“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
— Samuel Johnson, September 20, 1777
A London walkabout is the best way to clear one’s head. It’s great to take a break from the laptop or mobile phone every so often, and there’s no better way to fire up the creativity than to go walkabout in the greatest city on the planet.
Even before I moved to London, I loved that quote. I suppose it could apply to any of the other great cities of the world. If you lived in New York, Paris, Rome, Sydney or even Cape Town, and they had everything you wished for in a city, would you consider leaving?
Habit breeds complacency towards the places we live in. Just take a good look at our daily lives. The same plane, train or black cab conveying us on an identical route to the same place of work. We even eat at the same four or five restaurants. We go to the same movie theatre for our entertainment or watch the same TV channels. I age just thinking of the routine.
Creativity seldom settles in the same place for long, and you have to constantly go out looking for her. She needs to feel special, and you cannot expect her to keep the same routine or mundane hours for your comfort.
I use that excuse to walk the vibrant London streets, seeking out other artist’s work as they don pavements, walls and underpasses with temporary works of art. Street art is such a temporary art form, and no, I am not talking about the illegible graffiti you randomly see spray painted around. I am talking about the little bite-size fragments of creativity which people leave in obscure places, knowing full well, they’d be removed or probably vandalised by some lesser cretin.
What is it about your city that fires up your life?
Below are some of the pieces that caught my eye as I walked around, including another C215 piece for my collection.
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