1940: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre take up residence, almost, in the Café de Flore in Paris. They work in the morning, see friends in the afternoon and write more in the evening. The café is warm and provides succour for body and mind during the Occupation.
2007: I sit in my local café and feel like a knob. The café itself is great: it’s situated in the road where the district I live in gets posher (Lower Highgate, or Lo-Hi as no doubt an estate agent will soon refer to it). But I still feel like a knob. Perhaps it’s because they sell organic rye bread and fresh anchovies to passing sophisticates. Maybe it’s because I often see food critic and Birds Eye peas fan Giles Coren having his eggs benedict, or Noel Fielding from the Mighty Boosh sipping a latte in his rock star sunglasses. It might be because I’m sitting here, paying real (what my grandmother would have called good) money for pots of tea when there’s PG tips at home. Six pounds spent in a couple of hours, five days a week, plus a newspaper and fizzy pop for the way home. Even more if you add a quick spot of lunch. That’s £70 a week, easy. Would sharing an office be cheaper? Or moving to Deptford where you can get a cuppa for 30p?
"How to get your creative juices flowing"
By Sian Pattenden
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