IN DA BOAT: SIMON SMITHMarch 2, 2013
Welcome to the third edition of In Da House, a mini blog series based around the launch of our new UO homewares!
To celebrate all our new and exciting new furniture, we thought it would be an awesome idea to investigate the homes of our UO team. We’ve had the chick crib of Kate Blower, and we’ve seen the vintage clad family home of Christine Doobinin, now let’s travel to the canals of East London, where Simon Smith (Social Media Assistant) and his fellow crew live on board a 72ft Dutch Barge Boat.
Simon! So, this is your house… boat. How did you end up living here?
Me and my fellow boat-mates have always wanted to live in London, it’s been the topic of much discussion over the past few years. Finding the right flat was proving to be tricky, and we had almost given up trying before we had a sudden change of luck.
It was discovered one of our dad’s had a old boat stored from an auction a few years back. It was a total shell and needed some brutal TLC. A few months later, after some hard graft and one glorious adventure through the rough seas of the Thames, she arrived in East London.
What’s her name?
Eileen B. Appropriately named after the owners late Mother.
What kind of boat hierarchy have you got going on?
We have Captain Aaron Wilson (It’s his family boat so he deserves the title), First Mate Spike Morris (A title won in a game of luck and dice) and myself Navigator Sim Smith. I was originally titled Deckhand due my extremely un-helpful hangover on the day we moved in.
Vistors are supplied with temporary boat names, Deckhead and Deckface proove popular choices. We also refer to individuals as “Land-Lovers” if they in any way insult or offend us.
What’s the closest you’ve come to sinking her?
We’ve never come close, well, except from the time we had a gas leak and effectively turned the whole thing into a 72ft ticking time bomb. Since that incident we’ve run a tight ship.
What’s your favourite boat-feature?
The many escape hatches dotted around the vessel. They’re pretty much a mash between a tiny door and windowless window, perfect for grabbing some fresh air on a sunday morning.
We like the plate above the cooker – where’s that from?
A present from the Captains lover. It’s one of few boat related items on the boat.
You have a sizeable collection of cameras – are you a photo-nut?
Me and spike must have about ten film cameras between us, so yeah, I guess we’re “nuts”. Spike is a much better photographer than I, but theres no better way to learn than to shoot on a film camera, it’s unmerciful, and makes you pay when you get it wrong.
What’s your most treasured possession?
My Grandfathers Zenit. It’s the only thing I own of any sentimental value.
Tell us a bit about what you do at Urban…
I’m part of a fun team who look after all the social aspects of UO Europe. My duties include tending to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and all our other social channels. The aim is to make damn sure people know what we’re all about.
I guess my favourite part is writing the UO blog. We get to meet all sorts of interesting people, travel about to cool events, listen to new music and spend hours on blogs discovering awesome art. It’s pretty much my ideal job.
How did you get into that?
Before UO I was a semi-successful musician and spent the most part of my life touring around in various bands. The life of cliche musician is fun, but destroys your liver and never pays the rent. It was decided I needed a fun job to fund my new life in London.
When the job popped up I made my CV a tumblr page and tweeted it at the UO social team. Three interviews and a project later I found myself sitting at a desk in UO HQ. The rest, as they say, is history.
Any top tips for aspiring social-media-ers?
This industry will be forever evolving, who knows what crazy platforms we’ll be sharing our lives on in ten years time. Keep up to speed with the current social news, know the rules, and always remember it’s about being social, engaging content is key.
And what do your boatmates do?
Spike is a hugely talented film maker, editor, director, jack of all video trades (I’m not being friend biased here). He’s worked on a vast range of projects including documentaries, band videos and has been commissioned by Channel 4 for three “Random Act” Short films (Along with Oscar Hudson). I have no doubt he will be famous one day, a good guy to live with.
Aaron is currently studying a Masters in International Conflict and has many a side hobby. He writes for Crack magazine and also works as a producer on a fair few of Spike’s video projects.
We’re a creative old crew, never a dull moment aboard Eileen B.
What’s the most people you’ve had on the boat at any one time?
We hit 50 on board for our NYE boat party, that was pretty crazy. I remember squeezing everyone into our living room for the big countdown, half certain we might sink the damn thing. We didn’t, and the party commenced to the break o’ dawn.
There’s a bugle on the wall – explain.
A recent video project from Spike and Aaron involved a pack of hunting dogs, three huntsmen, a beautiful women, and a camera mounted helicopter. I wasn’t there for the shoot but I’m sure a bugle features within it somewhere. My plan is to use it when one of the guys is suffering with a hangover.
Fancy curtains and door handle… Are you going for an avant-garde feel?
Give us a break! We’ve only been living on the boat for about 80 days, so theres some essentials we’re yet to invest in. The boat looks out onto a walkway so we have no choice to secure our privacy with T-shirt curtains. The spanner handle is a temporary fix for an ongoing “heavy hands Captain” problem…
Dare we ask about the ice pick hanging up?
I’d love to say we’re all enthusiastic mountain climbers. But honestly, it’s only a matter of time before those infamous canal pirates board our vessel.
What’s the best thing about living on a boat?
The strong current of a Canal means theres always something interesting floating by the boat. As the Captain once said “The best thing about living on a canal is when you wake up in the morning, your garden looks different”.
We set up a blog to show our friends the strange objects we see each day. It’s called Shit In The Canal.
And the worst?
The occasional land-lover perving in from the other side of the canal. Also when we have the “Code Red”, which basically means our poo tank is full – GRIM.
Who’s the green guy on your kitchen cupboard?
The Captains creepy friend from Kenya. We’re a well travelled crew so theres a few bits and pieces knocking about from our adventures.
Are those tame swans?
Hell no. Did you know they can break a human arm in one swipe? We’ve named them Bonny and Clyde as they regularly strut up and down the canal, harassing the resident ducks.
What a way to live! Love the boat? let us know in the comments below…