When not drinking questionable White Russians or dreaming vivid visions of animal warfare, in which I lead parrots and foxes into battle following rallying speeches, you can hedge your bets on finding me weeping over Keats in the library.
UCL Main Library, my second home, is lacking in sentiment these days. So, caused by lack of sleep and Keats' beautiful ill face, I am bringing poetry-provoked tears into the shelved enclaves. They are needed, I feel, as the artistic and literary sensibilities are being slowly quashed by rules and regulations.
Leaflets litter the tables notifying students that they can now be fined for various offences. They (the MAN) can wrangle £20 out of you for 'misuse of library card'. Misuse? Like using it as a fork or something? And £20 for 'exiting via a Fire exit'. Seriously? They want us to burn? Admittedly this was followed by 'except when the fire alarm is activated' in parenthesis... The money, according to the Old Testament Library Commandments, all goes to the UCL Student Hardship Fund. Well, more students will be faced with poverty and hardship if they are continuously fined extortionate amounts, so this seems rather counter-productive. And, one cannot help but suspect, that this implausible fund is actually the pseudonym of the Librarians' Wine Stash. Though a wee tipple could loosen up Hot Librarian, and we could continue our existential chitchat that was started when renewing Blake...
Next to the rule about not having any food or drink in the library, someone had scribbled 'Slightly Draconian?' How very UCL. Classical references to Draco used as witty graffiti backchat. This is almost on a par with colouring bits of the word 'Book' on the various library fliers so that it reads as 'Poo'. Always raises a smile. This maturity is continued in the various scrawls on the desks. Though I did read one the other day that said 'I am honoured to get a chance to start on a clean slate'. It is unclear as to whether they were referring to the wooden desk, or their LIFE. The library, after all, is my place of choice for emotional breakdown, philosophical exploration, Eureka moments and weeping rivers of tears over Keats.
No doubt I'd get fined for dampening the paperbacks.