Shed Envy

Friday, 27 May 2016

Dear assembled members of the shed,

Thank you for all gathering here at such short notice for today’s meeting. Hopefully you received the agenda in advance but, for those who did not, I have brought some spare copies:

Shed Meeting, 27th May 2016

1.     Update on book

2.     Shed news, inc. feelings of envy concerning my neighbour’s shed

3.     Poem about agenda item 2

4.     AOB

So, firstly, the book. All is proceeding apace. Discussions are ongoing with Unbound and Random House as to how to make the book’s potential market as broad as possible. Apparently, there are worries that it may not appeal to the all-important ‘aged 11-85’ demographic. There are similar concerns over the book’s appropriateness for Sagittarians and for those people who hail from Grimsby. A series of focus groups will be conducted in order to explore how best to target these market segments.

I am pleased to say that the book has now reached the lofty heights of 194% funded, which is beyond my mildest dreams (and some of my dreams can be very mild). The only downside to all of this is that I have to do more things, such as audio recordings and poems, should it get to 200%. If you can do your best to play down all mention the book in public situations – so I can avoid having to do any additional work – that would be much appreciated.

Moving on to news of the shed. As you can see, it’s in a right state; broken-down lawnmowers, unwanted stepladders, abandoned ovens, shattered plant pots and rusty shears litter the interior; the window has been smashed by an unruly football; and the roof’s asphalt covering has come loose. Furthermore, there are now seven hundred of you to accommodate in here for these meetings. It really is a most inadequate shed:

What I would really like is one of those writer’s sheds that you read about in the weekend supplements. Somewhere, not for the storage of left-over tins of paint and bags of peat, but a place in which write critically-acclaimed literary masterpieces affording profound insights into what it is to be human. The kind of shed that Dylan Thomas had:

One of my neighbours, a few doors down, has a shed like that in her garden. Its light shines out most evenings as she works on her latest project which ‘redefines what modern literature might be’ (London Review of Books) or ‘provides a magnificent prism through which we might see ourselves for what we really are’ (Times Literary Supplement). 

So here’s a poem about that.

Sheds: A Comparative Study

Your shed has a mahogany inlaid writing desk,
a sofa to relax on when in need of some rest,
an anteroom for critics and other literary guests;
my shed has bottles to control garden pests.

Your shed has dictionaries, encyclopedias and maps,
wi-fi and heating and hot and cold taps,
a typewriter (formerly Boris Pasternak’s);
my shed has compost bags infested with rats.

Your shed has a carpet and curtains and rugs,
biscuits, fruit tea, a Nespresso and mugs,
is covered in ivy and surrounded by shrubs;
my shed has twelve wicker gardening trugs.

No wonder your writing
    is full of Profundity
         and the Big Picture;

if your shed was my shed,
     I’d win the Nobel Prize
          for Literature.

So that concludes the formal agenda points. Any other business?

Brian
x

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Comments

Gretel Hallett
Gretel Hallett says:

I really enjoy the humour in your communications and hope that you get the shed of your dreams and subsequently win the Nobel Prize for Literature. I am looking forward to the book when it comes out.

May 27, 2016

Helen Waldron
Helen Waldron says:

What really occupies my thoughts, Brian, nay, disturbs my sleep, is this question: Are women allowed in your shed? Is it an equal opportunities one?

May 27, 2016

John Lomax
John Lomax says:

My goodness, when I was arm twisted to purchase your writings (because I am tight fisted), I was NEVER informed that it did not "appeal to the all-important ‘aged 11-85’ demographic". Therefore I ask, nay demand, that you sort out this lack of appeal forthwith!

p.s. Can I have some of the stepladders, please, as mine have broken; and as I said earlier, I am too tight fisted to purchase replacements?

May 27, 2016

Stephen Morey
Stephen Morey says:

Once you've got the book out of the way you must harness the power of the shed-collective to obtain the shed of your dreams.

'Shed envy' can paralyse the creative urge so this is a matter of no little importance.

Bring on SHED AID, launched via a huge global poetry-reading (ShedStock?) featuring the likes of Status Quo and Adam Ant and Phil Collins reciting consecutive stanzas on both sides of the Atlantic.

May 27, 2016

Vivienne Morgan
Vivienne Morgan says:

Your shed is much more interesting!

May 27, 2016

Maria Godebska
Maria Godebska says:

Hullo Brian. I fear you may have to take steps to shelve your shed improvement project. Add it to your bucket list.

May 28, 2016

Nick Murza
Nick Murza says:

Dammit Brian. I'm a Sagittarian and my horoscope today said I was upbeat and optimistic, but then I read the disappointing news that the book is not for me and became despondent and confused about who I am. Are you seriously expecting us Archers to convert to Libra just to enjoy your book? I mean, I'd enjoy the summer birthdays, but it's an air sign for goodness sake.

May 30, 2016

Brian Bilston
Brian Bilston says:

Hi all, thanks for all your responses to my last shed posting. I will do my best to respond to some of the issues you raise:
- women are, of course, allowed in my shed. Welcomed, in fact. I would hope that my shed is free of any form of discrimination, excepting perhaps for fans of Jeremy Clarkson.
- I am working on that demographic question. The most recent focus group informs me that the book now appeals to teenagers and the over-70s (plus ,strangely 32 year olds) so the gap is narrowing
- yes, I have two sets of stepladders - which is two sets superfluous to my requirements (as I am 9 foot 6 tall). Please feel free to take.
- I do like the idea of Shed Aid very much. Perhaps we could get Shed Eerhan might play - and Robert Plant-Pot.
- sorry about the anti-Sagittarian sentiments. I think it probably stems from a long-time dislike of Jeffrey Archer. I understand your concerns about converting to an air sign. Perhaps you could change into a road sign instead?

June 09, 2016

George Bell
George Bell says:

I rushed to the garden shed before the watershed, however as I dashed there and pushed the door, I slipped on the whitewashed step and crashed to the floor. There was (almost) bloodshed, however, flushed, I established that the former toolshed was now furnished in polished wood, and I had gatecrashed a hushed meeting of the published poets' society. "Well done, Brian!" I wished.

June 15, 2016

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Published
Publication date: October 2017
255% funded
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