What is SLOW?

A short animation that reminds us that SLOW is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about balance, or doing everything at the right speed. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, often a blend of the two….

The Day of Slow

Today is the International Day of Slowness.

Switch off your Blackberry. Turn off the TV. Go for a walk. Share a long, leisurely meal with friends or family. Read a story to your children. Take a nap in the middle of the day. Do some yoga. Spend the afternoon with a friend that you normally just speak to on Facebook. Channel the Pointer Sisters by bringing a slow hand to your lovemaking.

Wander round a forest or park. Smell the roses.

Or just sit still and do nothing for a few minutes. When was the last time you did that? And didn’t feel restless or guilty?

Do whatever slides you into a slower gear.

Just don’t try to squeeze all the suggestions on the list into a single day. That would turn slowing down into another exercise in rushing to cram everything in. Remember that less is more.

The bottom line is that this is a day to set your inner tortoise free. Don’t fret and overanalyze. Just do it!

Slow London

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…