Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Virtual Reality

It’s been scrawled, etched and painted many times over the last 40 years but no matter how transitory the media (A brass nameplate was attached January 1998 but it disappeared in July of that year), the unofficial official name of this lamp-post remains. Situated half-way across Parker’s Piece on the diagonal between the University Arms Hotel and the Mill Road/East Road traffic lights, it was erected in 1894 and was supposedly the first electric streetlight in the city. Depending on the story it was either the demarcation line between Town and Gown or was christened by a founder of the Mill Road Arjuna health food shop whilst high. Either way the name ‘Reality Checkpoint’ has stuck and it remains a pilgrimage place for the many suffering metaphysical meltdown. Or not. I always thought it a great and evocative name – I half expect to come across it in The Hitchhiker's Guide.