A queue snaked around the side of the Science Museum last night. We stood under umbrellas, chatting happily as the night darkened around us and the rain steadily fell with ever increasing drips. An organiser in a fluorescent yellow coat came around and pressed a candy whistle into our (sadly eager) hands. Tonight we were the children at the adults-only Science Museum Lates, although the few self-conscious toots from the whistles indicated that shaking off the grown up mantle takes a while.
Like until you see the first button on an interactive display.
It is funny how some things never change. As a child fuelled by the excitement of a school outing, I used to run around pressing buttons. As an adult fuelled by wine, my attention span is exactly the same as it ever was.
Me: ‘Ooo button!’ *stabs button*
Good friend R: ‘What does it do?’
Me: ‘Dunno. Lights up that bulb.’ *stabs button again*
Both of us: Give printed text a second’s cursory glance, spot the word ‘bulb’. Glance around for next exhibit.
R: ‘This one has a button as well!’
We scurry off.
It was ever so much fun to be let loose in the science museum, especially with alcohol! We sat on the floor and did a brass rubbing, and then tried to complete a sound-trail quiz which satisfied my love of social history – look, a Rubik’s Cube! An old typewriter! The first computer! Memorex cassette tapes!
We made magnets float, tried to wire a circuit board, played with magnetised steel discs, and whirled a few dials to see what happened (stuff lights up!). I learnt some highly important scientific stuff, such as… um… and then we decided it was high time to check out the silent disco.
Held on the ground floor, it had two DJs – not that anyone walking past could hear any music. But the people busting moves while listening to headsets certainly could, they were dancing and twirling – all in supposed silence to the passer-by. On being presented with a headset, me and good friend R started off rather self-consciously at first as we threaded our way into the crowd. There were lots of pulling off the headphones and ‘isn’t this weird’ delighted conversation at each other – and then the DJ played Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ and the dance floor (silently) erupted! So much fun – after that we were rocking with the best of them. Bring on the silent discos!
Even better, all this is completely free! I love London sometimes.