Tuesday, 14 July 2009

I'm only doing my job

you can't do that here

I've got a big pile of Bristol Downs books, as I have taken over the distribution of them in Bristol, because Catherine the publisher is a bit busy with other things these days.

Yesterday I finally plucked up courage to do the City Museum. I piled a cardboard box with copies of the Bristol Downs, along with a few others from Broadcast Books, as they wanted them too. These were, by the way

The Street Names Of Bristol
Secret Underground Bristol
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Dictionary of Bristle
Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology

..so it was quite a heavy box. I bungeed it onto the back of my bicycle, and teetered down Whiteladies Road.

Since Banksy took over the Museum a few weeks ago, there have been humungous crowds at the museum -apparently they are getting 8000 people per day. They have closed off the adjacent University Road and installed barriers for people to queue along, in one of those snakey up-and-down patterns that you get in places where people tend to queue a lot. Like the Chartres Cathedral maze but less picturesque.

The maze was choc-a-bloc. And Queens Road was hugely busy with the Banksy fans contending with the crowds of graduates in academic gowns and their doting families, spilling out from a degree ceremony in the Wills Building next door. It was an interesting contrast; posh formal wear on the one hand, and grown up people wearing the sort of thing that teenagers used to wear on the other.

I finally found somewhere to park my bicycle, and staggered to the place where the queue went in. "I'm delivering some books to the shop," I said; "They're expecting me".

The steward was evidently one of the temporary staff who had been drafted in for the exhibition. He was very cheerful and very helpful, and he made a radio call. "Go round to the exit door," he said; "It's the old main entrance, just over there."

And indeed it was. There were several porters standing there. Porters of the old school. Masters of the craft of Getting In The Way. Men whose beetling bellies o'erhang the Nylon trousers amain.

"I'm dropping off some books for the shop," I said.

"You'll have to take them to the Goods Entrance," said the fattest porter. He airily waved in the direction of University Road.

So instead of walking the twenty paces across the museum foyer to the shop, I pushed my way through the crowds, climbed the steep hill of the side road, skirted the queues, went through a Gormenghasty side entrance where forgotten bits of museum lay mouldering, then made my way through the museum from top to bottom (in the hilly way of things, the goods entrance is on an upper floor) and finally got to the shop.

O well, Fat Porter evidently belongs in a museum.

Oh yes, here's what the queue looks like

I met Sandra on Whiteladies Road and we had a nice talk. She is a visitor to this blog, and said that she likes the line drawings. So here's one, Sandra!