Sunday, 27 September 2009

Reality Checkpoint

Cambridge is the academic Disneyland, that much we know by now. It is screaming for its Ballard to write Super-Cambridge or something as apt to map the perverse libidinal economies (connected to the very monetary economies) which circulate here.

One of the fascinating points, or lines in Cambridge is the so called reality checkpoint.
It has got a long history, partly documented already on Wikipedia as well but it captures so well on an affective level as well the fine divisions found in Cambridge. After crossing Parker's Piece, heading towards the centre, you are warned of the approaching bubble disconnected from the real world (again: Academic Disneyland). Quite often the original 1970s context for reality checkpoint pointed towards the difference between Cambridge undergrads and the "normal folk" of Cambridge, but as apt is the fact that it apparently was first scratched on the lamp post by CCAT -- now Anglia Ruskin -- student(s). Makes me proud of our university. At least a spirit of radicality, hope we could strengthen that still. And I always add that the other university might have their Nobel Prize winners etc., but I will any day such a winner, and raise that with a Pink Floyd member (David Gilmour and Syd Barrett studied at our predecessor). Oh, would that be the day if we had a "David Gilmour chair in sonic media", or a "Syd Barrett chair in experimental media studies."


  1. Well said mate. The problem is that though the old "Polys" were hotbeds of much needed reality checking, as well as much needed critique, they are far less so now. I wish you luck in bringing this back to Anglia. I sincerely hope you succeed.

  2. Yup Robin, not having any big illusions (or would need a reality check myself), but one needs to affirm what one has and try to think through that! :)