Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The British Library desk

I cheat slightly here. This is not a desk in one of the reading rooms, where I think photography is forbidden, but in the café, run, as are the refreshment facilities in nearly every London cultural institution, by Peyton and Byrne.

They serve espresso in a huge mug. A waiter tried to remove mine before I had even half-drunk it. The wifi signal was feeble and the café full of people who did not look like scholars to me. But as I was composing a blog post on castrating cats, perhaps I should not be too censorious.

When I was made redundant the first time, in 1991, I used to frequent the British Museum Reading Room. My membership of the Library Association entitled me to a reader's pass, then hard to come by. I would read in the morning and then go to the pub. The British Council ended this idyll by offering me a job.


  1. What a perfect life. Doesn't work get in the way of having a good time? I thought this was Alex's post so was reading it in my head with a hint of a German accent. Odd when I realised it was not her.

  2. No, for authenticity it should be read aloud in a rather horrid Home Counties accent, enriched with a little of the obligatory Mockney I affected in my late teens, nothing like Alexandra's enchanting tones. I've been listening to my recorded voice a lot recently, rehearsing a presentation, and it has not been a pleasant experience.