Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting buildings I’ve been inside in London was the Horse Hospital. Like the name implies, it was really a hospital for horses, London’s main form of transportation way back when. Of course, modern technology reduced our reliance on horses, rendering the Horse Hospital purposeless. Fortunately, the building has recently morphed into a quirky venue for artsy events. Seconds after walking inside, I noticed the building had multiple stories but no stairs. Instead, ramps led from one floor to the next.
The Horse Hospital was hosting a book launch party for Reaktion’s most recent title, a biography that focused on film director Jim Jarmusch. I’d actually never heard of him before getting invited to the party, but I was still really excited for the experience. I took a taxi with my supervisor to Russell Square where we then grabbed some food and drinks at a nearby pub.
No joke, I have completely stopped hearing accents. Unlike the area of London where I live, Clerkenwell is basically entirely British, so after being there for 8+ hours, I stop hearing accents and just listen to the words. The downside? At the pub, I was talking to this guy for a good ten minutes before I realized he was from the States. Oops.
After some food, we went inside the Horse Hospital and I helped Reaktion set up a table there and sell books. A man led a Question & Answer session with the biography’s author, an Italian woman who spoke passionately about Jim Jarmusch. She talked about the symbolism and music choices he made in his films and then they screened a movie he directed. Since Jarmusch was also in a band, the film we watched was a mix between a documentary and concert footage.
Before and after the film, I interacted with some of the attendees who wanted to purchase a book from Reaktion. One man thought I was Dutch! Another person was asking me about Purdue’s semester system since apparently trimesters are more popular in the UK. Many people who attended the book launch party were either friends with the author or were in the publishing industry.
As it turns out, the publishing industry (at least in London) is very small. A week later, I went to a different book launch party with a friend who’s interning at another publishing company. This party was held in an independent bookstore that looked like it was transported directly out of someone’s house (picture candles, super soft couches, and an adorable dog just weaving in between people’s feet). After I got back to Reaktion, I found out that some of my coworkers actually attended the same party! Small world.