Quite rightly, no one was taking a blind bit of notice of this bureaucratic nonsense. For a moment, I was led to think that grey old England was at last starting to come alive. My seven-year-old son remarked, "This place is fun", something which has not often been said of the home of the Classics, History, and Modern and Medieval Languages Faculties. We were both wrong. It was not long before some censorious professor called time on all the excitement and one of the university's official spoilsports (garbed in a fluorescent raincoat) arrived to shoo everyone away and restore the faculties to their state of funereal Sunday calm.
This was a miniature tragedy. The University is missing a golden opportunity here to bridge the old town/gown barrier. We are wasting a space whose architecture can only be redeemed by having baggy-trousered urban surfers disporting themselves on its concrete shores. And, at no cost, we could be increasing the cheerfulness of the nation. But no - we would rather stamp it out.
In a spirit of renewal, let us take down those prohibitive signs and let the skateboarders rip. And where the University leads, a few other tired institutions - the British Museum, the National Theatre, for example - might follow. This could be the beginning of the un-greying of Britain.
Dr ANDY MARTIN
Lecturer in French
University of CambridgeReuse content