Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The library door opens

Today it all worked out extremely well. I found the right entrance to the subway where the ticket machine was broke and I ended up with buying an Oyster card I not completely understand yet, but which turned out to be cheaper anyway. I jumped into what I thought was the Bakerloo line, bringing me to Bakerstreet (remember, Garry Rafferty?) where I would switch to the Circle line to get to Euston, where the British Library should be.

Only, after 4 stops I recognized from yesterday, the train took a turn and after some time suddenly announced it had arrived at.. Euston. Huh? Turns out I took a wrong train that turned out to be the best and fastest train.. That's how refusing to fetch your booklet with street and subway plan can actually be a surprisingly effective travel system.

The British library is very British. Full of checks and rituals you have to go through before you can join the 'old boys network of knowledge'. You pass a bag check, have to have a card to enter a reading room, and that card is only handed to you after a personal interview with a employee, asking why you want to enter their domain. You have to leave your coat, phone and pens in a locker, and can only bring your laptop, a notebook and a pencil. And to top it all, there is the aggressive looking woman at the entrance of your reading room of choice. Every time I walked out again, she wanted to look in my laptop. Yes, there might be some unique map from the 2nd century hidden in there. I must say it adds to the excitement. I really feel I was let into the secret heart of English knowledge, today. Will go there again tomorrow. Outside the rain keeps falling anyway:'English Summer rain, seems to last for ages' (great song by Placebo)

No comments: