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The essence of surreality that infuses CambridgeLife and is sadly lacking in the RealWorld.

There are many ways in which this aura manifests itself, some of these are:

The decision making process.  A sub-committee meets every month, and has done so for the last one hundred and forty years, to decide upon the colour which the combination rooms curtains should be.  They have yet to reach a consensus.

TruthIsStrangerThanFiction. A committee at one college has just spent over a month trying to decide precisely what its colours are, for their web-site.

A second example would be the tradition of pacing back and forth upon King's street.  Two members of the university would walk the length, passing each other in front of the gates of Kings college.  Neither would acknowledge the others presence.  Upon the third such crossing, they would nod to each other, and the decision would be made - consensus having been reached by each upon pondering the CambridgeAura, without the need to belittle the matter by discussing it.- This process is completely sensible and is well documented in FM Cornford's Microcosmographica Academica (Being A Guide For The Young Academic Politician).  This book documents many effects of the CambridgeAura - Mjb67

Other examples of the CambridgeAura are the deliberate practice of NamingThingsSoAsToCauseMaximumConfusion (CorpusChristiCollege, ChristsCollege AND JesusCollege are all separate entities;  FitzwilliamCollege being at the opposite end of the town to the FitzwilliamMuseum.)

And some things which can only be properly understood whilst within the Aura itself.

Such as the fabled existence of GirtonCollege.  The colleges owned by cats.  Cats which are, in fact, ducks.  Dogs which are actually cats, and ducks which are honoured members of college. Ducklings which are CuteDucklings.

The fact that no matter where you go in Cambridge, even if it is only a  broom cupboard, you'll end up saying "What the hell are you doing here!" as you bump into someone you know.

We could go on, questioning the clock tower with no clock; the half finished chapel which is larger than the church; the existence of new courts older than old courts; or the stipend paid by trinity college so that another college does not finish walling in a courtyard...

The Aura is immensely powerful. Any who come in contact with it seem bound to spread its Randomness to wherever they happen to settle down, regardless of where that may be...

Indeed, the Aura is also present in BrightonAndHove.

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Last edited May 30, 2005 12:28 pm (viewing revision 16, which is the newest) (diff)