One of my favourite things to photograph during my travels are the bedside tables in various places I stay. Bedside tables can tell you a lot about where you are, both physically and mentally.
This is a collection from 2011 and 2012.
A Study in Bedside Tables #1: Holiday Inn Express, Seattle.
This was probably three weeks into a four week road trip. Every overseas holiday ends with a pile of small change you always insist you will spend before you leave and never do. Instead you leave the coins in your wallet, handing them out as gifts or frustrating baristas by trying to use them as legal currency once home.
A Study in Bedside Tables #2: Hilton Hotel, Portland, Night 1.
My first thought revisiting this photo is that I don’t change much. I am wearing both silver rings pictured today, and although the phone has changed, I would definitely still use a Buzz Osborne picture as my wallpaper. I am still getting through that exact bottle of melatonin and the CD at the back of the photo is the Puscifer album, Conditions Of My Parole, which I still listen to at least once a week.
A Study in Bedside Tables #3: Hilton Hotel, Portland, Night 2.
The Hilton was the only accommodation we stayed in which did not provide free wi-fi, hence the books, cough syrup, Black Russian and melatonin. I spent a few hours that day in Powell’s Books, which is the largest independent bookstore in the world. I was reading mostly essays in 2011 and was lucky enough to pick up collections edited by two of my favourite guys.
A Study in Bedside Tables #4: Hilton Hotel, Portland, Night 3.
At least on the third night I was mixing wine and cough syrup, not spirits … right? The cough syrup stemmed from an incident in Las Vegas, which having not smoked in about five years, I found myself in a city where you can, and everybody does, smoke inside. While I managed to refrain from partaking, my body reacted as though I had a three pack a day habit: I had a constant cough and bleeding noses most mornings of the trip. Remember: smoking is cool.
The sunglasses were bought at a vintage shop in Portland called Magpie. I have a sunglasses addiction and had two other pairs with me on the trip, yet I still maintain these are the best sunglasses I’ve owned and it was worth the excess.
A Study in Bedside Tables #5: Shilo Inn, Medford
*snort* As any travel mate I have ever had will tell you, I am obsessed with having the ability to wash my own clothes. While everyone else would race ahead to find out if the hotel had wi-fi, I would be anxiously sweating until I could confirm I could do a cold wash. I guess having the washing liquid on my bedside table was reassuring.
A Study in Bedside Tables #6: The Historic Mayfair, Los Angeles
Had we not almost stayed in a crack den in Seattle, this would’ve been the worst hotel of the trip, easily. There’s nothing like spending your last night in a hotel which has taken obvious measures to prevent the self harm it provokes in even the more hardened traveller.
Baby food. What can I say? It started in Whole Foods, Salt Lake City, where I decided that baby food was the perfect travel snack: small, healthy (?), tasty. Every time I popped the lid on one of these bad boys, I was roundly mocked by my cohorts.
A Study in Bedside Tables #7: Cottage on the Inlet, Porirua
A year later, a different country and there’s that little green bottle again. I love melatonin. Another memento of the earlier US trip is the giant skull ring, which I bought from a shop called Loved to Death in Haight-Ashbury.
The reading material is fairly standard fare. I have read every issue of Vanity Fair for a decade now, I love Bellow and Nabokov in that order.