For those of you who don’t know, and also the many amongst your number who really don’t care, for the last few weeks I’ve been studying software development for a brief return to the world of day jobs, alarm clocks and the Stinky Rush Hour. I’ve been doing some of my reading in a bookshop in the West End, which has a coffeeshop on the first floor. It’s a great set-up and means I can browse titles I have a passing interest in, devour those I think will be quite useful and decide which ones I will eventually buy. Also, it has a much better and more up-to-date technical section than any library I know. I’ve been there most mornings for the last week or so and I’ve started to recognise other regular punters, all doing something similar to myself.
When bored with Java phonebooks, I peruse their collection of graphic novels or do a bit of sketching. This is a sketch I did of a guy who comes in every day and reads a few chapters of a book on the Egyptian language, while slurping a large cappuccino.
I think he spotted me sketching him, but he didn’t seem to mind. I’m not sure what the etiquette is in that situation. Are you supposed to stop? If I were anywhere but London I’d have engaged him in conversation but, as I’m sure you know, that’s not the done thing in WC1.
Today, another recurring character – a crusty chap, with a huge rucksack, who orders decaf and usually sits and doodles for an hour or so – sat across from me in one of the comfy armchairs. He got out his drawing pad and, as he sipped his pointless beverage, started beavering away with a bit of charcoal, occasionally glancing up at me. I tried to look natural and give him my best side. I decided my best side wasn’t the one that reads IT books.
So I put down my Faster, Lighter Java (on top of Dark Horse’s Book of the Dead, which incidentally is very good) and started sketching right back at him. This is what I came up with.
I chickened out on asking to see his sketch and just waited for him to go to the bathroom. I stole a quick peek. Turned out he wasn’t drawing me at all – but some random tessellating floral pattern.
My finger has almost recovered enough to play the guitar again. So if you’re my next-door neighbour you have something to look forward to this weekend.