Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Another old writing fragment – an university, aerial view

Latitude: 53.7696563611, Longitude: -0.367167156976, Altitude: 47, 376 feet. Rate of descent: lazy.  

Follow me, oh reader, follow me down on phantom wings at dawn, down as we bust through the clouds and orgone, towards the planetary petri-dish. 

See the city below segue from Kandinsky to Monet to Mondrian to, to, to, real life as we swoop in drunken downward ammonite spirals to ground level.  

To the centre of the city? No, not yet. Leave that mix of chain store traffic and dockland dilapidation for another time. No, while the thermals and this hawkmannish-boy fantasy permit, let us set the controls to the south, to the university which is the heart of this story. 

Pass over the time-worn terraces, the tower blocks all-a-hung with the symbols of reservation, the threatened Victoriana of the churches and the swimming baths and the triumphant Thatcheriana of the red-brick house-boxes.   

Head for the concrete blocks surrounding the manor house on the outside of town, clamped there like Le Corbusier grafted to Pugin.   

Readers, Dive! And greet The University in all its glory at dawn. Let us land in the centre of the quad. Don't buzz the ducks on the lake. How would you like it?  

How still and torpid universitas castra is in the first light of the morning. Before the invisible army of cleaners and helpmeets arrive and depart, and its symbionts arrive for lectures, seminars, gossip and disporting, before then, all is quiet.   

The magisterial manor house around which the university was built, housing the administration and the offices of those whom the vice-chancellor deems worthy of this perquisite; the student union with the look of the flatulent youth club; the functional gun metal and concrete strongholds of the social sciences, the ivy-tamed outposts of the arts and languages, the glass palaces of business and engineering, the basements of comp sci and surgery.   

In the silence, all seem less real than the faint movement of wind  in the neatly mown grass on the lawn of the quad, on the sports fields where the first joggers are yet to be seen, on the parklands which gently merge with the flatland farms beyond the edge of the city.

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