Patrick Hughes

Not having any visible means of support means not having to have an alarm clock. I wake up on my own. Until the past four months, from 18 to 46, I lived with people: 11 years with Rennie, 11 years with Molly, three years with Susanne, and three years with Christiane – all wild and wonderful and sad. In a raw little wooden bed, with two drawers that slide across the carpet, one with shirts and vests in, one with socks and underpants. On a thin three-layer futon with red sheets and pillowcases. The woman in the shop asked me what I was going to do with it, and when I said ‘sleep on it’ she was surprised. I asked why she sold them then? She said everyone bought two to sleep on, or one six-layer one. I must say the slats of the bed do poke through the mattress a bit. I drape the purple curtains Phil gave me on the six-inch nails and, in my pyjamas, make a pot of tea and have a pee in the sink at the end of the bed. I choose from my two pairs of trousers and three pairs of shoes. I don’t have any breakfast. When I am ready I go downstairs and through the gap in the wall I made, the Caledonian Gap, into my studio. It took me many years to be able to call the room I worked in a studio: the word seemed so pretentious for what was designed as the first-floor front bedroom. I do my post – about four letters a day – and phone calls, one every day to my confidant Martin Fuller, and start work. At lunchtime I have a bowl of All-Bran. All day I have cups of decaffeinated coffee. At twenty to seven I go swimming.

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[*] 121 pp., £3.95, 26 June, 0 7453 0127 4.