April 02, 2007

Now Museum, Now You Don't

And Let Thy Feet

Back in November, Chris Dye was visiting London and he suggested we meet at the British Museum to ooh and aah at the desk at which Karl Marx used to work while visiting the Reading Room.

Chris was an hour and a half late (welcome to the District Line), but the place was so captivating that I was happy to wait for him. It was one of those beautiful, crisp, fall twilights, light fading and horizon glowing purple. At first I just sat outside on the steps, people-watching, perched between two of the massive Ionic columns along the main facade. After a while, I started getting cold, so I ventured inside and into the Great Court, where I was instantly and completely enthralled. Its enormous glass ceiling seems enchanted, almost, the way it lets through light – this sort of ethereal incandescence, as if it was being lit from behind by something other than the sky – and the way it captures the acoustics of the hall is really incredible. There's this constant, quiet rumble that is oddly soothing. (If that doesn't tickle your fancy, it also reminds me a lot of the part in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey where they go to Heaven.)

I bring all this up now because since then the British Museum has become one of my favourite haunts when I'm at a loose end on the weekends. Admission is free, so you can turn up, take a quick look at a few exhibits (if you like), and then just loll about in the Great Court inhaling the atmosphere and watching the world go by. It's very relaxing and very fun, and far better than just lolling about at home and watching TV. If you live in or are planning to visit London, it is the one place I would definitely recommend hitting up.

(Chris and I never found Karl Marx's desk, by the way – the woman at the information desk had no idea which one it was, and furthermore gave a pretty funny look when asked, as if no one might actually be interested in seeing such a thing. Go figure.)


Anonymous said...

Great picture. The image link goes to the wrong place FYI.

Andrew said...

D'oh! Thanks, fixed now. (I had also managed rather cleverly to set the post date to March 3rd, so couldn't find it to edit. Sigh.)

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