Tapped & Packed

Working by my own, I am often in search of good places where I can spend and afternoon or morning working, normally a café. London has lots of them, but it is not easy to find one where I feel comfortable for more than an hour, working, being productive. This post initiates a series in which I highlight great places to work anywhere in the world.

The first is Tapped & Packed (26, Rathbone Place, London). How I got here? I googled “Best cafés to work in London”, first page was list, this café in number 7 on the list. I liked the description and the pictures on its website. I read a couple of reviews online. The coffee is good (not the best I tried in London though), the wifi is fast and works flawlessly and the tables are great to work. Lots of space, in wood. The interior is simple, “rustique”, not many distractions, good to work. Of all the places I’ve been working in London, this is the one where I feel better in. That also may be because at this time (around 15:30-16:00 on Thursday) and sunny, warm weather there are not many people, so it feels spacious. Also, at the table where I am sitting there are two useful plugs, though I haven’t seen any more plugs in other tables (I know where to preferably sit when I come here!). The café & tea menu is simple and straightforward. They have wonderfully-looking cakes on the counter. Difficult to resist, I ordered an amazing chocolate cake, which was (yes, “was”) really delicious. There is just one “tiny” problem, there is no toilet. One has to go to the pub next door.

Network World

Peeling the onion of authority

Authority: the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.

Authority is build up over many layers of legitimacy laid down through history. The nature of these layers varies. Take for examples monarchies. Which are their layers? Clearly not formally democratic. Some of them are based on tradition. Others on historic coercion (read violence) exercised by the ancestors of the current kings and queens – basically winning battles against their adversaries for power. And others are more subtle. For example, a monarchy can construct layers based on “material democracy”, that is, not the one coming from formal democratic procedures e.g. voting, but by the consent of the people. These layers can come from very diverse sources which connect the monarch with “the people”. One of them may easily be the participation of the monarch in popular events. Don’t be fooled. This is not because he or she enjoys them, it is a rite to connect with you, to get your material consent, to be “near the people”, yet the monarchy remains an unelected institution which head position is inherited by blood.

If we want to build up a more democratic society, I believe we have to learn, together, to peel the onion of authority, otherwise we’ll be kept being fooled. Beneath the “popular king (or queen)” who seems so near “his (her)” people, there is an undemocratic legacy based on nastier things: violence, hierarchy and traditions that leave us out of actual power of decision and action. Peeling the onion of authority is uncovering these crude realities that support illegitimate authorities. And monarchy, all monarchies, is one of these illegitimate authorities.

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. – Albert Einstein


Under the protection of nature, all dreams are sweet

St James’s Park, London, May 1, 2012

Life Yoga


“To meditate does not mean to fight with a problem.
To meditate means to observe.
Your smile proves it.
It proves that you are being gentle with yourself,
that the sun of awareness is shining in you,
that you have control of your situation.
You are yourself,
and you have acquired some peace.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh