Thursday, July 30, 2009

Has the British Library Become a Brothel?

”All libraries are, of course, petri dishes of simmering lust, but the BL is extreme: its walls contain more erotic pressure than an oil rig, a North Sea fishing trawler and several series of Mad Men combined.”

“The whole building sighs with hothouse groans, which swell and fade to muffle other sounds.”

“When everyone is sitting around in silence, you can project what you like on to them and everyone remains a sexual possibility.”

This is surely not the Queen’s library! Yet…

“In 2006 a gay website exposed the British Library as a cottaging ground and the regular BL readers who I’ve discussed it with concur.”

The quotes above are found within a recent article in the London Times, Lust Rears Its Noisy Head in the British Library by Sathram Sanghera, who writes “Last week I spent a day ‘working’ in the British Library. And I use inverted commas because no work, in the conventional sense, got done. Couldn’t concentrate at all, to be honest.”

With the British Library in full tumescence who can blame him?

Who knew that a library could ease the pain and heartbreak of satyriasis? That prelim pages can be an excuse for foreplay, and that colophons can become so aroused? That libraries are intrinsically salacious and stacked? That the Reading Room is va-va-voom? That patrons can gleefully wallow in the gutter margin and recase and collate each other with particular attention to head- and tailpieces, and welcome the printer’s slug as a token of sadomasochistic affection?

Don’t ask about Cambridge-style leather binding; too hardcore for me.

What’s the reason for all this between the printed sheets action?

“Explanations,” Sanghera declares, “put forward include: the intrinsic erotic appeal of women in pencil skirts, stockings and Sarah Palin spectacles telling you off; the intrinsic filthiness of all librarians (after all, Casanova was one); the enforced silence and bookish atmosphere, which conspire to make you want to do something loud and physical in response; the safety (the theory goes that people feel free to flirt without feeling obliged to take things farther); the presence of books, which after all, are intrinsically sexy and have been connected to seduction for hundreds of years; the unexpected corners.”

I encourage readers to share their libidinous library experiences.

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