2.8.10

Stewart Lee on Shelves

British comedian Stewart Lee shares his lifelong obsession with collecting, and shelves
Stewart Lee. Photograph: © Pal Hansen for the Observer
I love shelves, and if only I could work out exactly which of the many books, comics, records and compact discs that I own I should fill them with, and how many shelves I require to do this, I have always imagined my life would be complete. At the age of 43, I am finally in a solid-looking house, with my solid-looking family, where I imagine, uncharacteristically, I will stay for some time. I am well on the way, through my own efforts and those of contracted shelving professionals, to having the shelving system I have dreamed of since childhood, most of it concealed in nooks, cellars and the designated shelf room, so as not to destroy the internal integrity of our long-dreamed-of living space. But even as the shelves approach their final configuration, it seems the same doubts and fears about life and its purpose linger on, as if the answer to everything did not lie in the construction of shelving systems after all. I wonder where this profound faith in shelving began. [Read the article]