“The story is always better than your ability to write it.” — Robin McKinley
It’s strange that it takes a few days to re-orient myself in London. Not that I’ve been here often, but I’ve spent more than a month in the last year. Enough that I’m starting to get a sense of the flow. At least in the parts I roam.
I’ll say: running – as it did in Berlin – helps me see parts of the city. I’ve become familiar with the Hyde Park area.
But my love – always my love – is Soho. If I lived here, I suspect I’d need a place that was close. (Although Hyde Park is certainly a close second.)
The main reason: I love Bar Italia. Which is odd, since not only is there no Wifi…there’s not even reception for cell phones in the place. It’s the least tech-friendly place on the planet. (There’s not even room on the counter for a laptop. You can literally do nothing digital in this place.)
Of course, my camera still works.
Part of the reason I’m here, though, is to work with Nina on a writing workshop at The Soho Theater. I met Nina last year in Liverpool and we’ve been plotting this ever since. We have 11 playwrights, artists and other sorts who have volunteered to spend six nights with us, working on telling stories on new platforms.
It’s been amazing to work with Nina. She runs the Writing Center (re: Centre) at The Soho Theater. I’ve already stolen several ideas for my Digital Storytelling class next fall.
Of course, it’s not all coffee and theater. I’ve also got some friends scattered around town. One of my favorites – actually, they are a group of favorites – are the Made By Many crew. When I was invited to their offices, I nearly fainted. I was not expecting this.
For good reason, it turns out. Made By are in the basement of this building. That, my friends, is why I am friends with this group.
My main partner in crime, though, is Tim. Aleks Krotoski introduced us two years ago at South by Southwest Interactive and we’ve been causing trouble ever since. I’d tell you what Tim does, by Made By has no titles. As far as I can tell, he’s in charge of wandering around.
But it can’t all be ugly and bald in London. Too much of Tim and I in the same place and a giant vortex forms. This Void of Work is not good for the planet.
I had the chance to catch up with my friend Joanna, whom I believe I met at South by Southwest Interactive as well although she could just as easily have come to me through Twitter. Whatever the case, she’s an amazing digital journalist working at The Times of London, which is doing some very talked about things.
We, though, had better things to do. Like: take pictures of coffee. (Also: nice glass!)
We met at St. Katherine’s Docks, a very geographically confusing – but beautiful – place by the Tower of London.
The odd story from this: while I was walking to lunch, Mike Bloxham – my colleague at Ball State University – snuck up behind me. Turns out he’s in town for a day and happened to have a scheduled lunch at the same restaurant.
Such is my life.
Really, though, I’ve spent a bit of time just wandering around the city, jetting from place to place. In London, this means side streets and back alleyws.
This my favorite back alley in London. (Notice the sign: The Bar.) It’s just across from Soho Park.