Monday, July 14, 2008

British Library

Days as today make my job stand out. It humbles me to look back at what I could do working for The Wall Street Journal Europe, and what I probably will be able to do in the future, when at the same time a lot of my colleagues will have to leave that same company because of the restructuring in Brussels. It is difficult; it is re-living the life of the Dazed and Confused generation. My first meeting today in London took place at the British Library (picture), an idea from the person I was going to meet, the press officer of Palgrave Publishing. Palgrave has a list of outstanding publications, some of them I hope to welcome in the Thursday editions of the WSJE Future Leadership Institute Boxes. It all reminded me of the essay on libraries of Umberto Ecco, which came into our lives when my classmates and I fought historical battles with the conservative Antwerp libraries to write our school essays. His essay was like a pamphlet of Che Guevara, demanding coffee, copiers, humor, design and long opening hours from modern libraries. Actually something that looked very similar to the British Library today.

I end the day unexpectedly in a Christian Guest house, all serious hotels in the neighborhood being sold out, in the blue dining room, because that is the only spot with wireless internet access tonight. I am not alone, in the other corner, in the dark, 4 Italian girls, curled up in sofas, eating candy, drinking tea, watching The Phantom of the Opera. How much more Dazed and Confused can it get?