It's the lounge where my wife Kathrin and I relax in the evenings, but it's also my workplace. I own a record label and a lot of recording sessions are held in here. The informality can actually be a boon, because people often feel tense in recording studios.
So for me, the arrangement makes perfect sense because it's my business. Quite why my wife puts up with it, I haven't the faintest. She's got a grown-up job and comes home to find troops of musicians and amps and God knows what in the living room. We've been very fortunate to have only had a couple of complaints from the neighbours.
I moved to Edinburgh from London in 2005 to be with Kathrin. We married the following year and two months later, moved into this three-bedroom flat in Stockbridge. The place was falling to bits so for the first year, we lived on a sofa-bed in this room and the rest of the house was more or less uninhabitable.
Alcohol and eBay are responsible for the décor. We choose the Russian posters together, but we would never have bought quite so many of them if we hadn't got drunk and gone on eBay one night.
We don't like actually going to shops very much and most of our furniture is secondhand, but the Chesterfield is an exception. After searching for ages for something suitable on line, we eventually said: "Right we are going to have to give up and walk up into town and go to real shops like normal people". So we went 10 yards down the road, walked into a shop and saw this. After months of refusing to go shopping, the whole transaction took about 10 minutes.
The old lab bench came from a reclamation place in London, which was closing down, so we got it for a knockdown price. I used to be a design-engineer for medical devices, and for a long time the bench stayed in my workshop. At one time, it was used for experiments on pig bones.
Kathrin and I tend to eat in the kitchen dining room so we don't usually come in here until we are absolutely finished for the day. It's where we come to relax. We've banned digital music: only vinyl gets played here.
Cornelius, the painting above the fireplace, is by a local Edinburgh artist called Sarah Muirhead, who is a friend of ours. Before we bought the picture, I emailed an image of it to Kathrin, saying:"I really like this one". She opened it on her work computer and somebody looked over her shoulder and said: "Eugh, what's that?" That was when she decided that was the one we were getting. Sarah is a really good artist and we will be getting another of her paintings soon.
A lot of our early purchases - including the vaulting horse - were bought second-hand from Crawfords Auction Rooms in Leith. Kathrin would say, "I want that" and I'd say: "Don't be ridiculous." But she would insist and, grudgingly, I've had to admit that she has generally been right. I did, however, put my foot down about the mounted deer's head that was for sale at the same time as the vaulting horse.
I actually use the reel-to-reel players for the record label. They are new to the room, I am still feeling my way with them. Every time bands come in, they say: "Oh reel-to-reel players, that would be great." We've had a play around with them but the idea is to use them for recording because we do have a lot of sessions in the house.
I started collecting records within a year of moving in because I was writing a music blog and people started sending me records for review. I kept saying, "Please don't, I don't have a record player", but they kept sending them. We were about to have our unofficial housewarming and I thought: "Sod it, I'm going to get a basic record player and then take £30 across the road to Oxfam and get a handful of records and we'll play records tonight." I grew up buying vinyl and now it's like an addiction.
Gladys the Disapproving Pheasant
Although we recently discovered that Gladys is a male pheasant, we're still calling him Gladys. We found him in a brocante (bric-a-brac store) around a year ago, when we were in France visiting Kathrin's family. We had an empty car and Kathrin just said: "That's coming back with us." So Gladys is a fairly recent addition. He is more or less disapproving of everything, mostly the kind of nonsense that takes place in this room.
Matthew Young writes the Song, By Toad online blog (songbytoad.com) and runs Song, By Toad Records, whose next release on May 12 will be Farewell, Bastard Mountain by supergroup Bastard Mountain