Friday, November 21, 2008

The Psychology of the Coffeeshop

Click here to listen to the piece.

I and mine regardless of our immediate backgrounds and upbringing understand, in a similar fashion, the concept and function of the coffeeshop.
To us, the coffeeshop is a work space away from the work space.
While to many the coffeeshop might be a place of socialization over a cup of cappu, to me and many like me, the coffeeshop is a place of work, a place of creation.
Most of my work is written in such spaces and while the place is indeed public, the immediate space one's occupies is personal, not to be accessed sans the right passport.
I have often referred to the coffeeshop as a heterotopic space. I do so on purpose. The coffeeshop is a symbol of heterotopia, a place where many choose to pursue the kind of activity they choose not to pursue in every other space.
In this audio piece I do a Theory-informed reading of the concept of the coffeeshop. I single out Starbucks since it seems to be a sign readily recognized by most.
As always, I look forward to your feedback.
Tip of the hat to Liam for the photograph and story. Per Delta.


liam said...

have you been on delta recently? check out this month's sky magazine.

Nicki said...

Another petpeeve of mine is people I know coming over to my table and distracting me from my work. It's not cool! At all!! I agree. The coffeeshop space seems to be a 'public space', but the table one claims is private. Private! I have strong feelings on the matter too.

Will said...

And yes, people who don't get that the coffeeshop is basically a library with coffee bags instead of books, need to go to the bar, instead. :-)

will said...

I like the Delta mag pic.

Anonymous said...

thx. i concur. privacy within public space is very important a concept.

tina said...

Private 'public' space is sacred. Absotively!

Nicki said...

And I was just thinking about this actually, just because we frequent the same place all the time as other utter stranger doesn't mean that we have 'discursive commonality' does it?
Yeah, i liked this....

Sra said...

I don't mind being approached by people in coffee shops. It doesn't happen often. If I'm too busy I'll beg off conversation, but I've ended up with some brilliant conversation and excellent chess matches as a result of being approached in a coffee shop.

Mar said...

Do I have stories about this!
I enjoy the 'heteropic' space of the coffeeshop.
I just don't get it when those who occupy it the same way you do, insist on seeing it as a non-work place.

Mar said...

Do I have stories about this!
I enjoy the 'heteropic' space of the coffeeshop.
I just don't get it when those who occupy it the same way you do, insist on seeing it as a non-work place.

Mary said...

Sorry about the double entry.
I can keep those I don't want at bay. But the beauty of the coffeeshop is that it does 'lend itself' to communication. And that's a good arena for some of us, creative types ;)

Candace said...

This says much about our overall relationship with space.

J. said...

Don't know if you saw this today but there's an article on th NY Times about cafes.
" “The bar of a cafe is the parliament of the people,” as Honoré de Balzac wrote, but it is being less frequently visited these days, especially by the young.

Not only are the French spending less, and drinking less, cutting down on the intensity and quality of the debates, but on Jan. 1 of this year, after much huffing and puffing, France extended its smoking ban to bars, cafes and restaurants.

Marco Mayeux, 42, the bartender of Le Relais, a Paris cafe in the 18th Arrondissement, said the ban alone had cut his coffee and bar business by 20 percent.

“A place like mine doesn’t appeal to everyone; it’s very working-stiff,” he said. “There is a coffee-at-the-counter feel that isn’t attractive anymore.”

Before, clients would go inside a cafe, have a coffee, a cigarette and another coffee. But now they go out to smoke, and sometimes they do not come back, many cafe owners said."

More here:

J. said...

I thought you'd like the Balzac quote: “The bar of a cafe is the parliament of the people.”