Phillip Hensher's writing room

I love the Guardian's Writers Room series, in which they photograph a writer's room and then the writer gives an overview. Usually they say something like, 'and that desk has been in the family for... ooh, about four hundred years or so... and that bookcase was made out of....' and whilst I love looking at these rooms, like peeking through someone's front window, I can also hate them, telling myself I can hardly be a proper anything without a dedicated writing room! However, this week is the turn of Philip Hensher and he doesn't have a writer's room, but, it would seem, a writer's flat - in Devon. What I like about it is that it's just so real - the A4 pad on the arm of the tired sofa and his claim that there is no laptop, no TV, only the promise of a radio tuned into Radio 4 if he gets a certain amount done. I like it. But I would still love my own dedicated writer's room. Mind you, I don't have a bad view, the window in front of my desk overlooks a distinctive street in Belsize Park, at the bottom of which is England's Lane. Right in front of me is an old-style red telephone box from which sometimes can be heard rants and telephone receiver banging onto doorframe as someone has finally lost it. And then there is the longish, narrow gardens, in which a few lazy residents take their beloved pooch (instead of taking them to Primrose Hill just around the corner) and in the air can be heard 'Oscar! Don't bite that Oscar, good boy, here boy, here... come here. COME. HERE!' So it really makes no difference a lot of the time whether I have my blinds open or not, distractions are all around. Including this blog and the evil facebook! Back to the blank page it must be then...

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