With the new year comes the professional/personal stocktake. Assessment of those elements of your life you’re not happy with and the construction of hopeful solutions. My bugbear is location. If I could live anywhere tomorrow it would be Sydney, Washington DC or San Francisco, in that order, but I can’t. So London it is.
My brief wish list comprises cities in which I have felt ‘at home’ almost immediately on arrival. There are obvious elements that seduce and charm in a city, suburb or district – architecture, galleries and libraries, a great row of useful shops and cafes, or a well laid out park – but beyond this checklist, finding what draws you to a place is less tangible. So all I can do is write out the checklist and walk the streets of the city that seems to charm everyone but me.
I’ve lived in London before, briefly, in between Oxford and Sydney but didn’t have the chance to explore much beyond Angel and Southwark tube stations as I made my way from home to work and back again. This time will be different.
Next month I’m going to try an experiment – visiting fourteen suburbs/districts in London in fourteen days. The Two Week Tourist. You can’t do this sort of survey from the warm, dry comfort of a car or taxi so I’ll be on foot. Please join me in praying for good weather!
If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
In the mean time, I have some paper based research that joins existing publications on my shelves from Time Out, Dan Ackroyd, Max Fraser, Arthur Conan Doyle and Saska Gravill.
1. Reuel Golden – London. Portrait of a City
2. Virginia Woolf – The London Scene
3. Iain Sinclair – London Orbital
4. Norman Collins – London Belongs to Me
5. Emily Wheeler and Ingrid Rasmussen – Creative London
(And of course the A to Z to help join the dots.)
And for when that all becomes to much, two books that have been on my wish list for some time.
6. Alexandra Lange – Writing About Architecture
7. Ada Louise Huxtable – On Architecture – Collected Reflections on a Century of Change
So, Happy New Year!