With only three weeks left for me in Hoxton, I finally bought a studio desk in a textile factory. Arriving everyday like a laptop camel in my shorts, I love the counter-culture cliche of having my own office. Like the many regrets you have when time is running out, I wish I had done this years ago. To physically and cognitively separate my work, life and playtime into different components.
Creaking back to the mid-twentieth century, the factory will probably be demolished in 18 months time. Hackney Road is prime real estate location for developers. A debilitated aisle of pre-war housing and cheap grocery stories that connects Shoreditch with Bethnal Green.
The Hackney factory is owned by a picture frame business that no longer makes anything as they import all their stock from China. By virtue of abandoning manufacturing, Studio X was born and I purchased my desk space from two Spanish artists with dark chocolate beards and floral shirts.
Like everyone else in the studio, the Spaniards make entertainment for a living. Producing a boutique fashion magazine with an initial distribution run of 4,000 copies. Sub-letting their remaining space to freelancers, I paid £140 a month for a small desk and work next to a Hackney fashion stylist and three interns:
- a ginger anorexic doll
- dim-witted posh girl
- a blonde street urchin in a baseball cap
Jackie sources expensive clothes for a Radio 1 DJ with a glorious 1970s afro. Attending photo shoots for most of the day, she delegates the hard graft to her gophers, who scurry around London collecting wares on behalf of a BBC celebrity. When I compare it to the soul destroying office jobs I did at a similar age, I actually feel relieved they are going down a non-conformist path.
For none of us have come out right in the wash, but we make do and mend in this strange economy on our own.