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January 18, 2005

I have a cunning plan

Working in central london, doing a stressful job, has many downsides. The main one being that lunchtime consists of two options:

1) Spending money
2) Not having a lunch hour at all really.

There is of course a third option, which is for the Sushi-at-my-desk brigade, and involves combining the two.

I'm a big fan of pub lunches, and a big fan of shopping, but the harsh realities of raising a child in a reasonably-posh bit of london (and thereby paying nursery fees that are comparable to the mortgage on your previous house in Walthamstow) means you have to rein things in pretty harshly. Sandwiches are pretty much essential, and that normally means eating them at your desk. Thereby allowing work to creep in and rob you of that all-important perspective.

I'm also not that good at window-shopping. It tends to become window-buying all too easily.

So I've been on the lookout for FREE (or at least very very cheap) things to do in W1 of a lunch hour.

And it's pretty sorry, actually. Particularly in winter.

I've wanted to practice my drawing, or just sit somewhere and read entirely non-work books - but the nearest library is 15 minutes walk away. And doing the same in a pub, even with just a half, stretches my drink-nursing abilities to the limit. (Besides I'm not sure it's fair on them as a business)

I have the good fortune to be a member of a posh members club, but that's ten minutes away too, and even a coffee there is going to be the equivalent of a pint of David Blaine at the local Sam Smiths pub. There's no obligation to buy anything, but it looks a bit odd if you don't.

However, the recent influx of screener DVDs I've had as part of my BAFTA voting has given me some inspiration. I'm starting to pilot it today.

I'm taking a DVD to work with me. And at lunchtime I'm going to go for a walk around the block and then sit and watch 45 minutes of a film. Or possibly the other way round. I'll get through a whole film every two-to-three days.

However, where this gets interesting is the network effect, and this is what pushes it under the two-dollars-an-hour.

The missus can also take one of these DVDs into work, and watch it. So by the end of the week we can both (more or less) have watched the same two films. We become a mini book group.

If you then add one of those 'DVD rental by post' schemes into the equation, suddenly everything changes again - you can explore all the films you've ever wanted to, two by two, without having to worry about how long it takes you to watch them, and then talk about them with other people, in a metaphor ideally suited to the media-on-demand-and-when-allowed/sociability-by-prior-arrangement world we seem to be moving towards as mid-30s parents.

If our first experiments work, there could even be a bookcrossing/allconsuming site or blogging tool to be made around it.

Watch, as they say, this space.

Posted by Tom Dolan at January 18, 2005 11:02 AM

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Tom Dolan at Blatant Optimism has a cunning plan - he's going to start taking DVDs to work and watching them in his lunch hour, while his "missus" does the same. You can explore all the films you've ever wanted to, two by two, without having to worry a... [Read More]

Tracked on January 19, 2005 10:53 AM


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