I helped an old friend move this weekend. He was relocating all the way from one side of the square to another in the funky little enclave that bizarrely sits in the shadow of some very ugly seventies tower blocks n Vauxhall. And then the next day another old mate - who has swapped Brixton for a new life in Devon - got in touch about the possibility of collaborating on some sort of project that connects my urban life with his rural life. It's got me thinking.
For a moment I was hard pressed to think of something to make the connection. The superficial contrasts between inner city and sticks are overwhelming. But since I've been out of regular work I've become much more aware of the community that I am surrounded by. The time I have spent in local schools has helped. And so has getting off the commuting treadmill that took me in and out of the West End and relegated my home turf for the past twenty five years to little more than a dormitory.
I've seen something that strongly connects life in the inner city with life in the country: Life - economic, social and cultural - is local. And consequently not being bound by the necessity to rush from one area for work to another for sleeping, it is slower. It can also appear to involve more - for want of a better word - pottering.
Nowadays all that strikes me as altogether more real and more civilised. And it needs to be preserved from creeping suburbanisation and homogenisation.