Friday, 20 February 2015

The Vault


If you've ever imagined or read about London (and if you live there, just bear with me) you'll probably go for the buses, the tourist sites, Big Ben and statues of important people on horses. And then there's the bits that you read about in books, the bits that the cool people and the hipsters go to, the whole culture that exists if you can only find it. I'm here to tell you that it does exist, if only in the form of the vault. It's amazing, in a word.

 I wouldn't normally know about things like this, because I don't live in London, but we somehow ended up going there to watch a performance of Macbeth, and it was like nothing else I've ever seen. To start with, we came straight out of the station, and literally down a hole, into the pavement. Under the street is a whole load of abandoned underground tunnels, and every inch is covered with graffiti. I was pretty happy to just stand and stare for a while (they even change it every day!) surrounded by cigarette smoke, but it was pretty cold, so we managed to find the entrance to the actual place (which was sign posted by the graffiti, which was cool). Inside was just wow. Enough to make me perform grammatical acts of atrocity.

Inside is, obviously, more tunnels, but the kind of foyer bit is red brick, with iron doors leading into different spaces. My two favourite bits were the bar area and the gallery bit. The bar area is incredible, and exactly what I imagined in all the books I love. It's quite dark, with odd patches of flashing lights, and drapes over rickety wooden tables. There're crazy art installations, umbrellas hanging from ceilings and loads of indie people lounging on battered arm chairs. In the gallery there are chairs made out of hanging bathtubs, and tables made of huge cotton reels. A piano with no case is covered with posters for upcoming performances, and it slumps in the corner, next to a display of tea and cakes.
The Macbeth performance (I didn't take this, sadly)
Basically, if you ever get a chance to go, definitely do. It's still around for a few weeks, I think, and I couldn't recommend it more. It kind of feels like I've found a grungy fairyland, that only a few can see. (And yes, I'm extremely smug about it.)