Friday, March 28, 2008

The slow way to go

by Alastair Sawday

"It began in Italy in 1986, when the founding members of the "Slow Food" organisation resolved to fight the invasion of fast food into their country. "Slow" means local, grown with respect and integrity, and with thought to the consequences. McDonald's is a natural enemy."

When horses pulled carriages and charabancs, when bicycles were considered dangerous beasts, when flags were waved from rooftops to pass on news, there were always people who were nevertheless considered "fast". Young men galloped insanely quickly on their horses, gambled their money away and drank too much. Cities have always encouraged fast living, whatever the century.

However, our western societies have slowly and almost imperceptibly learned to live at a pace that would have alarmed even those insanely galloping young men. We need, it seems, to be "elsewhere"; anywhere but "here". Holidays have to be far away, the further the better. Food has to come from distant countries; friends are cultivated beyond our immediate reach; we work hard in order to have time not to work. So it goes on. But there is hope. The Slow movement is also, as it were, gathering speed, and it will affect the way we holiday and possibly everything else too. It is more serious than it sounds.

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