It’s finally here.
The first Slow Down London festival kicked off on Friday with, among other things, a very slow walk across Waterloo Bridge. Over the next 10 days, one of the world’s fastest cities will be exploring the benefits of putting on the brakes with a heaving smorgasbord of talks, activities, workshops and media coverage.
This is hugely exciting. If you’d said to me five years ago, when In Praise of Slow came out, that London would be holding a big Slow Down festival in 2009 I would have written you off as a dreamer. Or a loon. It shows how far the Slow revolution has come – and how fast.
Of course, skeptics say it’s impossible to slow down in London. But they are wrong. You don’t have to move to the country to decelerate. You can be slow anywhere because slow is a state of mind. It’s about how you use time.
Slow Down London does not aim turn this magnificent city into a Mediterranean holiday resort or a painting by John Constable. The energy and dynamism of London are wonderful The problem is that we get caught up in the frenzy and it backfires on us. We can get so much more out of London by slowing down a bit.
So if you live in or near London, I urge you to take part in some of the festival events. If you live somewhere else, why not start planning a Slow Down festival in your own town?
Tonight, I will be speaking at the Southbank centre about the Slow movement. On Monday, I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion about what the Slow movement means for crafts and the art of making things. And on Wednesday, I’m chairing a discussion about Slow travel.
In other words, it won’t be a very slow week for me…