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Cambridge Days

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    Cambridge Days Excursions Elsewhere

    Back and There Again

    Can’t really call a place “an old haunt” until you’re back and weirdly lingering around, and yeah, that’s us now on Day 3 of travels.

    We’re in Cambridge, and whoah, what a difference a decade makes: our first steps out of the train station felt unexpectedly foreign, jolted by the phalanx of new real-estate developments that loom over the tracks. It took a couple good blocks of pulling suitcases for Cambridge to start feeling like Cambridge, again, familiar row houses and all.

    We’ve spent all of five hours back in the old neighborhood, and I’m already set to make snap judgements: the Cambridge Blue lost its indie charm (and former owner, I presume), Mill Road’s gained none (not sure I’d ever want it to), and most importantly, the mystery of Roll On Blank Tapes persists.

    Roll On Blank Tapes, Gwydir street

    Seriously. While the faded mural for Hot Numbers Records on Kingston St. has gone so far as to be restored, like a valued fresco from days of yore, just a couple blocks away, there sits an empty shopfront that’s got TDK MiniDisc and Top Tape adverts plastered to the windows, still. Each one every bit as sun-faded and dust-covered as they were in 2004, when we first arrived.

    I’m told there’s a connection to H. Gee, another temporally-resistant shopfront which mysteriously endures on Mill Road. I bought ~50p of fuse wire there, once, years ago, and even then, had the strong sense mine would be the only transaction of the day.  I say “endures”, but it might be “endured” — right now, the window stock looks worryingly sparse.

    Can’t help but think there’s a strange synchronicity, beyond just the shape of the name, between H. Gee and E. Buk, that odd Manhattan shop window that appeared in Pattern Recognition (and my own accidental wanderings in SoHo, once).  E. Buk’s window so artfully curated, H. Gee so bizarrely random; one like ikebana, the other like jetsam, both so arresting.

    H. Gee shopfront, Mill Rd, Cambridge

    Anyhow. Turns out while Hot Numbers may not be slinging vinyl anymore, there is a sweet coffee shop here that’s resurrected the name, dutifully spinning records and giving me just enough pricey coffee and free wifi needed to hit [POST].

  • Cambridge Days SoCal

    Where the sidewalk ends

    Home, for us, is a dynamic variable. Its current state would seem to be “California”. As such, there are friends and family and sun back in our lives now, all of…

  • pitcher of Pimm's
    Cambridge Days

    Of Pimm’s, Punts, and Pembroke.

    There’s a correlation between sunny weather and Pimm’s consumption, in these parts. Or maybe it’s causality. I’d never heard of Pimm’s before landing in Cambridge. And based on my fall and winter,…

  • trees in cambridge
    Cambridge Days

    April

    Seems England can’t completely shake off winter, much as I can’t free myself from this here particularly nasty cold. Brutal, really. Cambridge was grey and drizzly all of last week; meanwhile,…