Thursday, April 29, 2004

Being myself

I spent the day wandering around central London and had a mobile phone experience worth noting. At some point, despite being surrounded by people, I was feeling rather isolated and alone. The city is so congested, with so much ambient noise and visual stimulation, that I didn't recognise that my phone was ringing for several moments. But when I answered it, and heard a familiar voice from home, the surrounding noise receded and my loneliness was immediately replaced by something soft and comforting, and I felt myself again. Later on, I recalled moments of desperate isolation doing fieldwork in the remote Andes - those times when everything that makes me who I am were absent and I felt utterly dislocated. What a difference a mobile phone would have made! I looked around me and saw so many people, walking alone, disconnected from the people around them, and yet connected to people somewhere else. I wondered if it also helped them feel less alone and more themselves...

Central London is fun to walk around. The sex and fetish shops in Soho are entertaining, and brothels are marked by discrete signs that read "models" or by small red lights in the windows and men discretely coming and going. I think I may have to check out The Good Old Naughty Days while I am here as well.

Spent a few hours at the ICA in excellent company, and then another couple of hours browsing books on Charing Cross Road. I picked up a copy of the Metapolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture and Mark Kalesniko's Mail Order Bride. Sweet.

And I'm off to Manchester tomorrow for Futuresonic/Mobile Connections. More later.


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