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A recording studio in the garden: How creativity comes in shedloads

11 May 2013

From The Independent:

People like a shed – especially if they are creative. For writers it is often a peaceful bolt-hole.

George Bernard Shaw wrote Pygmalion from his garden shed in Hertfordshire, which was built on a turntable, which turned to face the sun; Roald Dahl wrote most of his children’s books in his Buckinghamshire “writing hut”; Virginia Woolf wrote in her shed in Sussex; Dylan Thomas wrote in a shed above his home, the Boathouse in Laugharne, Wales; Philip Pullman used to write his novels in an old wood shed in his garden in Oxford; Arthur Miller built a shed in Roxbury, Connecticut to write Death of a Salesman.

A garden shed can also serve as a more noisy recording studio – indeed Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters created early demo tracks for Dark Side of the Moon in his garden shed in Islington, while Benjamin Britten composed music including the opera Death in Venice in a shed-like building outside his house in Horham, Suffolk.

Link to the rest at The Independent

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13 Comments to “A recording studio in the garden: How creativity comes in shedloads”

  1. Tumbleweed Houses (tumbleweedhouses.com) has portable tiny houses that people build and customize for themselves.

    I’m going to a workshop in Philadelphia next weekend to learn as much as I can, and to decide if I want one.

    My current writing room is a very small bedroom – about the same floor space as the main floor of a tiny house – and I’m perfectly content there. I have a day bed, all my computer stuff, and a walk-in closet turned into my business office.

    If I had a tiny house, I could drive it somewhere beautiful – like a National Park – for a month.

    It is really appealing. They have a kitchen and bath, too – and you can get self-contained with rainwater and solar panels if you want to go that free.

    I just have to find out somehow whether my tiny bedroom/writing room is okay BECAUSE it is attached to a whole house, or if I really would be able to do this. I may try living in an RV for a month.

    Anyone tried living/writing from an RV or tiny house?

    • No. Someday I’m going to, though. I’m on Tumbleweed’s mailing list too.

      I have spent time on a sailboat. Salient points on a boat: 1. You have to fasten everything in place. 2. Everything’s always damp. 3. There’s no room.

      A tiny house won’t heel or pitch, and doesn’t have to be always damp. But there still won’t be any room.

      I’m starting, slowly, to shed belongings now, so eventually my stuff will fit. Right now I have too much stuff in general. Particularly, I have way too many books.

  2. Those Tumbleweed houses are wonderful! I was thinking about getting one a couple of years ago when I was wondering what to do next. There is room on my property now to set one up and if I got one with wheels, the zoning issues would be minimal. Right now, I write at the kitchen table which works out well since my housemates work in town during the day. If I need to, I can go to my small bedroom and work at my desk.

  3. I’ve never tried the shed. I do most of my writing in my head, and then type it out on my laptop, usually on the kitchen table, which isn’t actually in the kitchen. It’s in the dining room, but I never dine there…because there’s no room on the table. I actually eat in the living room, where I’m sometimes thinking, which also happens often at bedtime.

    I do find that some of my best thinking happens just outside, in a fold-out canvas chair, under a tree and where the robins play. The little buggers got me today though…shit all over my chair…I see they didn’t touch the tiny tool shed a few feet away (I live in an apartment).

    Now that I think about it, and having read what I just wrote, I can see why I never pursued architecture.

    As for the birds, maybe they didn’t like me laughing at the irony of Hollywood using Gregory “Peck” for the film version of To Kill A Mockingbird!

  4. I have a small greenhouse that I’ve also set up as a art studio and writing place. I love being out there when it is raining.

  5. I’d like to recommend A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams, by Michael Pollan (now the great food writer. This book, written maybe 15 years ago, is about his efforts to construct his own writer’s shack. In a sense it parallel’s Tracy Kidder’s book, House. But Pollans book contains a wonderful narrative history of writers and their writer’s shack and sheds, sure to appeal to those of us interested in this blog post.

    • Michael Matewauk

      Great book — and interesting to read him before he became the King of Food.

  6. I’m not certain if this counts as a shed, but Robert Jordan wrote The Wheel of Time in a Carriage House in his backyard.

  7. An acquaintance used to record TV and movie music in his garage; not Hollywood blockbusters, but not two-guys-with-a-camcorder movies either. No-one ever complained that I’m aware of.

  8. I think we writers need to tuck ourselves away in little huts because family members are incapable of understanding the request not to talk to us when we are writing.

  9. This time last year, I was writing on the front porch. The weather is either cold or rainy – I’ve never been this cold in Kentucky before. It feels like Northeastern Ohio in March.


  10. I think recording in the garden is creative thing and some people really do this type of creativity at the working time. I also like this activity and thanks for informing me about that.

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