Category Archives: Cambridge UK

Disappearing Market Street, Cambridge UK

“Trollbeads” the very idiosyncratic jewellery (faux) Art Nouveau-fronted shop is no longer there. Perhaps the lovely shop front will be retained if the unit can be let, although the number of empty shops even in prosperous Cambridge centre is now quite scary – feels like 5%. It is true that Main Street / The High Street shopping is dying as clicks overtake bricks – sad and horrible, because “going shopping” is something fun to do even if one is only “window shopping.” Therein of course lies the problem.

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Gormley @ Kettles Yard (Cambridge UK)

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http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/events/antony-gormley-subject/

Do this one if you can. This gallery is so aesthetically and architecturally well-curated it is almost too much off a good thing. As engineering, Gormley’ installations, as his sculptures of necessity are, impress. Floating man, warp speed space cube thing, laser-like representations of the three dimensions. This is a very nice couple of hours in a very well-manicured corner of Cambridge. Gormley never fails to entertain. Sure he does all the arty philosophical deep semiotic sociological psychobabble stuff, but he cannot do other than entertain. A welder-showman building big dippers for folks’ heads to ride. As a tanguero might put it, “This is serious fun.”

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The floating baby on the gallery’s toilet sign seems strangely prescient today…

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All pictures in this blog article are photographs Copyright 2018 by me kevintangodance,  of works created by the artist Antony Gormley and displayed at Kettles Yard Gallery. None of the images in this article/webpage/blog post may be used without my permission. All Rights Reserved.

Ghosts of Mill Road, Cambridge UK

I was born in Mill Road, Cambridge UK. I remember Mum taking me to buy clothes at Barneys shop when I was a boy about 50 years ago. It closed down some years ago, but recently they stripped it back to the concrete, and there is the outline of the old sign still there over the entrance. The Penguin “American” Laundry still there, has been running as long as I can remember.

If you are an old Cantabrigian like me, enjoy.

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Arrow of Time

Space is multi-dimensional, unlike the two-dimensional trees in the brand new district of Cambridge, UK known as Eddington.

Space is expanding because the universe is expanding.

It is expanding away from every point in itself equally like every point on the surface of an inflating balloon. It started at zero size and now it is about 30 billion light years across.

You are such a point. You are on that surface of the space balloon. It is where you are and moving makes no difference as wherever you go it is the same for you. You cannot be on a different place relative to the whole universe because you are in the universe.

Everything is getting further away from you in space.

Now what about time?

It is just another dimension. It is expanding. It started at no seconds and now it is about 15 billion years in duration.

Just as you are at the expanding edge of the universe on space (the point on the balloon that you cannot get off) so you are at the expanding edge of time. Look anywhere and you look back in time. The further away that star is, the longer it took for its light to reach you.

You can only look backwards in space and time. You must travel forwards as the edge of space time expands with you stuck on it. You cannot see the forwards (future) space time as it has not yet been created, you are stuck in the here and now, only able to look back and see and remember the past.

That is the arrow of time. Simple. Easy. A child of five with a toy balloon could get it. Nothing to see here, move along. Little joke there of course. God bless.

What if reality is really a giant pinball game?

Never mind the matrix, if you can get security clearance (you will need a genuine reason like attending some sort of event there) take a walk through the Genome Campus at Hinxton, Cambridge, England.

There are numerous chromed spheres, each slightly tweaked to represent various stages of life. The one with a hole represents the stage at which it becomes apparent that we are coelenterates, a biological taxonomical classification meaning we have a gut that opens at the mouth and exits the other end.

The effect of this tableau of embryonic development is to make the long slopes, interspersed by post-modernist buildings, appear as a giant pinball machine, giving a slightly science-fiction sense of unease that things might just roll down and bowl one over or a huge flipper whack out of the sides.

Oldies like me will remember the blob thing in “The Prisoner” TV series. Well here in Hinxton Big brother definitely is watching and don’t even think what escaped chimera might just be lurking up the next level. Best enjoyed at dusk when it becomes eerily empty.

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Disappearing Cambridge

Mill Road is changing. We have lost the incredibly historic CB1 Internet Cafe with the very old computers on display, we have lost the atmospheric and odd Jaffa Net Cafe with its Hookah Pipe tent, and today I noticed the iconic Cambridge Resale is no more as a physical shop. They are, according to the notice on the old shop door, a website only now (their website needs updating as it says they have a shop, which apparently now, they don’t). At least they have kept their typeface, which they have had as long as I can remember.

I appreciate that change is inevitable, but what I miss is the informality that makes a place interesting. If property prices mean a place just becomes gentrified housing and clone chain coffeeshops, then have not all the things than made the area unique, interesting and desirable (and so property prices high) not been driven out? I don’t want run-down “interesting” slums, but nor do I want empty soul-less endless gated communities that separate people as that is deeply un-Christian, and unsurprisingly therefore, not nice. Does gentrification have within it the seeds of its own destruction? Signs of the (end) times maybe…

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CB1 Internet cafe closed

The first internet cafe in the UK (actual physical cafe as opposed to the electronic bulletin board called cybercafe) closed at Christmas 2015 and did not re-open after the holiday. A local shopkeeper told me that although the staff wished to carry on after the manager had left, the owner was thinking of leasing out the premises for something more profitable. How sad if we lose this atmospheric bit of our history. Already a chain cafe (Costa) has opened on the other side of the street, and the middle eastern Jaffanet cafe a few doors down has closed. Mill Road Cambridge is gradually turning from a fabulous eclectic mix of independent businesses into clone-street like all our towns slowly losing individuality. I do hope the owner of CB1 re-opens the cafe as it originally was, but sadly that seems a little unlikely.