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Monday, October 29, 2012
Tom Jones is a London blogger and author of Tired of London, Tired of Life: One thing a day to do in London.
Q. What is the philosophy behind Tired of London, Tired of Life?
A. As most of your readers will probably know, the name is based on a quote from Dr Samuel Johnson , who in 1777, was talking to his friend James Boswell, who was considering moving to London but was concerned that if he did, he'd get tired of it. Johnson thought this was an abomination, and replied "No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life...for there is in London all that life can afford."
I found this very inspiring, because at that stage I'm sure Johnson genuinely believed that there was in London all that life can afford, yet London was about a tenth the size it is now and places like Hackney and Hampstead were villages in the country. Heathrow was a tiny place no one had ever heard - of a day's walk from London. I think Johnson would be amazed at today's London, the sheer volume of people, of things to see and do would have really underlined his statement that "there is in London all that life can afford". My blog, and the book which I published earlier this year of the same name, set out to do that by showcasing one interesting thing to do in London every day.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration from?
A. I never really planned to write a website or a book on London, it happened. I was genuinely feeling a bit tired of London back in the autumn of 2008 having lived here for quite a while, as friends started to move on, but rather than moving away myself I decided to refocus on London and see all the things which I had still to see.
In January 2009 I made a New Year's resolution to start suggesting one thing a day to do in London on a website, and as I did it, people started reading it and that really motivated me. When I need inspiration, I just step out through the door into London and close it behind me, and I am inspired by the city. When I was researching my book, which was released earlier this year, I found I could spend days sat in the library reading through books but by far the best inspiration was to just go out and see things and I still find that's the case.
Q. How much research do you have to do in order to come up with a new place each day?
A. It does take commitment to keep it going, but I quite like it. It's something that pushes me out of the door and gets me to look at the city in a new way. I fear now that if I ever didn't have things to write about I might stagnate in the evenings and weekends and just sit in every weekend and every night, but as it is I have something to motivate me.
And whilst it takes a lot of research, the research is going out and seeing and doing things, which is what I really love to do, so it's the best sort of research I can imagine.
Q. Out of all of the places you've blogged about so far which is your favourite?
A. I find it hard to choose a favourite from the last week, let alone a favourite from years of writing every day. My favourites are when I go out to something I really enjoy of an evening and get back just in time to write it up and schedule it for the morning before I go to bed.
Q. If someone told you that you only had one more day to spend in London, what would you spend it doing and why?
A. I love to walk in London, and I love pubs, so that's what I'd do. I'd start on Blackheath and walk across and down through Greenwich Park (if they ever get it properly reopened after the Olympic horse prancing) then through the Old Royal Naval College, visit Greenwich Market and see the art at the Queen's House, then catch the boat into town. I'd visit the Tate Modern, walk along the South Bank for a glass of wine and some lunch at Gordon's. Then, I would catch the Northern Line up to Hampstead and meet my friends for a walk across the Heath and some pub conversation as the sun goes down.
Get more of Tom's thoughts on Twitter at @tiredoflondon and see his blog www.tiredoflondontiredoflife.com