Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Natalie Long Edi­tor

There’s a blue­berry farm in Ore­gon with my name on it. Not lit­er­ally, only in my ‘slow life’ fan­tasy. I don’t even ac­tu­ally like blue­ber­ries much – ex­cept those ones that come in a dinky can, in a box of Betty Crocker blue­berry muf­fin mix.

Do you have one of these places – some­where so ridicu­lously dis­tant, both in terms of place and also pos­si­bil­ity – that you say you’ll flee to when the traf­fic just gets too, too much? My happy place doesn’t even ex­ist, and I don’t know if I ac­tu­ally want to go there, but maybe that’s why it’s a com­fort.

I de­cided on this vague no­tion a) be­cause I went to Ore­gon last year, and loved it, prob­a­bly be­cause it was Septem­ber, warm-ish and didn’t rain once (un­like the months that have fol­lowed, dur­ing which it has rained non-stop); and b) be­cause I saw an Ore­gonbased cou­ple with a blue­berry farm on a cook­ing show. They had an out­door oven in which they baked blue­berry cob­blers, which I wouldn’t eat that much of, but still.

What would you do to slow down your life – if you even wanted to do such a thing? It’s the topic raised by Sarah Gib­bons in her in­ter­view on page 24 with Carl Honoré, a pro­po­nent of the of­fi­cial Slow move­ment, which is mak­ing in­roads glob­ally – in­clud­ing in the UAE, where there’s been a ‘con­vivium’ of the Slow Food or­gan­i­sa­tion since 2013.

I knew I couldn’t be alone in won­der­ing how long we’ll all carry on at such a fran­tic pace. I was lucky enough to hear a talk by the ac­claimed (and Dubai-based) artist Sacha Jafri last week­end, in which he reached a sim­i­lar topic, un­prompted, when asked where art is go­ing next.

His pre­dic­tion – it brought a mix­ture of shock and, fun­nily enough, re­lief, from those at­tend­ing his talk – is that so­cial media is go­ing to be less rel­e­vant in our lives within five years. (Sacha was speak­ing at a ses­sion on art his­tory by Mai­son Im­pe­ri­ale, a new or­gan­i­sa­tion that runs mas­ter­classes on a num­ber of top­ics, from eti­quette to floristry.) Is that true? Or are we re­ally go­ing to be­come an episode of Black Mir­ror? Or are we in a bit of a bub­ble – in other places in the world, per­haps, the pace is in­ten­tion­ally slower – in France, for ex­am­ple. There, this sum­mer, you can take your gaze from your screen to the can­vas, with hun­dreds of years of won­der­ful art on show in Paris – we’ve got an ex­ten­sive guide on page 64.

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