Thursday, March 26, 2009
Yesterday I worked in the London Library for the first time in years. They have a laptop room now. This is a long way from the days of the Libyan Embassy siege in 1984 - it happened on the other side of St James's Square - when the inhabitants of the Reading Room slept through the entire proceedings. (In fact, I suddenly recall a TV producer friend of mine parked his aged but natty Volvo convertible in the square with the top down just before the siege began. It rained. He went up to a policeman and said he knew the amiable bobby had other things on his mind but could he possibly put the hood up? No, said the AB - this was the eighties.) I had gone to the dear old LL because I found myself losing focus in my study and needed a change of scene. Of course, I ran straight into A.N.Wilson, who has lived there for his entire adult life (he has made a serviceable bed in History (Military) out of shredded copies of the TLS and the staff bring him cocoa). 'Hello,' he said with his usual aphoristic grandeur. Determined not to be outdone, 'Hello,' I quipped back, noting his curious jacket was trimmed with ribbon. On the way in I had seen a small bowl offering free earplugs to members. Nice touch, I thought, but then realised it was because they had the builders in and a man was jackhammering just outside the laptop room, pausing every so often to shout to his buddies - he had evidently been deafened by his noisy craft. I spent the day with two orange sponges projecting from my ears. Luckily, I remembered to take them out and was able to understand every word at a lunchtime screening of a wonderful anti-blogging film.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:45 am