'Slow' is an increasingly popular worldwide movement encouraging us to all, well, slow down. To take time out from our increasingly (and frequently self inflicted) hectic lives to appreciate what is around us, to take time to notice little things that were previously unnoticed, investigate places un-investigated, try new experiences and treat the world in a different, more relaxed and inquisitive manner.
Affirm Press's 'Slow Guides' to Melbourne and Sydney are the first (of hopefully many) in a series of handbooks to an alternative way of enjoying your favourite city. This review will focus on the Melbourne edition as it's where I live and the city I know best.
The guide is beautifully produced with a uniform mellowing combination of black, white and green throughout the book accompanying some finely crafted text, beautiful photos and illustrations. I've not lived in Melbourne for that long, so a lot of the places and experiences mentioned were new and surprising to me, but my wife has been here over ten years and most still surprised her, so there's your proof that we all spend far too much time rushing around like headless chickens, so that we need a book to tell us how to really discover our home city.
Some of my favourite snippets and factoid from the book include :
- Final confirmation that the Keith Haring-esque painting nears the Tote in Collingwood is actually an original Keith Haring.
- The old Melways tour of Melbourne to discover which buildings have come and gone since the edition was published.
- A very long list of unique (and generally free) views of Melbourne.
- The best places to indulge some of your more under-appreciated senses, such as smell.
- Why the visually appealing tiles outside of so many Melbourne pubs are at they height they are. (You wont touch them ever again?)
This is an easy and inspiring read, perfect to pop in your bag or even squeeze into a large pocket as you wander the streets with nothing in particular to do, but be warned, the book could cause some contradictory behaviour as you rush to leave work or study as rapidly as possible to get out into the big wide world and soak up some of the wonderful experiences mentioned.