Thursday, October 19, 2006

Librarian's assistant...

I ask the librarian in the dusty library if she'd mind if I take a photograph of the surroundings. She looks at me as if I am filthy scum - which is pretty understandable as I'm wearing a Babyshambles T-shirt and a pair of jeans with a hole in the crotch - and, laughing derisively, mutters a patronising "well, of course, why not?". Just as I adopt my photographer's pose, which involves leaning on the section marked Local Photographs, she rushes back . "Actually, you can take pictures of the library but they can't have any people in them. Data Protection Act, you see." This is utter nonsense, I feel, but I comply with the rules and point the camera upwards. Earlier, in between scanning The Times from 1936-1949, I had become the friendly, youthful face about archives. An elderly woman (they are all elderly in here, all looking up family history gubbins) had failed to listen to the librarian's instructions on how to use the microfilm viewer. "I daren't ask her again, she seemed quite agressive," she shouts across to me at my viewer, "can you help?" Thankfully, my knowledge of microfilm viewers has expanded exponentially in the few days I have spent in here and I see no problem in sharing my wisdom. Minutes later I am called back to offer more help, and end up having to show her how to print a page of the Hull Daily Mail from 1968. We both agree that 40p per A3 print-out is an extortionate amount for a pensioner to pay.

I head to the Old English Gentleman. It appears that half of the cast from the Bill Kenwright-backed Agatha Christie Theatre Company's touring production of The Hollow are staying here. Tony Britton is seen hobbling out of the pub to amble slowly towards the stage door in readiness for an afternoon matinee. He doesn't really look fit enough to walk, never mind perform for a couple of hours. One of his co-actors (Simon Linell, I think) is in no rush to get to the theatre. He has just ordered a coffee and a cheese sandwich on wholegrain, then phones the company stage manager to explain his wherebouts. "I'll be two minutes," he lies, with neither coffee nor sandwich in sight.

I ended up posting my anti-traffic warden rant to the mass-One Day in History blog but it didn't really make me feel any better or less heated about the situation. Also seems a bit of an odd thing to want to capture a day's worth of a nation blogging when they're already out there in the public domain anyway.

4 comments:

Stephen Newton said...

Goodness. Microfilm, thats old skool. Why not stick to a topic that can be researched online?

Dave W said...

For once in my life I'm trying to be thorough. If only everything were on the internet, though, it would be much easier. I must say, while doing all this stuff for the unmentionable project, I've fallen in love with Time Magazine, who have very kindly archived everything online for the likes of me. My work in the local studies library is now done, thankfully, although there'll be another microfilm attack at the BFI archives in London town in the coming months. Yippee.

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