Bedlam Library: A Cautionary Tale

“Bedford library: a cesspit of sole-crushing, nausea-inducing, student-babbling piss…”

Bedford library: a cesspit of sole-crushing, nausea-inducing, student-babbling piss. On approach, a horde of its followers (the death eaters) create a great inhuman mass at the hideous and imposing glass doors. Occupying benches, loitering and barricading the entrance, a continuous flow of cigarette smoke chuffs and burns the very air one breathes, creating a ghostly Passchendaele-esque scene. Their faces are gaunt and expressionless; they speak in tongue unknown. Small lights flicker then die in the smoke, as another death stick Marlboro is lit in the damp snowy evening by the death eaters. Do not linger. After forcing and pushing oneself through the ghostly cigarette ridden rabble, the glass gates open ominously, then BANG. One is hit square jawed by a cacophony of harpy like screams and chatter chatter chatter, like the sound of a Bren gun. A thousand inexplicably hyperactive students, dancing round great whiteboards and multi coloured chairs, like the forerunner to a bacchanalian orgy and sacrifice.

The sanguinity is alarming and distressing; so much activity, so many little minds, so many colours. Some stare. They realise you do not belong. Machines ping and laptops keys tatter tatter tatter. Frozen yoghurt galore, bright colours galore. A crippling environment. The sounds, the gaggle, the pollution of the masses. Every work-space occupied, every computer snatched. The clinical austerity of the rubber floors, the perversion of the modern world. One must escape, one needs air, one gasps, one runs to the loo, only to find a great big …. THING! Floating in the toilet and an acute lack of paper. One pauses for breath, one panics! Go in, get the book and run. Go in, get the book and run! Charging upstairs through the harpy throngs, past a death eater on his way to the fields of Passchendaele and the dense fog of malcontent, on, on, on, away from Milton’s Pandemonium.

The 2nd floor offers security, silence, tranquillity from the bedlam. Charging through, the silence is heavenly, yet, the death eaters wait below. Even the ranks of the 2nd floor have been infiltrated by Harpy-esque creatures of the night. No space can be found, no librarian can be seen. This is the silence of astounded souls! One grabs the book, one looks for the escape, wicked goblins perched on their desks glare as you run. You do not belong. Do not look back. Fly you fools! Shadowfax, show us the meaning of haste!

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