Book Review: Slow London

By Lindsey Last edited 124 months ago
Book Review: Slow London

bookcover120410.jpg Following one of our number's valiant attempts to put the brakes on with Slow Club we received notice of a new London guide book aimed at helping us all do just that. 'Slow London' says 'live more, fret less' and signposts ways to slow your urban pace, bathe your senses in the city and do stuff around town that is holistic, sustainable and, most importantly, enjoyable.

Much of this is familiar. Since last year's Slow Down London festival we've engaged with the idea of making time for the things that matter, noticing what's around us and caring about our environment, family and friends. Slow is "a frame of mind" - as Slow posterboy Carl Honore reminds us - it's about finding your own rhythm, living in the now and thinking differently about time and what you can and want to achieve.

The chapter on 'touch' inspired us to hug trees although we recoiled in horror at 'cuddle parties'. We'll be sniffing more thoughtfully around markets, parks and Brick Lane, trying to follow the 'Eau Almanac' and the challenge to find spaces of silence is perennial. Advice from Tom Hodgkinson on 'Idle Parenting' made us wish we had some kids to try it out on and we can't be urged enough times to have a day disconnected; no phone, no MP3 player, no laptop, no nothing. Having recently tried taking an afternoon off to be a tourist, we can vouch for the joys of the 'holiday at home', visiting those attractions we'd normally avoid and taking leisurely strolls along the river whilst most are chained to their desks.

Slow London is usefully thematically organised and written with passion, although some of the contributions are hopelessly romantic. In fact, it seems it's impossible to go slow without eulogising its benefits and rewards. A sort of sylvan idealism permeates the guide and this may annoy some. There's an argument that any regular reader of Londonist probably doesn't need this book as bringing you things you might not have noticed or known about before and striking a balance between frenetic, alternative and even peculiar activity drives us every day. But there's definitely a market for this kind of hardy, highly readable paperback guide, perhaps as a gift to drop a hint to the hectic one in your life, especially since it has a donkey on its cover.

Slow London by Robin Barton and Hayley Cull is available now priced £12.99.

Browse the slow down London tag on Londonist

Last Updated 12 April 2010