Fifteen years ago, on a cold winter's evening in New York City, I showed up for my first yoga class ever, dressed in stiff jeans, cowboy boots, and a boiled-wool turtleneck. I'd made it to class on the recommendation of a friend who was concerned about my chronic back pain. But she had not mentioned, and it had not occurred to me, that I should wear something more athletic to class. Honestly, I had no idea that I would be expected to perform anything physical during the practice of yoga. Forgive my ignorance, but I'd somehow expected, I dunno, a lecture? Handouts and a syllabus? Anyhow, whatever was coming to me that evening, I knew I would need energy to get through it, so I stopped at a pizza joint right before class for a chicken calzone and Diet Coke.
I am an avid reader but strangely not one for possessing many books.
I read about this book in a magazine today and simply have to buy it ..... and cannot wait to have it fall through my letterbox.
I will leave you with some text written about this exquisite potential read as I fly off to lie in a bath of bubbles and then continue with an night of packing and wrapping kisses
What do we know about ordinary people in our towns and cities, about what really matters to them and how they organise their lives today? This book visits an ordinary street and looks into thirty households. It reveals the aspirations and frustrations, the tragedies and accomplishments that are played out behind the doors. It focuses on the things that matter to these people, which quite often turn out to be material things - their house, the dog, their music, the Christmas decorations. These are the means by which they express who they have become, and relationships to objects turn out to be central to their relationships with other people - children, lovers, brothers and friends.
If this is a typical street in a modern city like London, then what kind of society is this? It's not a community, nor a neighbourhood, nor is it a collection of isolated individuals. It isn't dominated by the family. We assume that social life is corrupted by materialism, made superficial and individualistic by a surfeit of consumer goods, but this is misleading. If the street isn't any of these things, then what is it?
This brilliant and revealing portrayal of a street in modern London, written by one the most prominent anthropologists, shows how much is to be gained when we stop lamenting what we think we used to be and focus instead on what we are now becoming. It reveals the forms by which ordinary people make sense of their lives, and the ways in which objects become our companions in the daily struggle to make life meaningful.