Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Nuntium Retroprogressivum

The news from Cambridge today is that a development of new houses has been emblazoned with graffiti - in Latin. Dog Latin anyway, so it's probably not the work of classicists (I'm assuming they still have to know Latin, but I'm probably behind the times there).
 In my day, graffiti of a provocative nature was everywhere, most of it the work of various anarchist groups who were all over the place in those rebellious times. Blake was popular, I remember - 'The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction,' etc - and the likes of Antonin Artaud ('Jet of Blood')  and countless 'revolutionaries' now forgotten, at least by me. At that time, of course, Cambridge was a very different city, essentially an impoverished and declining provincial town with a very wealthy (and widely resented) university in its midst. Now it's an extremely prosperous city, made rich by high-tech industries, and with house prices to match. It seems the town's resentment now is against the housing developers and their allies who are turning most of the city into a big-money zone where the locals can't afford to live. It makes you quite nostalgic for the run-down, low-rent grubbiness of Cambridge as it was half a century ago. Half a century! Eheu fugaces labuntur anni... [Enough with the Latin - Ed.]