“The past is always with us. Where we come from, what we go through, how we go through it; all this shit matters. Like at the end of the book, ya’ know, boats and tides and all. It’s like you can change up, right, you can say you’re somebody new, you can give yourself a whole new story. But, what came first is who you really are and what happened before is what really happened. It don’t matter that some fool say he different ’cause the things that make you different is what you really do, what you really go through. . . . all those books in his library. He frontin’ with all them books, but if you pull one down off the shelf, none of the pages have ever been opened. He got all them books, and he hasn’t read nearly one of them. Gatsby, he was who he was, and he did what he did. And ’cause he wasn’t willing to get real with the story, that shit caught up to him.”
D’Angelo Barksdale, The Wire
One reason I don’t read interiors magazines is because I’ve no interest in interior trends, ‘designed’ homes or the latest must have buy. Instead what fascinates me about interiors is hidden meaning. I don’t care how rich people are. I care how real people live.
In contrast set design fascinates me. I love The Killing interiors, and Borgen of course and don’t get me started on Mary Margaret’s kitchen in Once Upon a Time, but those aside, hands down the most intriguing interior I ever came across was Stringer Bell’s in The Wire. I’ve searched for an image but can only find this clip which shows Bunk and McNulty confused by Stringer Bell’s apartment and the man they thought they knew.
Stringer’s apartment is trying to erase who he is and create who he wants to be – a legitimately wealthy businessman (as opposed to the murderous drug dealer we know him to be). No surprise then that his apartment is very beige with lots of books and clean conservative lines. There’s no flair, no colour, nothing that belies his ghetto roots. Little wonder he never spends any time there. Devoid of personality the room feels bare, flat and strangely cagelike. For a man who spends his days avoiding cells, bizarely he’s created one.
Hidden depth is something often seen in rooms created by set designers as they subtley convey a character or situation’s meaning through a lens. It’s where I get my inspiration, and I always photograph a room once I’ve finished from several different angles to check how truly interesting it is. Because you can decorate by numbers and hire someone to add a standard personality to your home. But remember. It’s the lies you tell yourself that matter most. Don’t think by erasing your reality from your home you’re fooling anybody other than yourself.