I Always Wanted a Desk
As soon as I’d built the houseboat cabin I constructed my desk. It is six feet long, amply deep but slightly too high. I love my desk. Like the rest of my houseboat, it is a mess of creative chaos. Possessions surround me as I sit working for hours at a time. I’m not proud of the clutter that is home, but I want to express the pleasure of being surrounded by all that I am, all that I do and all that I choose.
There is a heap of saxophones in cases, an old 70s guitar/bass amplifier, steel string and nylon string guitars, several electric bass guitars and storage for all the paraphernalia that comes with all that, power supplies, boxes of batteries, , spare instrument cases and bags picked up in charity shops. An Arai motorcycle helmet is ready for use. My father baulked when I told him I’d spent £260 on a motorcycle helmet, but that was my choice, I value my head. A few cassette tapes, stretching back nearly 40 years, hold hours of recordings of school bands and family holidays in Europe (A burst of organ music inside Chartres Cathedral, cow bells in the Swiss Alps, random conversations in tents). The painting over my desk is a watercolour by J.P. Ndong, a Senegalese artist. I purchased it from him out of a box he was hawking around the dusty streets of Dakar. Headphones for focussed music editing. A packet of ‘SupaValu’ rich tea biscuits for instant gratification in early hours work sessions when the evening meal was far away in time. The wobbly tube is a chimney for the solid fuel stove which warms me with abundant radiant heat during Winter. Two bowls collect rain leaks coming through the single skin timber cabin sides. One day I shall add a second layer and solve each and every leak.
A Samsung netbook is my desktop computer of choice, powerful enough for my use, yet small enough to fit in with the clutter. An old ShuttleX PC remains in place as an occasional DVD drive for films or access to archives stored on rewritable CDs. A digital radio rescued from the skip, works almost perfectly.
To my left is the cooker, sink, food storage. Loba, my cairn terrier, has her food and water bowls. The steps I built robustly and simply from pressure treated timber, are tailor-made to make each step a comfy size and height for daily use, and reasonably safe when returning from a drunken Monday night jam in The Anchor pub, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK with my saxophone and dog. Behind the steps is a small top opening fridge. I keep a sponge on top of the fridge to collect small water drips from the companionway, where a simple slatted timber doorway lets in plenty of fresh air. To the left of the doorway is a fat fryer for occasional home-made chips. Opposite the galley is a food preparation surface with storage beneath.
It is a chaos of happy creative choice.