Even 20 minutes before opening time, the Baltic has plenty of folks strolling in the doors, this includes the obligatory school trips whose sole purpose seems to be to shift seemingly limitless numbers of small, screaming, chattering children from the stoic isolation of the classroom to the quiet, contemplative space that is the (alleged) 'high' art gallery. I wonder why they do this; is it perhaps to ensure that the teachers 'earn' their state-size pay packets, perhaps to justify the 'cost' of the education that their children are recieving.
As I write; a massive group of A-level students have just been led straight past me into the gallery, dyed, straightened and gelled hair flapping starchily in the breeze, those who took advantage of the fresh air between the bus and the doors hanging back to finish their illicit fags.
The rest of the crowd coming in are in twos and threes, usually a couple taking a much younger child with them, or a single escort for a mildly younger charge. Another group approaches, and now I fear for my gallery experience entirely, I am going to run inside and attempt to grab a place in line ahead of this mass of noise-machines in tiny, blue sweaters
more to follow...