The One Upman Shop.

The One Upman Shop.

You did sort of imagine this would be how you’d work every day. You know, in that bright future you forsaw would have you legitimately, professionally based at home – sunshine on the keys, wood pigeons coo-rooing, breeze rooshing the trees.



..Ruddy hot, bright and noisy out here, isn’t it?

The weefee’s only conviction this far from the house is that it exists somewhere. Somewhere much nearer the house, evidently. I can see it’s there, but I could probably draw the BBC News homepage in felt tip pens quicker than it loads. Including the scrolling live feeds.

So I’m doing this on Blogspot’s load page but will have to go back upstairs to actually publish the discovery, mooted on Twitter just now, that perhaps I can’t in fact finally enjoy the psychological one-upmanship of working in the garden over lunch.

But really, why did I think I should? I can’t see the keys, builders are machine-gunning concrete all the way to the centre of the earth somewhere in the street, and a sunbathing neighbour is trying to have a comfortingly banal private conversation on the phone mere feet from me beyond the sound-reinforced security boundary of a slat fence.

Just think how easily I could live broadcast this to the entire world, and that fence would mean she’d never even know I’d made her private revelations global. If anyone at all actually read my blog, of course.

I’ve got money spiders climbing around the flush keyboard, my hair’s having a particularly whispy day in this irritatingly balmy breeze, and I’ve only just realised half of what I’ve typed is demented. What, for example, is a ‘one-upmanshop’? Somewhere I’d like to open an account, I think.

Oh this blasted gorgeous sunny day without the gloomy pressures of an office!

I’m going in.

Leaving the neighbour to her own home-based profesionalism. Film reviews and gossip columning, apparently. Same as every other creative freelancer.

Now, from in here – relocated to the lounge bay, avoiding the studio as part of this mobile social media experiement – perhaps I could imagine that the vouchers from The One Upman Shop have been cashed in after all.

I can see it’s sunny and beautiful out there. But I can also see what the beggary I’m typing. I can, as well as this, listen to Jobim, to help nature create a more convincing summer atmosphere. Plus, I don’t need to wear my sunnies, so I can use them as a pretty fetching alice band to keep foppish whispy flops out of my eyes during very important social media comment blogging work.

All that and the kettle is much much nearer. Although I’m putting off caving in to casual caffeine today, as I think encroaching middle age – still so very far off, I’d like you to bear in mind – is telling my body to go to bed at sensible hours and not just say yes every time someone offers it a glass of something made from very heavy Shiraz grapes.

I bazzed up to the capital on Saturday tea time to see Ben and Marnie for the first time since we completed Sophie in the souk. Wrap party at producer Jennifer’s. Except, it was only by late evening I began to slowly come into focus on the whole wrap party status of the soiré, due largely to the absence of anyone even vaguely connected to the production of the programme.

“Ah” I think a distant secondary internal voice must have mumbled eventually, as someone poured me another little top up of heavily fermented Shiraz grape juice drink, “this is just a party.”

Adding a few minutes later: “Huh.”

But, hey. Meeting people is meeting people – old gags become new gags, however the new audience got invited. I was happy to meet them, happy to shoot my entire bolt of impressive sounding interest in world affairs, and happy to not have to demonstrate how little I could back up this heavily implied but heavily vague clever knowledge at a second social get together. Plus, I wouldn’t want the nice Persian Brit I lectured about the Iranian elections to have to nod politely for another evening.

It was good to see Benny boy. Seems everyone likes the show. Kids in particular, I hear. They get the hidden subtexts, obviously.

Ben’s created a real editorial integrity to the production. A clear bit of brand work, really. We’ll have to see what the Travel Channel really makes of it.

But in some delightfully north London dinner party lines that I seemed to slip into effortlessly that night – but which were undoubtedly bought from the Basics range at The One Upman Shop – the subject of the show did allow me to say things like: “Oh I’ve always found Moroccans to be charming people. You really must go.” And: “So I asked myself what the defining character of truly Moroccan music was, as opposed to other North African and pan-oriental influences…”

Nob. Got a few laughs though.

Also, of course, I made sure I used the belt up and down the M3 to audition new edits of the album. Car journeys are useful cocoons for this kind of creative analysis.

And after all, The golden age of exploration is, I should say, just two weeks from its studio deadline now.

Breakthrough moment before I left was getting the first final running order of it all crammed onto an eighty-minute CD. This was basically momentous, as it was the first time I could hear how it would work. ..Or rather, IF it would work.


..How the f*** should I know? I’m writing this tripe – I love it. Never been right before though, have I?

It works, I should say. That is, it seems to fit together, on its own terms. And with a couple of sessions and some additional editing tweeks, it’ll be done. Actually done. Spot of singing, couple of cello parts to record, few more horn spots. And done.

..Then what the sweet arsing fate I’m supposed to actually DO with it, I don’t know.

Try and get it listed at The One Upman Shop, obviously.

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