Thursday, May 28, 2015
Posted on 1:05 PM by Lauren Rissell
Life, or Death? No, not a threat, or a philosophical conundrum - but a late night kebab choice for the students of Cambridge.
When I went back for a college reunion recently, we had a lavish dinner but I couldn't not go to the Van of Death - and I couldn't miss telling you about it. Like many things in Cambridge, the Van of Death - or VoD as it is affectionately known - officially has another name: Uncle Frank's. But this is common - the nightclub we went to was known as Cindy's, and appears to still be called Cindy's by students now, even though the name had changed to something else (Fifth Avenue) even by the time I started university in 1998, and I think it's now called Ballare.
So Uncle Frank's will always be the Van of Death to us. Situated on the left hand side of the market square if you are facing King's, there is also a similar van on the other side of the square - known as the Van of Life. There were various myths and legends as to how the name came about, but none of my friends really know.
The thing was, you were loyal to one or the other. My group of friends were always for the VoD - disparaging remarks would jokingly be made about people who went to Life and vice versa, a bit like how Oxford and Cambridge students tease each other. To be honest I doubt the food was much different, and late at night on the way home from Cindy's nobody really cared. Did we only go to the VoD because it was fractionally (that is, a matter of yards) closer to our college? I don't know. What I do know is that we looked very fondly upon the men who worked in the van (I think one of them may have been the eponymous Frank) and his clarion call of "chilli sauce?"
If you're ever in Cambridge late at night, there's nothing like a trip to the VoD.