I’m in London today; a place I lived happily for a couple of years and less happily for a couple more.
To me London is the epitomy of maximalism, more shops, bars, restaurants, and even sex shows than anywhere else in our fine country. It’s ahead of the game in so many things. However London is also like marmite. You love it or hate it. For a potential minimalist London can choke you with choice and opportunities.
I love it and hate it in equal measures. For art and culture it is unrivalled and I miss it terribly. For everything else the call of the north beats louder. Lots of space, unpolluted air and a beer for less than a fiver gets my vote every time.
So why am I wittering on about London? Because whatever your view there’s always something thought provoking or inspiring or challenging on every visit. Today it is this; the state of our nation epitomised by the repurposing of a good old red phone box. Once the only kind of mobile phone available, call boxes like these were a lifeline for those running late, young lovers who wanted to coo to each other out of the sight of parents and those for whom a phone line was a luxury not a necessity.
In South Kensington I came across this phone box-cash machine hybrid. This is the first I have ever seen of its kind. Actually it’s a really innovative use of the old boxes although for the aestheticians of us this is probably akin to gross bodily harm.
But the reason I stopped to take a photo of this was that to me it sums up society today. The emphasis now is on fast and convenience intermingled with wealth. The days of a phone call and face to face communication diminished with an ever increasing plethora of apps and smartphones. The latest of these, apple pay even removes the need to get your purse out. Quick transactions. Reduced interactions. All designed to keep the money coming. So whilst I was slightly amused at this phone box cash machine, I’m not surprised. To me it sums up London and modern living for so many and what people like me aspiring, simple living minimalists struggle with; fast money in a spend to feel better society.