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Notes from behind the screen

rooms with views

8th October 2016

still in reality a basement room
still in reality a basement room
​If you’re working away from home, the little things make a difference. The softness of the bed. The speed of the wifi, the squeaks from the lift-shaft, the screams from the couple in the next room.
mountain views
mountain views

Over the years, hotel rooms can blend into one forgettable experience. East, West, Hame’s Best. The terrible ones are memorable, but not in a good way. Really gorgeous ones are those you are given for just a few hours. The minibar is free and the towels luxurious, but somehow you can’t assimilate the experience, feel the jet-setness of it.

mine for about ten hours, most of them spent asleep
mine for about ten hours, most of them spent asleep

Lie on the King Size bed and roll about. Run a hot hot bath. Have a needle shower or two. Marvel at the way the dimmers work automatically, the marble tiling, the Japanese toilet that does things even a doctor won’t consider. The luxury experience is essentially vacuous. Without a loved-one to share it, an hotel room is really just a place to not be working in.

Los Angeles out there somewhere
Los Angeles out there somewhere

The view is another matter. It can be a comfort or a distraction. The really top-notch, five-star frame stacker offers you an eyeful of something you’d write home about. The ghastly hovel just underlines what you guessed at the reception desk.

views into offices a welcome diversion
views into offices a welcome diversion

For the last twenty years, I’ve snapped the view. I've had lift-shafts, dumpsters, the Serengeti. I travel with a red lipstick and these days, a smartphone. I write the name of the hotel over the view. I like a blind, a bit of architrave, a nice net.

fond of Newcastle even after this
fond of Newcastle even after this

Occasionally a room becomes my office. I move in on the recce, set up the desk, gaze out of the window, and get to work. The transient experience is gone. I’m in residence. For several weeks last Summer, my desk overlooked the bus stop in the village of Sawrey, in the Lake District. This June I spent eight days typing while looking straight at an exec in a corner office across Lexington Avenue at 45th Street. For the next five weeks I’m sharing a white-washed villa on the island-nation of Anguilla with a Production Manager and a container load of cameras, batteries, tripods and drives. The view is of the island of St.Martin, or Sint Maarten if you’re Dutch, a few nautical miles away across straits of Caribbean blue.

towels not so luxurious as they could be though
towels not so luxurious as they could be though

In the morning the rain comes from the east and reminds you the washing’s still on the verandah. In the evening, the darkness falls like a stumbling drunkard from the west. This being late summer, it’s from the South that my colleague and I might get our first view of an approaching Hurricane, an event that will make us wish we were looking at Dean Street.