Friday, October 06, 2006

Happy New Year!

The new academic year has begun. This means that the city has again come to life, as thousands of students are frantically going from event to event and induction to another, finding their place in the social soup of Cambridge. Eager to add new people and groups to their Facebook profiles, they're all contributing to the manic feel the city has at the moment.

And there are so many societies and clubs. Literally hundreds, 40 more than last year, at least if presence at the Freshers' Fair is a good indicator. They were all there, from the macho alpha-males of the university army/navy/airforce clubs, sportsmen and -women from tennis to tiddlywinks, the international societies (including the Finnish Society, of course) and a number of other societies, groups, initiatives, projects and clubs. There they were, the palefaced velvet-corsetted CU Goth Society reps, alongside the inbred-looking folks of the University Heraldics and Genealogy society. I suppose the Ramblers' Society and Hillwalking Club reps needed to explain people what the difference between the two was, as they were next to each other trying to encourage people to go for walks with them.

All this in a sports hall full of people after freebies, drowned under staggeringly loud bad popmusic. Anyone would be dumbfounded. And yet, as the evening comes, they all roam the streets of Cambridge dressed as angels, demons, pirates, schoolkids, or in their pyjamas, heading from one society squash to the next college bop, and then to the afterparty by a drinking society, in order to meet people and learn what the Cambridgin words "squash", "bop", and "drinking society" mean.

Next morning, nobody is out before 10. And when they are, they are blocking the streets with their new bikes and stopping in the middle of cross-roads reading the maps upside down. Nothing wrong with that, but I still feel I would like to stop and tell them that if they would rise the seat in their bike a bit and pedal with toes rather than heels, they would be going faster where ever it is they are trying to reach. This style of cycling that I call the "Chinese swagger", is very common especially among the Chinese contingency. The seat is at its lowest setting, regardless of the height (or lack thereof) of the cyclist, the heels are on pedals, and the knees are pointing outwards, just like cowboy's, also so that they wouldn't hit the cyclist in their face. As this is a very uncomfortable, slow, and unstable position, the bike swaggers along the cycle lane incontrollably, but you can't pass as the whole thing is so wide and could be turning across the lane at any time. Well, at least the student discounts are back!


No comments: