Adventures in London: Knowledge is free

The Reader Room

British Library Reader RoomI’m tapping away at my netbook amidst the fusty musk of old books, under the glare of an irresistibly old-school desk lamp in the Humanities Reading Room of the British library. Yes, I’m officially a middle class urbanite.

I’m sitting on a soft green leather chair. I could happily stay here forever, comfortably in the knowledge that many have done so before.  I know the chair will host many more people’s forevers, resigning me to another part of its passive history.

Of course, my forever will end rather sooner than a lot of the academics sitting around me. How wonderful it must be to escape the bustle of the city everyday to leaf through history at your own pace, without disturbance. What stories they must have when they go home to their wives, parents, children…

That’s the problem of a journalist in the library: no talking. I’m in a room full of information but what I really want to know is what these people have discovered, and how they’ll sit at dinner tonight and relate it to those who’ve been out in the real world.

The King’s Library

Perhaps one day I’ll become part of the couple who walked past my workstation having an orgasm over the slides of stamps lining the walls? Let’s hope so. A little knowledge applied with friends at the sight of something you can pull out and see together…libraries aren’t dead; this one’s been quite a celebration of life.

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