1. Beneath the veneer of civilisation is just more civilisation.
All these symptoms fade when love gets poured over them. I’ve struggled to do everything I said I would but you have been so kind.
2. Amid the panic I decided it didn’t matter. Letting go made it work. I’ve done what I’ve done and the same goes for what I didn’t do. I enjoyed not doing it.
3. You and I hid in the library. We hid in a shelter we’d been secretly constructing for weeks, an enclosure of books built up around the legs of a table. There was enough room inside for two people to lie side by side. We held on to each other as we slipped in and out of sleep.
4. We pee’d in the metal waste paper bin. That was my idea. There was a conversation between us about what we did and what we didn’t do. And I described some of those things like painting my face so I could read more effectively. Such bright colours that I shone, illuminating the pages.
5. During the day students come and go. They do all of the things I did when it meant something to misbehave. I want to tut but I’m supposed to be subverting civilised behaviour, so I tut at their lack of flair. Anyone can talk in a library nowadays and I don’t really care. I just want to sleep; it’s so warm in here.
6. I remember going to art school to find something but now I’m quite happy to lose it all.
7. One day I came in and made myself look so hideous that no one could look at me. That’s what it’s like around here. So quiet!
8. [And} within a few yards of here the architectural apotheosis of Bloomsbury itself – The British Museum. It’s a fine Greek façade as you can see. It was designed by the Smirke brothers. The whole thing’s really a crib from the Parthenon and it’s ironic that this museum should house the Elgin Marbles, those curious pieces of statuary which were in the frieze originally of the Parthenon itself. In the Assyrian section here is a fine head of Hadrian who ruled over us as proconsul and built that incredible wall from Solway to Tyne against the barbarians. And that’s a Greek word that was coined by the dwellers of the city-state in derision of those outside that looked after the sheep and who they said only make noises like sheep and went ‘baa-baa’ and thus ‘Bar-barian’ to indicate all the uncivilised values as opposed to Hadrian who was eminently civilised and [winks] dead right for Bloomsbury.
9. The ceiling has crashed in dropping lumps of rubble on the books. I can no longer dig. Pieces of stone and concrete have melted over everything, binding it all together. The door is gone. I don’t want to go up into the light that is shining in through the blasted ceiling. I’m exposed and bereft of what it was I was seeking underground. The grotto is out of reach and I’m left in tears.
10. I came in dressed up like a clown. I had the full kit on: bald wig with rainbow frizz, ludicrous face, a big red nose, baggy trousers and long, long shoes. Nobody would look at me and that made me cry one tear that froze on my cheek. I dropped a few books into my trousers and left. That was on the first of May. I remember because I left my bladder on a stick behind. I wonder if anyone handed it in?
11. In our bunker made of books I lay awake while you slept. I didn’t know what you wanted at all at that time. I put my arm over you but it felt wrong. In your sleep you said ‘why don’t you take your clown make-up off?’
12. The votive crown of King Recceswinth. Musee de Cluny, Paris. Gold with pearls and sapphires. Visigothic. RECCEVINTHUS REX OFFERET.
13. Though some have tried to find one, no common definition will fit these works, for they answer to endlessly different mental positions and keys of transcription, each of these being invented by the maker for his own purposes of the moment, so that the only common feature of such works is that they run on different lines from those of museum art. They do not meet us half way as the latter does. The standards and the references of cultural art fail to apply. Each of these works has its own standards, its own system of reference, to which one has to adjust.
14. There are people peering down at us through the hole that used to be the ceiling. I don’t know if they are hostile or helpful. They say the sewerage system has burst and is flooding the college. If we don’t get out we’ll drown. What about all the books and objects inside? It’s too late. They pull me out and start to seal up the hole. I’ve got a book in my hands, its bound in cardboard – like a pizza box. I have to get it back into the underground room but it’s too late. You are still down there but no one has noticed.