Culture

Society

Syncing feeling— London

Preface

The arrival of British Summer Time may mean lighter evenings and longer days but is this really worth losing an hour’s sleep over? Monocle’s Robert Bound investigates.

British summer time, Clocks, Daytime, Evening, Light, Summer, Time

30 March 2015

Welcome to the future. Here in Britain the clocks have just changed, shifting forward an hour. If the UK were a digital cable TV channel it would be called Now+1 because the British are brilliant at branding, aren’t they? Up and down the land today people will say, “Ooh, we get an hour less in bed but at least the evenings are lighter.” Thank goodness for small mercies such as these. A sentence any more trite and containing any more words would have been worse than missing two hours of beauty sleep.

So what are the best bits about the clocks changing and us living in the future? I have absolutely no idea so I have compiled a comprehensive list and judged whether or not these things are better than missing an hour in bed:

  1. An hour less in bed is preparing you for the summer and the summer means late nights spent dancing in the streets, at festivals, in your garden, at impromptu gatherings around iPhones playing tinny hip-hop in some of London’s more easterly parks. Better than bed? Mostly.

  2. You will do more in the evenings; perhaps you’ll to take up a new hobby such as tennis, mudlarking, yoga in the park, taking your amour to a boudoir or having more than one gin and tonic. Better than bed? Yes, especially if it is bed.

  3. More daylight is good for the economy. Dark mornings are all about buying a coffee with minimal eye contact, possibly while still ear-plugged into Serial. Long evenings are all about being a one-night version of a weekend millionaire: spot the after-work on-the-razzle set come out of hibernation this week. Better than bed? A bit, but you’re left potentially penniless.

  4. Light evenings make you change your nationality a little bit and that aids the understanding of our fellow man. Are you not more like a sophisticated Spaniard or Argentine when you forgo supper until, oooh, anything up to 9.30pm? Are you not like a playboy on Capri with your Aperol Spritz instead of your pint of Theakston’s? You are and so world peace has a better chance of happening now that the clocks have changed. Better than bed? Yes.

  5. The extra hours of light-time night-time mean that evening activities attain an aura of the illicit. This especially pertains to dinners, drinks and nights-out that happily set-in. What greater joy than opening the third bottle in daylight? Than to walk out of a cinema without squinting into darkness? The problem is that this leads to nights that finish very late, if at all, making the next day sad and liverish. Better than bed? Not the next day, no.

  6. Leaving work in daylight is deeply civilised. Ride the bus with alacrity. Walk home with a fervour impossible in the funk of darkness. Enjoy the city you lavish with your idiotic taxes at its best. Better than bed? Yes.

  7. Love often strikes in the dark but it often lasts longer if it starts in daylight. Your heart will swell and you may find yourself glowing with that funny feeling as the skip in your step rhymes with someone else’s. Do that in the dark. Better than bed? Why not decide in bed?

God, aren’t we going to be tired come August?

Robert Bound is Monocle’s culture editor.

Monocle 24

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