Equipment for grips on the Sony Bravia Iran TVC shoot.

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"Shall we go for another plate and try one of the duck spring-rolls or save ourselves for the deserts?", we toiled while sat in one of the finer skyscrapers on Dubai's Shayk Zayad Road. The international all-one-can-eat buffet was proving to be one of the Middle East's many trouble spots – yet things got worse, having just left enough room for desert it took me a few attempts figure out how to get the best results from the chocolate water fountain and strawberries.

"Daveed, can you go to Dubai the day after tomorrow?", enquired my manager with an unusual caution... I flinched, considered the necessary national documents now available to me and held back a smile, "let me check my diary", I acted out. 'Dinner with uncle' and 'Go to Karaj' – "Yes, it should be ok", I conclude with as serious a face as I could hold. I was chuffed, and for many reasons – being two weeks into this new job and being asked to represent the company abroad was one of the smaller ones.

My agenda was set, quickly scribbled out as the working week ceased. A golden ticket slid across the director's table confirming my virgin voyage with Emirates following by two silver-tinted notes. I counted the zeros unaware of the exchange rate yet aware that zeros are worth more in other countries.

Laptops were set up and cigarettes lit in preparation for a fast paced preproduction meeting between multiple nationalities from multiple companies. 'Creative Director', stood the words beside my name on the first page of the preproduction booklet handed to each of the 15-attendees. Our trio represented the Iranian side of things, mostly drafted in to test credibility and to enlighten others of what little is permitted in our style of republic. Intricacies were presented, debated, altered and possibly embraced. Each frame and square millimeter of it negotiated – add a car – don't, get me a water canal – don't, focus on this – don't, wear a striped t-shirt – don't – "It might be seen as an American flag" we warned.

Music was presented, "too Arabic", the cast was presented, "too poor looking", wardrobe was presented, "too revealing"

The Sony manager – our client – doodled, adding little to the theatre of conceptual contortion as we tore to pieces the delicacies presented by the director. Considering I'd not slept the previous night I was alert and attentive, enjoying the 4-hour episode, thriving from the energy put into getting a workable result. Music was presented, "too Arabic", the cast was presented, "too poor looking", wardrobe was presented, "too revealing".

"We don't have drains like that in Iran", I regretfully informed the Italian director while he was aiming up his shot. I tried explaining the simplicity of Tehran's drainage system, intrigued as to quite what solution the production team would provide in our Dubai location. The director had previously bragged that he'd made Cuba look like London and as we huddled around the monitor we fell for his lie.

I stood back as he raced through the shoot with grips struggling to attend to his demands while those whose work fell between were getting familiar with one another. Iranian extras sat gossiping, cars sat revving and the client sat smoking. For all the "Action! Action! Action!", a few seconds were born, now we sit and wait to see what gets religiously cut.

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Parsian Mall, Karaj. Looking out through an empty shop window.

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"Can you design me a reception table?", inquired a former director. "Certainly!", I happily responded, "tell me more about what you're after?". His face shined over like a stale wax-work and our eyes remained connected while I admired his amazing life-like appearance. Such pauses normally conclude with me clicking for the Task Manager but on this occasion it wasn't necessary, "Make a table!", eventually came the response. On this occasion it was my turn to lock-up in confusion.

I might say that I'm a very unsuccessful interior designer, bloated rumours exist about my ability but in nearly a year's worth of attempts I've yet to have anything realised. These rumours led my colleagues to believe that I have a supernatural ability to foresee all the variables without consultation. "Just come up with some ideas!", they gasp, somewhat pestered by my queries. I've meditated much over these ideas, trying to presuppose every function but little enlightenment has ever arrived.

"What are you doing, no!", lambasted the director, "we are going to block that doorway!". Of course they were! Fundamental changes were needed for that fifth draft – a wall needed to be incorporated to the table design.

I also hadn't foreseen the previous job's arbitrary alterations, where I'd arrived to confirm the final measurements for a shop fitting. "Who told you to build a window here?", I harshly asked the labourer who was adding his final touches to a window that sat where my shelves were going. "Your father", the labourer meekly responded. I chose to let my father learn that I was no longer doing this job the same way he'd let me know about the window.

"he designed all of his family's buildings", my friend pitched – maybe he thought I did

The rumours have leaked further, I've reluctantly excepted an interior design project for shopping mall development – "he designed all of his family's buildings", my friend pitched – maybe he thought I did. My friend insisted on joining me for the introductory meeting, oddly leaving me with less than 5-minutes from a 3-hours episode to quiz the client. During this time he'd managed to scare the client into desiring an excessive security system of his making while repeatedly referring to me as his employee. "I want cash up-front boss", I joked following the meeting, "Don't worry about these details, just come up with some ideas – get them from the internet of something", he hushed.

Without lifting a finger I may soon become a design legend, but I feel my finger will sooner be clicking for the Task Manager. 'The program, "Iranian People" is not responding, do you want to end this task?'.

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The view from my new office window.

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"Maybe it's because of my two Russian girlfriends", answers the company director in response to my poor flattery regarding his more European accent. "Yes, that might be it", I hastily added. It was only after his self-congratulating chuckle that he paused for a while before connecting eyes – "I was joking, I don't have two Russian girlfriends".

And so, I got the job – I now, unquestionably, suck corporate [religiously cut]

This wasn't one of the highlights of my tenuous 3rd interview with one of Iran's larger advertising agencies. Nevertheless my equally as startled responses to their business practice seemed to have made up for any ground lost in flattery. And so, I got the job – I now, unquestionably, suck corporate [religiously cut].

"Where are their offices?", interrupted my father while discussing the result on the phone. "Where are the offices again?", I asked my friend – forgetting the name. I was reminded of the district, "...it's very close your father's place" they added. "It's in this district", I inform my father, "that's very close to my place", he hastily responds.

Somewhere between this revelation and the end of my call my father managed to confirm his unconditional love for me. "So you can stay at your grandmother's while in Tehran, you'll be cooked for washed after, yes, I think that's a good idea!". I thought it was a good sale's pitch. His sincerity was met with such poetry, for, not only has he recently taken over my place (in the neighbouring city he works) but he'd preempted the possibility of returning my hospitality.

"Eat this", she demands, "Don't eat that". "Wear this", she instructs, "Don't wear that". "See these people", she begs, "Don't see those". Unfortunately the extra distance between my grandmother's house and my newly found work seems to be proportional to the distance in her judgment. My father informs me that this is my grandmother's way of showing love and with each word I write it is showering upon me.

It seems it won't only be at work that I'll be sucking it in.

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The reservations only area in Niavaran's coffee shop.

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Tehran is blessed with clusters of coffee shops offering havens for Iran's expanding youth. These mutual grounds – away from the prying eye of the family – flood with hormones, allowing for the decreasingly illicit exercise of mind – no doubt a precursor to further types of exercise.

I enjoy frequenting these ever increasing venues beyond my joy for mochas and cheesecake. In a country yet to be consumed by economic ideals I enjoy the flourishing independence. Yet mostly I enjoy the interaction with the Children of the Revolution, those who are incidentally here, getting on with it, yet, enjoying the slowly expanding gaps in limitation.

For this entry I've taken it upon myself to highlight a few of the more familiar venues and present a short review for each. There are a great many more venues throughout Tehran offering their own intriguing quirks and maybe at a later date I'll tackle this topic more extensively. But for now...

نیاوران Niavaran (the place/palace)
If one was to storm a coffee shop in Tehran, holding the customers to ransom, Cafe Niavaran might yield a result financially comparable to Iran-Contra. Due mostly to its location – near the gardens of the former Shah's palaces – Cafe Niavaran struggles to accommodate the less conspicuously clad offspring of Tehran's elite.

Well trained staff with well trained hair calmly present dangerously good cakes with surprisingly bad coffee. I'm sure that each capital city around Europe has their Niavaran, a chic modernist gap echoing a trendy beat from the rotating black and white photography exhibitions.

Although not a collection of coffee shops this single and relatively large coffee shop-cum-gallery is worthy of mention. Boasting indoor and outdoor seating with a private reservations-only section. Plenty of room to contemplate which came first: the coffee shop or art?

گاندی GANDI (himself)
People come here to think, or at least to look like they are. The most visually adventurous of the Iranian youth may be seen parading the courtyard testing convention as well as the range of treats on offer.

Ghandi hosts the largest collection of coffee shops in Tehran, housed in a small courtyard, some 8-venues coexist back-to-back. Between them they present a spectrum of bohemian sanctity ranging from should-wash-more to postmodern-eyesore. The most convincing and most frequented is commonly known as Cafe De France, seemingly due to the six incidental stickers on the exterior window and not the large sign above saying "Tara".

One's visit to Iran might be hugely enriched by sampling De France's, 'Cafe Dovel'. Augustus Gloop once had an incident with such a drink, resulting in similar financial repercussions.

آفتاب AFTAB (Sun)
Peacocks have fanned-feathers, baboons have pinked-rears and Aftab has high-hair. This small ring of coffee shops and fast-food joints sit at the bottom of a tall residential high-rise, a small walk from the estrogen-interchange that is Tehran's Vanak Square.

Girls studying boys studying girls studying boys studying each-other's hair

A lot of research is carried out at Aftab, girls studying boys studying girls studying boys studying each-other's hair. It's a labour of love but I'm sure they do it for the greater good of humanity. I might suggest a field study at Cafe Shocolat where one can sip maybe the finest hot-chocolate in Tehran while observing an inexhaustible supply sculpted fringes.

فرشته FERESHTEH (Angel)
A small road decorated with a walking portfolio from Tehran's finest surgeons. Yet they must only claim credit for laying the foundations, the additional refinements courtesy of Daler Rownry and/or steroids are the work of the wearer.

Fereshteh is limited in venues and seemingly limited in parking spaces. Getting Daddy's Beema tucked-in can take a few circuits yet the trouble is made up for by the equally attended to cakes. Damn those cakes are good, as layered an creamy as the faces that scoff them.