Transcript: Carl Honore on his book In Praise of Slow | Jun 26, 2004

Carl Honore stands behind a podium in a library. He’s in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He’s wearing a blue suit, gray sweater and white shirt.

He says I JUST LIKE TO
SAY HOW WONDERFUL IT IS TO BE
BACK IN CANADA.
UH, I LIVE, AS YOU'VE HEARD IN
LONDON, ENGLAND.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Carl Honoré. Author, ‘In praise of slow.’ U of T Bookstore Reading Series. May 17, 2004."

Carl continues I HAVE JUST BEEN
TOURING IN THE U.S. AND I ALSO
FIND IT A GREAT RELIEF TO BE
BACK AMONG FAMILIAR FACES,
FAMILIAR SOUNDS, FAMILIAR
SIGHTS, FAMILIAR VOICES.
BUT ON THIS TOUR
PERHAPS, MORE THAN ANY OTHER
VISIT, UM, BEFORE I, I NOTICED
THE DOWNSIDE, WHICH IS THAT
CANADA SEEMS TO HAVE GOTTEN SO
MUCH FASTER, SO MUCH FASTER THEN
I FIRST LEFT WHICH WAS BACK IN
THE 1980s.
AND I GUESS I'VE NOTICED ON THIS
TOUR, I'VE BEEN TOURING FOR MY
BOOK NOW FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS,
THAT THE, THE SUPREME IRONY OF
WRITING A BOOK ON THE BENEFITS
OF SLOWNESS IS THAT YOU FIND
YOURSELF PROMOTING IT AT
INCREDIBLY HIGH SPEED.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues I'VE SPENT THE
LAST FOUR NIGHTS UH, SHUTTLING
FROM STUDIO TO STUDIO FROM
INTERVIEW-TO-INTERVIEW SERVING
UP SOUND BYTES AFTER SOUND
BYTES.
UM, EVERYBODY WANTS TO KNOW HOW
TO SLOW DOWN AND THEY WANT TO
SLOW DOWN RIGHT AWAY.
REALLY FAST, YOU KNOW?

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues UH, JUST BEFORE
I LEFT IN FACT, A BRITISH EDITOR
FROM ONE OF THE LEADING WOMEN'S
MAGAZINE CALLED ME UP AND SAID,
“CARL, I NEED SIX TIPS ON HOW
WOMEN CAN SLOW DOWN AND I NEED
THEM IN HALF AN HOUR.”

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues AND I, I WAITED
FOR HER TO LAUGH AND SHE DIDN'T.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues UM, WHICH I
SUPPOSE ISN'T SURPRISING REALLY
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE WAY THE
WORLD HAS, HAS, HAS GOT, UM,
BECAUSE THAT'S THE WAY THE
THINGS ARE.
WE LIVE NOW IN A WORLD OBSESSED
WITH GOING FASTER.
A WORLD MARINATED IN A KIND OF
CULTURE OF SPEED.
WE HAVE TO MOVE QUICKLY AT WORK,
BUT THAT FAST FORWARD MODE SLIPS
OUT OF THE OFFICE, THE FACTORY
AND FOLLOWS US HOME, SO THAT WE
FIND OURSELVES RACING AGAINST
THE CLOCK EACH MOMENT OF THE
DAY, NO MATTER WHAT WE'RE DOING.
EVERYTHING TURNS INTO A KIND OF
ENDLESS DASH TOWARDS THE FINISH
LINE THAT WE NEVER EVER SEEM TO
REACH.
THERE'S NEVER ENOUGH TIME.
FASTER IT SEEMS, IS ALWAYS
BETTER.
JUST THINK ABOUT IT, WE--INSTEAD
OF WALKING, WE SPEED WALK.
INSTEAD OF DIALLING, WE SPEED
DIAL.
INSTEAD OF READING, WE SPEED
READ.
NOW INSTEAD OF DATING, WE SPEED
DATE.
AND THIS COMPULSION TO
ACCELERATE, TO SAVE A COUPLE OF
SECONDS HERE, A MINUTE THERE, TO
MOVE THROUGH THINGS MORE AND
MORE QUICKLY IS REACHING MORE
REALLY QUITE ABSURD PROPORTIONS,
IT SEEMS TO ME.
EVERY TIME I TURN ON THE RADIO
OR PICK UP A NEWSPAPER, THERE'S
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THIS CULTURAL
OBSESSION WITH SPEED AND I'LL
JUST THROW ONE EXAMPLE OUT NOW
TO YOU, UM, APPARENTLY WEBSITE
ADDRESSES ARE TOO SLOW.
IN THE SENSE THAT SOMEONE HAS
CALCULATED THAT UM, OR SOMEONE
HAS NOTICED, I SHOULD SAY, THAT
'W' AS IN WWW, IS THE ONLY
LETTER IN THE ALPHABET THAT HAS
TWO SYLLABLES, WHICH MEANS OF
COURSE, THAT IT TAKES US TWICE
AS LONG TO SAY, AS IF SOMEONE
HAD IF SOMEONE HAS CHOSEN A
SINGLE SYLLABLE LETTER FOR A,
FOR A WEBSITE ADDRESS.
SO IF IT WERE TTT, IT WOULD BE
JUST THAT LITTLE FRACTION OF A
SECOND FASTER TO SAY AND IF THAT
WEREN'T LUDICROUS ENOUGH, UM, I
MEAN IT SEEMS TO ME SOMEONE HAS
TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS, IF
THEY MANAGED TO WORK THAT OUT...

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues THAT IF THAT
WEREN'T SILLY ENOUGH, UH,
SOMEONE AND I THINK THEY'RE
PROBABLY BASED IN MANHATTAN HAS
LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN TO CHANGE
WEBSITE ADDRESSES, UH, TO A
SINGLE SYLLABLE LETTER, SO THAT
WE CAN GET THROUGH THEM JUST
THAT LITTLE BIT FASTER.
NOW THE PROBLEM
ARISES, UH, THAT WE KNOW WE'RE
GOING FAST AND WE KNOW IT DOES
US HARM, BUT SOMEHOW WE FAIL TO
MAKE THE CONNECTION SO WE GO
FASTER AND FASTER, AND IN A WAY
WE FAIL TO TAKE STOP OF THE
DAMAGE THAT IT DOES TO US, THE
DAMAGE IT DOES TO OUR HEALTH,
OUR WORK, TO OUR DIET, TO OUR
RELATIONSHIPS.
AND FOR MANY PEOPLE REALIZING
THAT THEY'RE ON THE HIGH-SPEED
TREADMILL AND THAT THEY'RE STUCK
ON FULL-THROTTLE, COMES IN A
FORM OF QUITE OF A SERIOUS
WAKEUP CALL, FOR MANY THAT'S AN
ILLNESS, IT COULD BE AN ULCER,
SOMETIMES A HEART ATTACK OR
MAYBE A BREAKDOWN, OTHER PEOPLE
FIND THAT THEIR RELATIONSHIPS
FALL APART BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T
HAD THE TIME, THE TRANQUILITY,
THE SLOWNESS TO INVEST IN THEM.
FOR ME, THE TURNING POINT CAME
WHEN I BEGAN READING BEDTIME
STORIES TO MY 2-YEAR OLD SON.
NOW, ANYONE WHO HAS ANY
EXPERIENCE WITH CHILDREN KNOWS
THAT THEY DON'T TAKE KINDLY TO
BEING HURRIED.
SOMETIMES THEY LIKE TO DO THINGS
FAST, BUT MUCH OF THE TIME THEY
LIKE TO DRIFT ALONG AT A KIND OF
GENTLE, MEANDERING PACE AND
NEVER MORE SO THEN THEY ARE
HAVING BEDTIME STORIES BEING
READ TO THEM.
BUT BACK IN THE BAD OLD DAYS AND
WE'RE TALKING 3-YEARS AGO NOW
BEFORE I WROTE THIS BOOK, THAT
DIDN'T REALLY COUNT FOR MUCH IN
MY WORLD.
I WAS CAUGHT IN THE FAST TRACK.
I WAS ALWAYS LOOKING TO DO
THINGS QUICKLY AND SO BEDTIME
STORIES BECAME, INSTEAD OF A FEW
PRESSURE TENDER MOMENT AT THE
END OF THE DAY WITH MY SON, IT
BECAME ANOTHER BOX TO TICK ON MY
'TO DO' LIST.
SO I FOUND MYSELF, WHIZZING
THROUGH “THE CAT AND THE HAT,”
SKIPPING A LINE HERE, A
PARAGRAPH THERE, SOMETIMES EVEN
A WHOLE PAGE.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues AND I COULD TELL
YOU THAT MY SON DID NOTICED AND
WE WOULD QUARREL AND HE WOULD
TELL ME TO SLOW DOWN, HE'D TELL
ME TO READ THE BIT THAT I
SKIPPED.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues UM, AND I CAN
TELL NOW AND I KNEW IT THEN THAT
IT WAS A DEEPLY, UNSATISFYING
WAY TO BE GOING ABOUT WHAT, WHAT
SHOULD BE ONE OF THE MOST
PRECIOUS EPISODES OF THE DAY.
BUT THERE I WAS, HURDLING ALONG
THROUGH “GREEN EGGS AND HAM,” I
FOUND MYSELF, ONE DAY AT IN
AIRPORT IN ROME DASHING TO CATCH
A FLIGHT WHEN I PICKED UP A
NEWSPAPER AND IT WAS, I THINK IT
WAS THE
INTERNATIONAL HERALD
TRIBUNE,
WHICH IS OF
COURSE, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU KNOW
IT, BUT IT'S THE BIBLE FOR FAST
PEOPLE.
PEOPLE LOOKING TO GET THROUGH
THINGS EFFICIENTLY, QUICKLY AND
THERE WAS A PIECE IN THE
LIFESTYLE SECTION WITH LOTS OF
TIPS FOR THESE FAST PEOPLE, I
WAS AMONG THEM.
LITTLE HINTS ON HOW TO SAVE A
SECOND HERE, HOW TO GET THROUGH
THAT DAY A LITTLE BIT FASTER AND
I NOTICED THAT ONE OF THEM WAS
ENTITLED “THE ONE MINUTE BEDTIME
STORY.”

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues NOW, I CAN LAUGH
NOW AND YOU CAN LAUGH ABOUT IT
AS WELL, THAT AT THE TIME I
DIDN'T LAUGH.
MY FIRST REACTION WAS “EUREKA!”
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I'VE BEEN
LOOKING FOR.
I HAVE FOUND THE TOOL THE WILL
ALLOW ME TO ACCELERATE THE
BEDTIME RITUAL JUST THAT LITTLE
BIT MORE.
BUT THEN, A LIGHT BULB WENT ON
OVER MY HEAD AND I THOUGHT TO
MYSELF...
“HANG ON.
HAS IT REALLY COME TO THIS?
HAVE I BECOME SO OBSESSED WITH
GOING FASTER AND FASTER THAT I
AM REALLY WILLING TO FAULT MY
SON OFF WITH A SOUND BYTE
BEDTIME STORY?”
SO FOR THE FIRST
TIME IN A VERY LONG TIME, I PUT
THE PAPER AWAY, GOT ONTO THE
PLAIN AND DIDN'T OPEN MY LAPTOP,
DIDN'T READ A MAGAZINE, DIDN'T
FIDDLE ON MY NOTEBOOK, I JUST
SAT THERE AND THOUGHT AND I
BEGAN TO THINK ABOUT HOW SPEED
HAD BECOME AN ADDICTION IN MY
LIFE AND HOW I WASN'T ALONE.
HOW MANY OF US WERE CAUGHT UP IN
THE CULT OF HURRY, HECTICNESS,
GOING QUICKLY.
AND I BEGAN TO ASK MYSELF THE
QUESTIONS THAT UH, LYE AT THE
HEART OF THIS BOOK WHICH ARE,
HOW, HOW DID WE GET SO FAST?,
WHY ARE WE ALWAYS IN SUCH A
RUSH? AND IS IT POSSIBLE OR EVEN
DESIRABLE TO SLOW DOWN.
NOW, ENTIRELY AGAINST THE SPIRIT
OF THE BOOK, I'M GOING TO
SUMMARIZE THE BOOK QUITE QUICKLY
FOR YOU.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues UH, JUST TO GIVE
YOU A TASTE OF IT, SOMETIMES ONE
JUST HAS TO GO FAST I
DISCOVERED, UH, WE'LL COME TO
THAT LATER.
UM, SO WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT WHY
WE ARE SO FAST, YOU HAVE TO
START I SUPPOSE AND HERE IT
IS GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIT
SKIMMING THE SURFACE, BUT
LOOKING AT SOME OF THE USUAL
SUSPECTS.
SO, URBANIZATION, CITIES ATTRACT
FAST PEOPLE.
BUT THEY MAKE THEM FASTER ALL
THOSE BODIES TIGHT SPACE,
COMPETING FOR, FOR ROOM, FOR THE
LIGHT, FOR MONEY.
THEY ACT AS GIANT PARTICLE
ACCELERATORS MAKING PEOPLE
FASTER AND FASTER.
OF COURSE THE WORKPLACE, EVER
TIGHTENING DEADLINES, THAT MAKES
US QUICKER.
CONSUMERISM, THAT GNAWING
DESIRES APPETITE TO HAVE IT ALL,
TO DO MORE AND MORE.
AND THEN TECHNOLOGY, CELL
PHONES, E-MAIL, EVERYBODY WANTS
AN INSTANT RESPONSE, EVERYBODY
EXPECTS AN INSTANT RESPONSE.
BUT I THINK WHEN YOU CUT THROUGH
SOME OF THESE HISTORICAL TRENDS
OR CONCRETE PHENOMENA, YOU COME
TO THE UNDERLYING OR ONE OF THE
UNDERLYING FACTORS, WHICH IS OUR
VERY RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME
ITSELF.
AND IN THE WEST WE HAVE THIS
VERY FIXED NOTION WHICH BENJAMIN
FRANKLIN PUT INTO A NEAT
APHORISM FOREST IN 1748, WHICH
IS THAT “TIME IS MONEY,” AND
THOSE THREE WORDS SEEM TO HAVE
COME TO DEFINE IN MANY WAYS THE
MODERN ERA.
AND WHAT WE DO WITH THAT LITTLE
THREESOME OF WORDS “TIME IS
MONEY,” IS THAT WE THINK TO
OURSELVES, WELL WHAT IS THE BEST
WAY TO GET VALUE FOR MONEY?
AND THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS SPEED.
TO DO MORE, TO GO FASTER, TO
PACK MORE AND MORE INTO EVERY
MINUTE, EVERY HOUR, EVERY DAY.
AND THIS OBSESSION WITH TIME AND
HOW WE CAN GET THE MOST OF IT
AND THE WAY TO GET MOST OF IT
BEING RUSHING, REALLY TAKES ON
ABSURD PROPORTIONS SOMETIMES.
SOMEONE SENT ME AN ARTICLE, UM,
A COMIC, A CARTOON FROM A
MAGAZINE AND I THINK IT'S FROM
THE NEW YORKER
RECENTLY,
WHICH SUMMED THIS UP NEATLY AND
IT DEPICTED A PINSTRIPED YUPPIE
IN A DELI ON HIS LUNCH BREAK,
WAITING IMPATIENTLY FOR HIS
SANDWICH TO BE MADE BY THE
ATTENDANT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF
THE COUNTER AND HE'S PEERING
OVER AND CLEARLY VERY ITCHY AND
WANTS TO GET ON.
THE ATTENDANT'S TAKING TOO LONG
TO SLATHER THE MUSTARD ON THE
PASTRAMI.
AND THE BUBBLE ABOVE HIS HEAD
SAYS, “HURRY UP, HURRY UP, I'VE
ONLY HAVE A FEW DECADES LEFT ON
THIS PLANET.”

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues AND I THINK IN A
WAY THAT KIND OF UNDERLINES AND
THROWS INTO SHARP RELIEF HOW
ABSURD AND HOW SILLY THE
EQUATION, TIME IS MONEY
THEREFORE GO FASTER REALLY IS.
SO THE QUESTION BEFORE IS
TONIGHT AND THE QUESTION BEFORE
ME WHEN I BEGAN WRITING THE BOOK
IS CAN WE BREAK FREE FROM THIS
MINDSET?
CAN WE, CAN WE SLOW DOWN?
AND THE ANSWER, THANKFULLY, AND
THE REASON I'M STANDING BEFORE
YOU TONIGHT IS A RESOUNDING YES.
ACROSS THE WORLD, THERE IS A
POPULAR GROUND SWELL AGAINST
THIS CULTURE OF
DO EVERYTHING
FASTER.
PEOPLE IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE ARE
DOING, WHAT'S TO MANY TO US
SEEMS UNTHINKABLE, THEY'RE
SLOWING DOWN AND THEY'RE FINDING
THAT SLOWER IS VERY OFTEN
BETTER.
NOW, I'M JUST GOING TO LOOK
BRIEFLY IN DIFFERENT WAYS IN
WHICH PEOPLE ARE SLOWING DOWN
BECAUSE MY BOOK IS BROKEN DOWN
INTO DIFFERENT CHAPTERS, SO I
LOOK AT HOW THIS PRINCIPLE OF
SLOWER IS BETTER APPLIES
EVERYWHERE FROM THE WORKPLACE TO
THE KITCHEN, TO THE BEDROOM, TO
CHILDREN AND SO ON, AND I'M JUST
GOING TO MENTION A FEW OF THE,
THE MAIN POINTS HERE.
SO IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE
WORKPLACE, UM, MANY CANADIANS,
OBVIOUSLY ARE WORKING VERY LONG
HOURS, BUT MANY OTHERS ARE
CHOOSING TO WORK FEWER HOURS.
WORK LIFE BALANCES THE BUZZ WORD
ON EVERYONE'S LIPS.
EUROPE HAS GONE FURTHER; OF
COURSE, AND WORKING HOURS THERE
COME DOWN CONSIDERABLE OVER THE
LAST 20 YEARS AND THE E.U.
RECENTLY IMPOSED A 48-HOUR
MAXIMUM WORK WEEK, OBVIOUSLY
WITH OPT-OUTS.
NOT EVERYONE IS WORKING
UNDERNEATH 48-HOURS, BUT A LINE
HAS BE DRAWN IN THE SAND, WHICH
GIVES PEOPLE THE LEGISLATIVE
TOOLS TO ALLOW, TO, TO, TO WIN
THE RIGHT TO WORK LESS, TO HAVE
MORE LEISURE, TO HAVE MORE
REST.
EVEN JAPAN, WORKAHOLIC JAPAN
WHERE THEY HAVE A WORD
KOROSHI, WHICH MEANS DEATH BY
OVERWORK.
EVEN THE JAPANESE ARE WAKING UP
TO THE FACE THAT THERE'S MORE TO
LIFE THEN TO BEING CHAINED TO
THE DESK AND THEY'RE WORKING
FEWER HOURS AND EMBRACING THE
IDEA THAT LEISURE COULD EVEN BE
GOOD FOR THEM.
UM, AND I CAM ACROSS AN
INTERESTING ILLUSTRATION OF
THIS, APPARENTLY,
WINNIE THE POOH
HAS FOR THE FIRST
TIME EVER BECOME THE BIGGEST
GROSSING MERCHANDISING CARTOON
CHARACTER IN, IN JAPAN AND THIS
IS SEEM TO BE AN EXAMPLE OF HOW
THE JAPANESE ARE EMBRACING THIS
IDEA OF THE WONDERFULNESS OF
BEING SLOW, MUMBLING,
INEFFICIENT.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues UM, AND IT'S NOT
JUST A QUESTION OF WORKING FEWER
HOURS, IT CAN BE A QUESTION OF
WORKING MORE SLOWLY.
UM, MANY OF US IN THE WORKPLACE
FIND OURSELVES CONSTANTLY WITH
OUR FOOT ON THE ACCELERATOR.
UM, BUT IT MAKE SENSE OFTEN TO
TAKE A BREAK, TO GET AWAY FROM
DESKTOP DIMING--DINING.
TAKE A LUNCH
BREAK, GO AWAY FOR A FEW MINUTES
TO BE QUIET IN A ROOM WHERE
THERE ARE NO PHONES, AND THEN
PEOPLE COME BACK REFRESHED, MORE
PRODUCTIVE THEN THEY WOULD HAVE
BEEN IF THEY STAYED CHAINED TO
THEIR LAPTOP, TO THEIR COMPUTER,
TO THEIR DESK.
I SAW AN EXAMPLE
OF THIS IN THE HEAD OFFICE OF ORACLE
IN TOKYO, SO
YOU'RE TALKING ONE THE FASTEST
INDUSTRIES IN THE WORLD,
OBVIOUSLY, IN ONE OF THE FASTEST
CITIES, PEOPLE DOING 12-HOURS DAYS.
UH, THERE WAS A MAN THERE, I SAW
WITH JUGGLING 3 CELL PHONES AND
HE SAID TO ME, THAT ORACLE HAD
RECENTLY HAD BUILD A MEDITATION
ROOM IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS MAIL
STORM OF HURRIENT AND BUSINESS
BRISKNESS AND HE SAID AT FIRST
THAT PEOPLE DIDN'T WANT TO GO
THERE BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT
THEY'D BE WASTING TIME.
AND THEN SLOWLY BUT SURELY THEY
BEGAN TO, TO SLIP IN FOR A FEW
MINUTES HERE OR THERE, TO BE
QUIET FOR 5-10 MINUTES, TO START
MEDIATING EVEN AND NOW THEY ALL GO.
AND HE SAID TO ME, “WELL YOU
THINK THAT TAKING 10-15 MINUTES
OFF FROM THE DAY IS 10-15 WASTED
MINUTES BECAUSE YOU'VE SLOWED
DOWN, BUT ACTUALLY IT DOESN'T
WORK THAT WAY.
YOU COME BACK, YOU'RE SHARPER,
YOU GET A LOT MORE DONE IN THE
REST OF THE DAY.”
THE SAME--THE
PRINCIPLE AGAIN APPLIES
ELSEWHERE, IF YOU LOOK AT
EXERCISE, PEOPLE ARE EMBRACING
SLOWER FORMS OF EXERCISES, YOGA,
TAICHI, FINDING THAT IT NOT ONLY
BUILDS BETTER BODIES BUT HELPS
PEOPLE SLOW DOWN GENERALLY.
WE'RE ALSO TURNING TO SLOWER,
OLDER FORMS OF LEISURE, THINGS
LIKE KNITTING, GARDENING,
READING.
HOBBIES THAT WERE SCORN NOT SO
LONG AGO AS BEING, YOU KNOW,
BELONGING TO A BYGONE ERA, ARE
NOT MAKING A ROARING COMEBACK.
AND THEN FOOD, MANY OF YOU WILL
HAVE HEARD OF THE SLOW FOOD
MOVEMENT, WHICH STARTED IN ITALY
AS A BACKLASH AGAINST FAST FOOD,
UH, AND HAS NOW SPREAD ACROSS
THE PLANET TO TAKE IN 80,000
MEMBERS IN 50 COUNTRIES
INCLUDING CANADA.
JAMIE KENNEDY, A LOCAL STAR CHEF
BEING A POSTER BOY FOR THE
MOVEMENT.
FEW THINGS SUFFER MORE FROM TOO
MUCH SPEED THEN, THEN TOO MUCH
FOOD.
BUT PEOPLE ARE WAKING UP TO THAT
FACT, INSTEAD OF FULFILLING THE
COSMOPOLITAN PROPHECY OF THREE-
DECADES AGO THAT WE WOULD SPEND
OUR LIVES HURDLING DOWN
SUPERMARKET AISLES, GRABBING
READY MEALS AND COMING HOME AND
COOKING THEM IN THE MICROWAVES.
PEOPLE ARE INSTEAD, GOING TO
FARMER'S MARKETS, COMING HOME
AND COOKING THINGS FROM SCRATCH.
OUT OF SLOW FOOD HAS GROWN A
MOVIE--A MOVEMENT CALLED SLOW
CITIES, WHICH IS ABOUT TAKING
SOME OF THE EXCESS SPEED AND
STRESS OUT OF URBAN LIFE AND
THAT CAN TAKE MANY FORMS, UH,
CALMING TRAFFIC AND ENCOURAGING
PEOPLE TO WALK, UM, PUTTING OUT
PARK BENCHES FOR PEOPLE TO SIT
DOWN AND SMELL THE ROSES AND
TALK TO THE NEIGHBOURS AND EVEN
TO STRANGERS, HEAVEN FORBID.
AND THE SLOW CITY'S MOVEMENT HAS
MOVED OUT ITALY AND HAS SWEPT
RIGHT ACROSS EUROPE.
HERE IN NORTH AMERICA, WE DON'T
HAVE THE SLOW CITY'S MOVEMENT
BUT WE HAVE PEOPLE MOVING BACK
INTO DOWNTOWN CORES BECAUSE
THEY'RE TIRED OF DRIVING,
THEY'RE TIRED OF LONG COMMUTES,
THEY WANT TO BE SOMEWHERE WHERE
THEY CAN WALK AND CYCLE TO WORK,
TO SHOP, TO LIVE IN A SENSE,
MORE, MORE SLOWLY.
AND THINK OF SEX, I KNOW I OFTEN DO.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues UM, SEX, SEX IS
ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER ACTIVITY
WHICH BENEFITS FROM SLOWNESS.
NOT SO LONG AGO WE LAUGHED
UPROARIOUSLY WHEN STING
CONFESSED TO A FOND FOR TANTRIC
SEX AND MARATHON LOVE MAKING
SESSIONS WITH HIS WIFE.
BUT NOW EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK,
COUPLES, COUPLE ARE FLOCKING TO
WORKSHOPS TO LEARN THE ART OF
SLOWER LOVE MAKING, SOMETIMES
TANTRIC AND SOMETIMES OTHER
FORMS.
UM, THE POINTER SISTERS, OF
COURSE SAID IT BEST, YOU KNOW, A
LOVER WITH A SLOW HAND AND
PEOPLE ARE REDISCOVERING THE
JOYS OF, OF HAVING A SLOW HAND
IN THE BEDROOM.
AND ONCE AGAIN, THE ITALIANS
HAVE GONE ON THE SLOW BANDWAGON
AND LAUNCHED A SLOW SEX
MOVEMENT.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues AND, LASTLY, I
WILL COME BACK TO CHILDREN AGAIN
BECAUSE ONE OF THE SORRIEST
CONSEQUENCES OF OUR SPEED
CULTURE IS THAT WE PASSED IT
ON TO OUR CHILDREN.
WE HURRY THEM, WE RUSH THEM,
WE PUSH THEM TOO HARD, WE OVER
SCHEDULE THEM AND THEY'RE PAYING
A PRICE IN STRESS, IN ILLNESS,
IN UNHAPPINESS AND FATIGUE.
BUT AGAIN, THERE IS HOPE, THERE
IS A BACKLASH AGAINST, AGAINST
THIS OVER HURRYING, THIS
SPEEDING UP OF, OF CHILDHOOD.
SO YOU FIND PARENTS ALL OVER THE
WORLD CUTTING BACK ON EXTRA-
CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, GIVING
THEIR CHILDREN TIME TO, TO BE
ALONE, TO PORTER AROUND THE
GARDEN, TO BE BORED, TO LET
THEIR IMAGINATIONS WANDER, TO,
TO BE CHILDREN.
AND IN SCHOOLS, EVEN THOUGH I
UNDERSTAND THAT HERE IN ONTARIO
THEY HAVE BEEN PILING ON THE
HOMEWORK, ELSEWHERE, THEY'RE
REALIZING THAT TOO MUCH HOMEWORK
IS NOT A GOOD THING, TOO MUCH
SCHOOLWORK, TOO MUCH STRESS--
STRESS IN THE CLASSROOM, TOO
MUCH PRESSURE TO GO, GO, GO IN
EDUCATION ACTUALLY BACKFIRES IN
THE LONG-RUN.
SO JAPAN, FOR INSTANCE, HAS
RECENTLY ABOLISHED CLASSES ON
SATURDAYS.
AND THERE WAS AN INTERESTING
EXAMPLE JUST BEFORE I LEFT
BRITAIN OF A PRINCIPLE FROM A
PRIVATE SCHOOL, A VERY SWANKY
PRIVATE SCHOOL, 30,000 A YEAR
PREP SCHOOL CHILDREN AGED FROM 7-11.
ALL THE PARENTS HIGH ACHIEVERS,
GO, GO, GO, DIDN'T WANT THEIR
CHILDREN TO BE RELAXING, THEY
WANTED THEIR NOSE TO THE
GRINDSTONE, AROUND THE CLOCK.
AND THIS PRINCIPLE, BUCK
BERTRAND AND SAID THERE'S NOT
GOING TO BE ANYMORE HOMEWORK IN
THIS SCHOOL.
THE CHILDREN NEED TIME ON THEIR
OWN.
THEY NEED TIME TO BE SLOW IN THE
EVENINGS.
THEY NEED TIME TO RELAX.
AND THE PARENTS, THERE WAS,
THERE WAS A VIRTUAL MUTINY
BECAUSE TO THE PARENTS THIS WAS
HARRISSEY AND THE CHILDREN WOULD
FALL BEHIND.
BUT THE PRINCIPLE WAS ABLE TO A
SWAGE THEIR DOUBTS BY TELLING
HIM--BY TELLING THEM THAT IN HIS
LAST SCHOOL, HE'S DONE EXACTLY
THE SAME THING AND THE RESULT
THAT WAS WITHIN A YEAR, AVERAGE
MARKS IN THE SCHOOL WENT UP BY
20 percent.
I THINK IN GENERAL PEOPLE WORRY THAT
SLOWING DOWN MEANS GIVING UP,
MEANS ABANDONING THE MODERN
WORLD.
WHEN WE THINK OF SLOW, WE THINK
OFTEN OF, IT'S A DIRTY WORD.
IT MEANS KIND OF STUPID OR MAYBE
BORING OR LAZY OR TORPID OR
LACKING IN VERVE, BUT THAT'S WRONG.
AND THE SLOW
MOVEMENT, WHICH IS THE TERM THAT
MORE AND MORE PEOPLE WITHIN IN
THIS GROUND SWELL AGAINST SPEED
ARE USING TO DESCRIBE THE PUSH
FOR MORE SLOWNESS.
THE SLOW
MOVEMENT IS NOT ANTI-MODERN OR
ANTI-AMBITION OR ANTI-SUCCESS,
IT'S NOT ABOUT DOING EVERYTHING
AT A SNAILS PACE.
IT WOULDN'T MAKE SENSE TO
REPLACE THE CULT OF SPEED WITH
THE CULT OF SLOWNESS THAT WOULD
BE PREPOSTEROUS.
THERE IS SUCH A THING CALLED BAD
SLOW.
I MEAN, A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO I
WAS STUCK IN TRAFFIC ON THE
GARDINER EXPRESSWAY FOR AN HOUR
AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT, THAT IS
BAD SLOW.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues UM, AND THE
NEXT DAY I SPENT NEARLY 20
MINUTES ON HOLD, UM, TRYING
TO GET THROUGH TO A COMPANY AND
UH, THAT ALSO WAS BAD SLOW.
UM, BUT THERE IS, OF COURSE AND
THIS IS MAYBE THE REVOLUTIONARY
CONCEPT, THERE IS GOOD SLOW.
TAKING TIME TO ENJOY A MEAL WITH
THE FAMILY OR PAUSING TO REFLECT
ON A PROBLEM AT WORK, SO THAT
YOU MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION.
WHAT THE SLOW MOVEMENT IS ABOUT,
IS, IS ABOUT BALANCE, HITTING A
BALANCE, FINDING THE MIDDLE PATH
BETWEEN FAST AND SLOW, CHOOSING
THE RIGHT SPEED FOR EVERYTHING
YOU DO.
DOES IT WORK?
IT DOES AND I'M LIVING PROOF
THAT IS DOES.
I STILL LIVE IN LONDON, WHICH IS
ONE OF THE FASTEST CITIES IN THE
WORLD.
I WORK IN THE MEDIA, WHICH IS
ANOTHER ONE THE FASTEST
INDUSTRIES AND YET I AM SLOW,
SLOWER.
I STILL WORK HARD BUT I ARRANGE
MY DEADLINES NOW IN A DIFFERENT
WAY, SO THAT I'M LESS PRESSURED
TO HURRY ALL THE TIME.
I TAKE BREAKS DURING THE DAY.
I'M MORE PRODUCTIVE OFF THE JOB.
I EMBRACE THAT SLOW PHILOSOPHY
LINE OF “LESS IS MORE.”
SO I CUT BACK ON SOME OF MY
SPORTING ACTIVITIES.
AS A FAMILY, INSTEAD OF CHARGING
OFF THROUGH LONDON TRAFFIC TO DO
PRODUCTIVE IMPROVING ACTIVITIES
ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, WE TAKE
ONE DAY A WEEKEND WHERE WE DON'T
DO ANYTHING, WE JUST STAY AT
HOME, HANG AROUND MA FAMILLE,
MAYBE DO A LITTLE BIT OF
SHOPPING ON FOOT, WE HAVE A
CHILL OUT DAY.
AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT THE
CHILDREN ARE MORE RELAXED, THE
WHOLE TEMPO OF FAMILY LIFE IS
SHIFTED INTO A MORE COMFORTABLE
GEAR AND THE DAY THAT WE DO GO
OUT, EVERYBODY IS MORE
ATTENTIVE, WE ENJOY THINGS A
MUCH MORE.
NOW I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO
UNDERLINE IT'S A POINT THAT
SLOWING DOWN IS NOT ALWAYS AS
EASY AS IT SOUNDS.
UH, WE MAY KNOW IN OUR BONES
THAT IT'S WHAT WE SHOULD DO AND
IT'S GOOD FOR US, BUT WE'RE SO
CAUGHT UP, WE'RE SO PUMPED UP,
WE'RE SO SHOT UP WITH
ADRENALINE, WE'RE SO ACCUSTOMED
TO SPEED THAT IT CAN BE
DIFFICULT TO SHIFT DOWN A GEAR.
WHILE I WAS RESEARCHING THIS
BOOK, ON ONE OF MY TRIPS I GOT A
SPEEDING TICKET.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues AND IF THAT
WEREN'T BAD ENOUGH, I GOT A
SPEEDING TICKET ENROUTE TO A
SLOW FOOD DINNER.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues SO, AND AT THE
TIME, I THOUGHT, I WON'T
MENTION THIS IN THE BOOK,
IT'S TOO MORTIFYING.
BUT THEN I THOUGHT, NO, NO, I
THINK I SHOULD BECAUSE IT, IT'S
IMPORTANT TO STRESS THAT SLOWING
DOWN DOES TAKE AND EFFORT
BECAUSE FOR MANY OF US, THERE
ARE ALL KINDS OF PREJUDICES
STANDING BETWEEN US AND, AND
DECELERATION.
AND IN A SENSE I THINK GETTING
OVER SPEEDAHOLISM IS A BIT LIKE
GETTING OVER ALCOHOLISM.
YOU KNOW, YOU TAKE THE FIRST
STEP, YOU TAKE ANOTHER, BUT THE,
THE SOCIAL PRESSURE, THE
TEMPTATION TO FALL BACK INTO THE
OLD WAYS.
TO SPEED UP AGAIN OR TO REACH
FOR THE BOTTLE IS ALWAYS THERE,
YOU ALWAYS GOT TO BE AWARE.
BUT ONCE YOU GET SO FAR, ONCE
YOU REACH SOMETHING LIKE AN
EQUILIBRIUM BETWEEN FAST AND
SLOW AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN,
THINGS START TO FALL INTO PLACE.
I'M A LOT MORE RELAXED NOW.
I HAVE A LOT MORE ENERGY.
EVERYTHING I DO, I FIND HAS MORE
TASTE AND TEXTURE, TEXTURE.
I'M HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, MORE
PRODUCTIVE.
I'M STILL FAST WHEN I NEED TO
BE, BUT I'M SLOW WHEN IT MAKES
SENSE TO BE SLOW.
AND IN A WAY FOR ME, THIS BOOK
WAS A PERSONAL JOURNEY AND THE
LITMUS TEST OF THE SUCCESS WAS
ALWAYS GOING TO BE BEDTIME
STORIES BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE IT
ALL STARTED FOR ME, IT WAS Dr.
SEUSS.
AND I CAN TELL YOU KNOW, I
SUPPOSE WE'RE TALKING TWO OR
THREE, PROBABLY ALMOST 3-YEARS
FROM THAT EPIPHANY IN ROME
AIRPORT, UM, THAT THE NEWS, THE
NEWS IS GOOD.
I NOW APPROACH BEDTIME STORIES
WITH SLOWNESS IN MY HEART AND
IT'S SOMETHING THAT I LOOK
FORWARD TO.
I READ SLOWLY.
I ENJOY THE WORDS.
I ENJOY THE TIMES WITH MY SON.
I'M NOT LISTENING FOR PING OF MY
E-MAIL ON MY COMPUTER IN THE
NEXT ROOM.
I'M NOT ITCHING TO GET ONTO THE
NEXT THING.
I'M THERE, I'M PRESENT, I'M IN
THE MOMENT AND HE AND I ENJOY IT
MORE THEN EVER BEFORE.
AND I EVEN HAVE, JUST WANT TO
CONCLUDE WITH UM, A HOLLYWOOD
ENDING REALLY, AND I HAD, I HAD
SORT OF THOUGHT ABOUT MAYBE NOT
MENTIONING THIS 'CAUSE IT SOUNDS
KIND A LITTLE BIT SENTIMENTAL
AND ALMOST A BIT CONTRIVED AND I
WONDER IF PEOPLE WOULD THINK
THAT MY PUBLICISTS HAD WRITTEN
IT FOR ME, BUT, BUT SHE HASN'T
AND I'M GOING TO SAY IT ANYWAY.
AS I WAS ABOUT TO SET OFF ON, ON
THIS BOOK TOUR, I HAD MY BAGS
DOWNSTAIRS IN THE FRONT HALL
WAITING FOR THE TAXI AND MY SON
CAME DOWNSTAIRS WITH A CARD THAT
HE HAD MADE FOR ME AND HE HAD
TAKEN TWO PIECES OF PAPERS AND
STAPLED THEM TOGETHER WITH A
STAPLER IN MY DRAWER AND HE HAD
TAKEN FROM HIS VERY PRECIOUS
STICKER COLLECTION, A STICKER OF
TIN-TIN.
THAT'S THE ADVENTURES OF TIN-
TIN; WE'RE READING ABOUT, THE
TIN-TIN THE CARTOON CHARACTER IN
A MOMENT.
AND HE STUCK IT ON THE FRONT AND
INSIDE HE HAD WRITTEN, “TO
DADDY. LOVE BENJAMIN.”
AND HE PUT TWO 'X' FOR KISSES
AND I SAID, “WHAT'S, WHAT'S THIS
FOR?
IS THIS A GOODBYE CARD?”
AND HE SAID, “NO, NO, THIS IS
FOR BEING THE BEST STORY READER
IN THE WORLD.”

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues AND I THOUGHT,
YEAH, I KNOW THIS SLOWING DOWN
THING REALLY WORKS.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues THE FUTURE IS SLOW.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

[Long applause]

Carl says UM, I THOUGHT
I'D READ JUST A SHORT EXERT
FROM--RATHER THEN FROM ONE
OF THE CHAPTERS THAT FOCUSES
ON HOW SLOWNESS IS BEING
APPLIED IN A DIFFERENT WALK
OF LIFE, I'D THOUGHT I'D READ
FROM THE GENERAL CHAPTER LOOKING
AT THE LONG HISTORY OF
RESISTANCE AGAINST THE WHOLE
CULT OF ACCELERATION AND IT
STRETCHES ALL THE WAY BACK, YOU
KNOW, THROUGH THE INDUSTRIAL ERA
AND SO ON.
AND I'VE CHOSE
THIS ONE SEGMENT HERE, UM,
BECAUSE I THINK THAT MANY
PEOPLE, AND I TOUCHED ON THIS A
LITTLE BIT ABOUT THIS IN MY
TALK, MANY PEOPLE THINK OF SLOW
AS, AS SOMEHOW BORING AND DULL
AND I THINK THEY IMAGINE IT LIKE
SITTING DOWN TO EAT A BIG BOWL
OF BRAN.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues YOU KNOW?
IT, IT MAY BE IMMENSELY GOOD FOR
YOU BUT IT'S NOT A WHOLE LOT OF FUN.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues AND, AND I THINK
THAT IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO
UNDERLINE THE FACT THAT, WHEN I
SAY SLOWER IS BETTER, WHAT I
MEAN, IT'S ABOUT PLEASURE REALLY.
IT'S ABOUT ENJOYING THINGS MORE.
IT'S ABOUT BEING ABLE TO LAUGH MORE.
UM, AND A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE
SLOW MOVEMENT, I MEAN THERE ARE
SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE, WHO ARE
DISAPPOINTEDLY PO-FACED, BUT I
FIND THAT FOR THE MOST PART,
THEY'VE GOT A WONDERFUL SENSE A
HUMOUR AND THERE'S A REAL
QUIRKINESS ABOUT IT.
THEY'RE DEALING WITH A SERIOUS
QUESTION BUT UM, THEY CAN STILL
LAUGH.
SO, I'M JUST GOING TO READ A
LITTLE SEC-SECTION HERE, WHICH
DESCRIBES MY VISIT TO, UH, THE
ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF A EUROPEAN
GROUP CALLED
THE SOCIETY FOR
THE DECELERATION OF TIME.
AND THEY ARE BASED--WELL, YOU'LL
HEAR ABOUT THEM IN, IN THE EXERT.
SO I'LL, I'LL JUST START.
SO THE CHAPTER IS, THIS IS
CHAPTER 2: SLOW IT BEAUTIFUL.
AND IT STARTS WITH A QUOTE “FOR
FAST ACTING RELIEF FROM STRESS,
TRY SLOWING DOWN” AND THAT'S THE
QUOTE FROM LILY TOMLIN, AN
AMERICAN ACTRESS AND COMEDIAN.
UM, VOGRIN, A RESORT TOWN
NESTLED DEEP IN THE AUSTRIAN
ALPS MOVES AT A SLOW PACE.
PEOPLE COME HERE TO ESCAPE
THE HURLEY, BURLEY OF
SALZBURG AND VIENNA.
IN THE SUMMER THEY HIKE THE
WOODEN TRAILS AND PICNIC
BESIDE MOUNTAIN STREAMS.
WHEN THE SNOW FALLS, THEY
SKI THROUGH THE FOREST OR
DOWN THE STEEP POWDERY
SLOPES.
WHATEVER THE SEASON, THE
ALPINE AIR FILLS THE LUNGS
WITH THE PROMISE OF A
GOODNIGHT'S SLEEP BACK IN
THE CHALET.
ONCE A YEAR THOUGH, THIS
SMALL TOWN DOES MORE THEN
JUST LIVES AT A SLOW PACE,
IT BECOMES A LAUNCH PAD FOR
THE SLOW PHILOSOPHY.
EVERY OCTOBER, VOGRIN HOSTS
THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE
SOCIETY FOR THE DECELERATION OF
TIME.
BASED IN THE AUSTRIAN CITY
OF KLAGENFURT AND BOASTING A
MEMBERSHIP THAT STRETCHES
ACROSS CENTRAL EUROPE, THE
SOCIETY IS A LEADER OF
SLOW MOVEMENT.
ITS MORE THAN 1,000 MEMBERS
ARE FOOT SOLDIERS IN THE WAR
AGAINST THE CULT OF DOING
EVERYTHING FASTER.
IN DAILY LIFE THAT MEANS
SLOWING DOWN WHEN IT MAKES
SENSE TO DO SO.
IF THE SOCIETY MEMBER IS A
DOCTOR, HE MIGHT INSIST ON
TAKING MORE TIME TO CHAT
TO HIS PATIENTS.
A MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT
COULD REFUSE TO ANSWER WORK
CALLS ON THE WEEKEND.
A DESIGNER MIGHT CYCLE TO
MEETINGS INSTEAD OF DRIVING.
THE DECELERATORS USE A
GERMAN WORD ITZEN ZEIT TO
SUM UP THEIR CREED.
ITZEN MEANS OWN AND ZEIT
MEANS TIME.
IN OTHER WORDS EVERY LIVING
BEING, EVENT, PROCESS OR
OBJECT HAS ITS OWN INHERE-
INHERENT TIME OR PACE, IT'S
OWN TEMPO-JUSTO.
AS WELL AS PUBLISHING
EARNEST PAPERS ON MAN'S
RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME, THE
SOCIETY STIRS UP DEBATE
WITH TONGUE AND CHEEK
PUBLICITY STUNTS.
MEMBERS PATROL CITY CENTRES
WEARING SANDWICH BOARDS AND
BLAZING WITH THE SLOGAN
“PLEASE HURRY UP!”
NOT LONG AGO, THE SOCIETY
CALLED UP THE
INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
TO AWARD GOLD MEDALS TO THE
ATHLETES WITH THE SLOWEST TIMES.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues “BELONGING TO
THE SLOW MOVEMENT DOES NOT
MEAN THAT YOU MUST ALWAYS BE
SLOW.
WE PLAY--WE TAKE PLANES TOO
OR THAT YOU MUST ALWAYS BE
VERY SERIOUS AND VERY
PHILOSOPHICAL OR THAT YOU
WANT TO SPOIL EVERYBODY
ELSE'S FUN.”
SAYS MIHAL ALESHMOUSTER.
THE SOCIETY'S VERY EFFICIENT
SECRETARY.
SERIOUSNESS IS OKAY, BUT YOU
DON'T WANT TO LOSE THE
HUMOUR.
WITH THAT IN MIND, THE
DECELERATORS REGULARLY RUN
SPEED TRAPS IN TOWN CENTRES.
USING A STOPWATCH, THEY TIME
PEDESTRIAN GOING ABOUT THEIR
DAILY BUSINESS.
PEOPLE CAUGHT COVERING 50-
METRES IN LESS THAN 37
SECONDS ARE PULLED OVER AND
ASKED TO EXPLAIN THEIR HAST.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues THEIR PUNISHMENT IS TO WALK THE
SAME 50-METRES, WHILE
STIRRING A COMPLICATED
TURTLE MARIONETTE ALONG THE
PAVEMENT.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues
“IT IS ALWAYS
A HUGE SUCCESS,” SAYS URGINE
ADAM, A SCHOOL TEACHER WHO
RAN A SPEED TRAP IN THE
GERMAN CITY OF OLM.
“MOST PEOPLE HAVE NOT EVEN
THOUGHT ABOUT WHY THEY ARE
GOING SO FAST.
BUT ONCE WE GET THEM TALKING
ABOUT SPEED AND TIME,
THEY'RE VERY INTERESTED.
THEY LIKE THE IDEA OF
SLOWING DOWN.
SOME EVEN RETURN LATER IN
THE DAY ASKING TO WALK THE
TURTLE A SECOND TIME.”

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues “THEY FIND IT
SO SOOTHING.”
AT THE SOCIETY'S ANNUAL
CONFERENCE IN 2002, 70
MEMBERS FROM GERMANY,
AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND
DESCENDED ON VOGRIN TO SPEND
3-DAYS PUTTING THE WORLD TO
RIGHTS OVER WINE AND
WEINERSCHNITZELS.
DRESS IS CAUSAL, AS IS THE
TIME KEEPING.
A SLOGAN PINNED UP IN THE
MAIN MEETING ROOM SPEAKS
VOLUMES, “THE BEGINNING IS
WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT.”
TRANSLATION, MANY OF THE
WORKSHOPS START LATE.

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues THANKS TO A
PRINTING SLIP-UP, A WHOLE
30-MINUTE SLOT IS MISSING
FROM THE SATURDAY PROGRAM.
WHEN I POINT OUT THE ANOMALY
TO A DELEGATE, HE LOOKS
PERPLEXED, THEN HE SHRUGS,
SMILES AND SAYS, “OH WELL,
EASY COME, EASY GO.”

(Audience laughing)

Carl continues
DON'T GET THE
WRONG IDEA THOUGH, THE
DECELERATORS ARE NOT FLAKY
RELICS FROM THE HIPPY ERA,
FAR FROM IT.
THEY ARE THE KIND OF
CONCERNED CITIZENS YOU FIND
AT NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
MEETINGS AROUND THE WORLD.
LAWYERS, CONSULTANTS,
DOCTORS, ARCHITECTS,
TEACHERS.
NEVERTHELESS, THE CONFERENCE
DOES OCCASIONALLY TIP INTO
FARCE.
AT ONE WORKSHOP, HELD IN A
HOTEL LOBBY, TWO SHAGGY
PHILOSOPHY STUDENTS LEAD A
DISCUSSION ABOUT THE ART OF
DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
A DOZEN MEMBERS CONVENE
ABOUT 10-MINUTES AFTER THE
INITIAL START TIME.
THEY SIT WITHOUT SPEAKING,
SHIFTING UNCOMFORTABLY IN
THEIR FOLD-UP CHAIRS, ONLY
THE DISTANT WHIRL OF A
VACUUM CLEANER ECHOING UP A
NEARBY STAIRWELL DISTURBS
THE SILENCE.
ELSEWHERE IN THE HOTEL
THOUGH, OTHERS EXPLORE MORE
PRAGMATIC WAYS OF SLOWING
DOWN.
ONE ENTREPRENEUR GIVES A
WORKSHOP OF HIS BLUEPRINT
FOR THE WORLD'S FIRST SLOW
HOTEL.
“MOST VACATIONS ARE SO
STRESSFUL NOWADAYS,”
EXPLAINS BERNHARD VOLMAN, A
LARGE MIDDLE AGED MAN WITH
PUPPY DOG EYES.
“IT STARTS WITH THE JOURNEY
BY PLANE OR CAR, THEN YOU
RUSH AROUND SEEING AS MANY
SITES AS POSSIBLE, YOU CHECK
YOUR E-MAIL IN AN INTERNET
CAFE, YOU WATCH
CNN
OR
MTV
ON THE HOTEL TELEVISION,
YOU USE YOUR CELL PHONES TO
CHECK IN WITH FRIENDS OR
COLLEAGUES BACK HOME AND
THEN AT THE END, YOU RETURN
HOME MORE TIRED THEN WHEN
YOU LEFT.”
TUCKED AWAY, IN AN AUSTRIAN
NATIONAL PARK HIS 300 BED
SLOW HOTEL WILL DIFFERENT.
GUESTS WILL TRAVEL TO A
NEARBY VILLAGE BY STEAM
TRAIN AND THEN ON TO THE
HOTEL BY FOOT OR BY A HORSE
DRAWN CARRIAGE.
ALL HURRY-INDUCING
TECHNOLOGY, TELEVISIONS,
CELL PHONES, LAPTOPS, PALM
PILOTS, CARS, WILL BE
BANNED.
INSTEAD GUESTS WILL ENJOY
SIMPLE, SLOW PLEASURES, SUCH
AS GARDENING, HIKING,
READING, YOGA, AND SPA
TREATMENTS.

He coughs and continues
GUEST SPEAKERS WILL COME TO TALK
ABOUT TIME, SPEED, AND
SLOWNESS.
AS VOLMAN LAYS OUT HIS
VISION, SOME OF THE
DECELERATORS BOCK, “IT'S TOO
BIG,” “TOO ELITIST,” “TOO
COMMERCIAL,” THEY CRY.
BUT VOLMAN, WHO WEARS THE
POLISHED BLACK SHOES OF A
MAN WHO MEANS BUSINESS IS
UNDETERRED.
“THERE IS A GREAT HUNGER FOR
SLOWNESS IN THE WORLD NOW,”
HE TELLS ME LATER BETWEEN
MOUTHFULS OF APPLE STRUDEL.
“I THINK THE TIME IS RIGHT
FOR A HOTEL THAT REALLY LETS
PEOPLE SLOW DOWN IN
EVERYWAY.”
AND THAT'S IT.

[Applause]

Watch: Carl Honore on his book In Praise of Slow