millionaires'. When we asked him what he was going to do with the money Darren said, "well the only thing I've done so far is bought this butler from Kensington in that London, d'you know what I mean? I haven't even got a room for him at the moment, he has to sleep in the park. He keeps begging me to let him go home but I kept saying, 'I've fockin paid for you, no way man'. He ran away a couple days ago though so I'm just gonna buy Lamborghinis now."
There has also been a dramatic rise in black-market mattress activity as many opportunist traders have bought new mattresses in bulk and have attempted to insert fleas into them to sell to unaware students. Animal rights activists have condemned the forced migration of fleas to unsuitably clean mattresses, urging all consumers to make sure they are buying naturally occurring flea-ridden mattresses.