It should have been an easy journey. I had to be at the Barbican for a 9:30 start. A quick cycle ride down the South Bank, leave the bike at Tate Modern, brisk walk over the Millennium Bridge and through the City and you’re there. No sweltering tube, no oyster cards, no fuss, no mess, no cost. What I hadn’t accounted for in this plan was what would happen once I got to the Barbican. In fact, my journey broke down as follows:
Cycle down South Bank: 10 minutes
Find Bike rack: 2 minutes (hello, Tate Modern, three bike racks is pathetic – even Kew Bridge station does better than that …)
Cross River and walk through City: 20 minutes
Navigate through Barbican to my destination: What felt like the rest of my life
I’d obviously been fooled by all those newspaper articles about how much better signposted the Barbican had become these days. That’s better signposted as in better than, say, Hampton Court Maze. Not as in actually easy to navigate. Fortunately, before I was condemned to spend a second night wandering the raised walkways and baffling spaces of the Barbican, I happened on a helpful woman having a fag outside one of the doors who, noticing my complete and utter lostness, gave me directions. Once the new smoking directives come in, she’ll presumably have to go all the way out of the complex to smoke and I and people like me will never escape its toils.
Anyway I was pleased to notice that the pedant’s army has an international division operating in London. The Barbican Ladies’ loos have quadrilingual signs telling you what to do with your (chaps please look away now) sanitary items. I noticed in the one I was in that the French version had been carefully corrected. Truly a better class of graffitti…