This was such a funny surprise. Walking along Piccadilly on a Saturday monring. I was suddenly outraged by the Tory posters overlooking the churchyard of St James's and wondered "how can it be", "where is the gallery", "how can someone put those posters there, right there, without planning permission".
Then looking at the front of the building with its brash cheque converter signs I again thought "no, you can't just do this because its a community centre - what is going on", and "where did this community centre come from", and "why here" and "who has paid for this?" "Have they had planning permission waived because its some sort of communal service. " "Is this what is happening in Britain?"
Entering was again confusing, with a cheque desk for cashing cheques and a community notice board. I felt as if I had walked into a dream. "This wasn't here before.This was a beautiful banking hall which had become an art hall. How can a listed interior be removed and turned into this. Have the planners all lost their marbles. Have I?"
Then the place took on a charm and I found myself laughing, but still confused and amused. Very confused. There were events happening and sort of not quite happening. The place seemed a lttle still. I began to treat the whole thing as some crazy tory big society idea by a rich donor, which wasn't working and was wondering well these activities are free and laughter workshops might be a positive idea, but why here? Is this an area with a community which needs help? Does Mayfair and St James's need free speed dating for the elderly. We have Mayfair library after all.
My outrage at the placing of a tory poster on a community centre faded to be replaced by "what does it matter if someone's efforts are misguided as its cheering me up by the lunacy of it all". I still didn't get it, but it was worming away at me.
The joke was on me and I loved it. You have to be careful how you play jokes on people, but this is a nice one. A gentle joke to wake you up.