Wednesday, November 13, 2019
If you're looking for a suitable Christmas present for the shedworker in your life, then Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston (the slightly strangely monikered 'poet laureate of Twitter') might be a consideration. In no other novel of 2019 does a garden office play such a part and certainly not in such a major way on the front cover.
Featuring plenty of his cleverly devised poems and a plot about a marketing executive looking for love and a career as a writer, the central character Brian is let go from his job about halfway through the novel and decides this is the moment when he needs to buy a writing shed garden office with his £15,000 redundancy money. He is excited about it well before it arrives - here he is on May 28 writing about his furnishing purchases:
"I stuck to the essentials: a writing desk and chair, two floor-to-ceiling bookcases, an antique Remington typewriter, a whiteboard for brainstorming writerly thoughts, a desk lamp, a standing lamp, some curtains, a rug, a small wood-burning stove, a yoga mat, two tins of Lapsang Souchong, coffee machine, two packets of fair-trade Sumatran kopi luwak coffee, a neo-Dada abstract painting by up-and-coming artist Monica Bannerjee, three cushions, three Penguin Classics cushion covers, a footbath, a min-fridge, and an antique globe mini-bar."
The text does not go into detail about the type of garden office, but it's obviously a decent one since it take "a team of four experienced shed-builders a whole day to assemble it" and it has cedar cladding. Moreover, it seems warm enough in winter so must have proper insulation. Once finished, Brian proudly describes it as "not so much a writing shed as un palais jardinière des lettres". He goes on to say: "It is magnificent! A Wi-Fi-free oasis for literary endeavour. A cedar-clad creative hub!"
The shed goes on to play a significant part in the plot when the police arrive following the disappearance of Brian's poetic nemesis (who, it is also hinted at, also has a writing shed). --------------------------------------
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Posted by Alex Johnson at 9:41 AM