Cambridge’s Best Benches: Part 1

LUKE HEPPENSTALL-WEST brings you his groundbreaking review of Cambridge’s most exciting benches.

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Us Cantabs do a lot of sitting down, right?

Reading and writing and thinking and that.

So I thought I would, for once, not just to look out for number one but do something worthwhile, something that will genuinely improve people’s lives – I mean, isn’t that what good journalism is.

I want to stem the Rickets epidemic and get students out of their room-caves and into the sun (alright, perhaps with winter coming on, this article was poorly timed); to embrace the beauty of their city, and maybe, as in all good rom-coms, have a romantic encounter.

Imagine it: you will both have read this article; you’ll already have something in common. You can debate the merits of the bench you both find yourselves on, laugh, exchange numbers – it can be beautiful. So, without further ado, here is part one of my suggestions for the best benches in Cambridge.

1) The Old-Timer Recliner – Jesus Green

To ease you in slowly, I thought I would start with this classic. This bench can only be best appreciated with a long-term partner.

It’s sturdy, Iron-wrought frame will remind you of the sturdiness of your own relationship, and you can sit and think about the future together looking across the river at the four-bedroom houses that you might one day be able to buy to house your three children.

You will be facing away from the sports pitches, meaning that you won’t even have to look down on the energetic and frivolous youth.

6/10 – Scenic and comforting, but brings with it an impending awareness of your own mortality. Old couple not included.

2) The Angsty-Paul-Simon Bench – Trinity Hall

‘I am a rock, I am an i-i-island’, as the song goes.

This bench is perfect for those who want all the benefits of the outside world without the irritation of other people.

Its circular design makes conversation almost impossible, and what’s more, the tree has built in wifi.

6.5/10 – Peaceful and beautiful, excellent for quiet, studious work.

3) The Overcompensating bench – Jesus College, Chapel Court

Alright Jesus, we know that you’ve got a great college. This bench is ideal for those who enjoy architecture made by people with small cocks (this is an unintentional play on words – Jesus’ crest is adorned with cockerels).

Personally, I’m not a fan, but I do go to Queens’ – there’s definitely a bit of envy going on. Fuck you, Jesus. You’re too damn pretty.

6.5/10 – Trying too hard, would not bang.

4) The Epitome-of-the-Modern-World bench

Alright, now I’m throwing in a curveball, something to upset you traditional bench lovers out there.

Look at it. It’s edgy. It’s efficient. Some might even say it’s sexy. It’s also really fucking uncomfortable. It’s the bench for people in a rush, which seems to be everyone nowadays.

6.7/10 – Original, artistic (in a functionalist kind of way), but noisy and not somewhere you’d actually want to sit.

5) The Bench Equivalent of the Old Man Drinking Whisky in the Pub

This bench has been around as long as the Cambridge itself.

Probably longer. The settlers came across the wastes, exhausted, and found respite upon this bench, liked it,and decided to build a city around it.

Personally – I love it. I love the danger, the worry that you might impale yourself on a nail and have to get yourself to hospital for a tetanus jab (great procrastination tip, guys), or that if you sit in the centre the bench might just collapse.

7.5/10 – Surrounded by trees, it’s very serene, but it’s also almost constantly in shadow, so is freezing. Oh, and it’s falling apart.

6) The I-Can’t-Think-of-anything-funny-to-say-about-it Bench – Corpus Christi

Located in a little courtyard round the back of Corpus Christi, this bench is not only a good place to work or chat, it also smells of freshly-baked bread (or it did when I went), being next to the Corpus buttery.

If you’re feeling particularly pious (or sinful, for that matter), the chapel is just opposite so you can pop in for a quick bit of benediction.

7.8/10 – Strong contender, but you actually have to get into Corpus Christi, which never seems to be open.

So there was the first installment.

Come back tomorrow for more ground-breaking bench news.