On the wing

I've had an interesting day today. Up at 4.20 am to get the first flight to London. Taxi-plane-train-bus to get to the office for 9. A whole day of meetings and then everything in reverse to get home again. For all that it was long and involved a lot of whisking hither and thither it was the most enjoyable, relaxing day I've had since I got back to work. I like travelling for a start. I feel calm being in a state of in-betweeness - if I'm on the way somewhere I'm not bugging myself about all the more important things I should be doing at that moment (like I am if I'm at my desk or at home watching telly). I like planes and airports. I don't think they will ever stop being exciting and exotic. I like the train journey from Heathrow to Paddington. A great whizz of urban sprawl going from suburban semis, through brick terraces, high rises, low rises, factories, warehouses, train depots, old buildings, new buildings, shabby, posh, Trellick Tower, it's all there. Then a London bus, exciting because I never have a clue where I am but I've been there often enough to have my favourite landmarks pinpointed - the Park Lane Hilton, I love that building. And another world in miniature going from transport hubs and office blocks through that whole bit (what's it called?) where it's all Middle Eastern, then suddenly lots of parks and really posh bits. Soaking all that in set me up for a morning of meetings, then the lunchtime treat was a trip to Muji, my spiritual home, then more meetings - interesting and productive. On the way back I looked at the magazines in the business lounge and had fun wondered which of many was most inappropriate for me. Where to start - Pool and Spa User? So British? Success? I picked Wallpaper*, an old favourite and struggled with that, realising we parted company some time ago. Then back on the plane, staring out of the window mostly. Nice meal, diddy bottle of wine. It was busy but luxurious. I felt like I'd earnt the time sitting still and got home tired but satisfied.

Yeah, after four years in the city, I still love jumping on a bus at random and clocking the route- there's something very charming about the way they glide back and forth across the boundary between official London and the city perched behind it. The middle eastern bit you're talking about is probably the Edgeware Road.

Although I still bought Wallpaper* way into it's forties, I eventually realised I hadn't really enjoyed it for at least the previous ten issues and was only buying it out of habit. It had lost it's sense humour was now just a glorified gadget catalogue.
And the lengths I went to buy it too!
I had to catch a bus from Durham to Newcastle because only one WHSmiths in the entire North East carried it and if you got there the day after it came out, it was always sold out!

The Park Lane Hilton is also home to 'Trader Vics', which, I'm led to believe, is a rather fine Tiki Lounge bar.

Hi Ben - Edgeware Road sounds right, ta.

Hi Will, yes it's sad about Wallpaper*. It's all shiny things I don't want and can't afford. They used to have good examples of everyday design (I'm sure Tunnock's Tea Cakes were in it once) but there isn't anything distinctive in it any more. Although there is a lovely house in Sydney in the latest issue. Is Trader Vics posh then?

We do try and put affordable stuff in every now and again you know. It's a good point about the everyday design stuff though. Noted.

Blimey, I didn't know you worked for them. You get around, don't you?! I thought I'd said how I liked the bit about the 70s house in Sydney but must have edited that out. So I did like the architecture *cough*.

I'm actually, bizarrely, one of the architecture editors, but have a bit of influence over the other stuff. Which I clearly need to wield more.

That sounds good Jonathan. It's not that it's bad, just not as great as it was when it started. I suppose good design is more accessible now so maybe some things seem too obvious. I just got the impression I was well outside its target market. To be fair, my tastes have changed, so not all Wallpaper*'s fault.

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