May Week, wonderful and stressful and strange in that Cambridge way, has just ended. My limbs are exhausted and my friends are dispersing quickly and dramatically, disappearing permanently to jobs or temporarily to travel, trading their English MPhils toward American PhDs. I'm too tired for travelling, but I don't feel like being here, where everything is exhaustingly momentary.
|I wish I knew how to explain how good Grill'd is.|
In short, I'm somewhat homesick. I'm never sure where I'm actually 'from', and I generally don't mind being geographically untethered, but I miss Melbourne. Cambridge is lovely and I like living here, but the whole town is high strung and too small, a series of whispering galleries and echo chambers, a mess of performance and amplification, everything easily and always distorted. It's beautiful and so much fun, but Baudrillard's essay on Disneyland should be printed on all the walls.
I went to twenty-three parties in a week and had my first year viva, and when you can see the parties out your window it's easy to be dizzied. I miss the intimacy of cities, and of all Melbourne's laneways, the seemingly infinite list of cafes, the tiny bars where you can touch both walls with your arms outstretched, all the milk crates that become seats in laneways and loading docks. I don't know how to articulate Melbourne, and it certainly has a ridiculousness about it (crowds of hipsters dressed in black, newspapers dedicated to food, art galleries and zine shops in the metro tunnels), but it's so different from Cambridge.
It might be also that I'm missing some sense of permanence; I have a lot of friends from undergrad who stayed in Melbourne, but nobody really stays in Cambridge after graduation, so there's this constant underlying awareness that communities assemble and disassemble. It's hard to be sentimental about a world that remakes itself each year.
Maybe Cambridge is like Burning Man? I guess that's a comparison that probably isn't made often.
I guess this is much more about Cambridge than it is about Melbourne. I wanted to compile some old photographs as a way of assuaging the longing, and these words are an attempt at explanation. It's interesting, though; I've found I don't even have many photographs of Melbourne, perhaps because I didn't know much about photography when I lived there or perhaps because I saw the city primarily as a backdrop for people.