All I want is a room somewhere…

“…far away from the cold night air. With one enormous chair. Oh wouldn’t it be lovely…”

I don’t often quote dear Eliza (Don’t get the reference? Shame on you, even non-musical lovers should recognise a bit of My Fair Lady!), but today the lyrics sprang to mind as I was bemoaning a particularly irritating absence in my working (or even non-working) life. This absence specifically relates to furniture, of a soft, comfortable and curl up upon nature – sofas, large armchairs or even a chaise lounge – I’m not overly fussy.

Why should I need such comfort while working? Surely I should just sit at my desk and be an effective typist? Problem is, my work is rather diverse in nature and one element of it involves reading – lots of it – often of actual books, made of paper, that need to be read and take a long time to get through. Such a task is difficult to do at a desk – the screen, phone and presence of colleagues often distracts.

Currently, I need to read the whole of the recently published The Faith of Generation Y (conclusion so far: dubious sample, but hopefully the theological conclusions will be good)¬†which has now ended up in my handbag so I can read it on the tube – even though I have lots of other (non-work) reading I could be doing in this precious slot. Thus, the most reading I’ve got done all week was while sat at Bermondsey station for 45 minutes on Monday, waiting for the Jubilee Line to get its act together. On the plus side, nice to feel like I’m working while quickly realising that I’d be horrifically late for work.

My ideal location for reading would be a luscious armchair or sofa, free from interruptions and comfortable enough to get a good long stint of excellent reading done. At university, we had the perfect location – a quaint room at the top of the (originally named) Old Building holding non-academic books and an array of red, plush armchairs into which you could sink while reading journal articles, a dull text book, the 25p copy of the Guardian or – shockingly – a novel. George Bernard Shaw would, I’m sure, have been proud that his name was bestowed upon this haven that kept me sane during my student days. [Wow, have just impressed myself that I began this post with a quote from My Fair Lady – aka Pygmalion, GBS’s most famous work. It’s almost like I planned it that way, and I didn’t…]

In the real world, such havens do not seem to exist – sadly. There is nowhere at work for me to escape to and read in peace. Starbucks could help, but comfy seats seem to be gradually getting pushed out of their branches (presumably to make room for their new ridiculously large mugs). Local libraries only have boring chairs and tables, unless you take your reading into the children’s area.

Actually, what I could most do with is a version of Central Perk, located in the Marylebone area. I’d have first claim to the sofa, and it would act as my second office when I had masses of reading to do. My friends could hang out there too and keep me company. I’d be able to consume muffins and endless Chai Lattes… Actually, this is now sounding less like a viable work option, and more like an ideal Saturday afternoon. Ho hum. But seriously, if anyone knows of any publicly accessible sofas in the NW1 area, I’d love to hear about them!