Holly’s Highlights: Week 1

Culture Editor HOLLY STEVENSON gives you a good dose of all things cultural to cure your Freshers’ flu. Swallow it, it’s good for you.

Art Arts Picturehouse brian blessed Cambridge Union classical music culture Dance eraina taverna Film Fitzwilliam Museum Freshers freshers flu Holly Stevenson Junction Music tracey emin vermeer West Road Concert Hall

Having somehow caught Freshers’ Flu before arriving in Cambridge (causing my nose turning a fetching shade of Tab red), dragging myself to cultural events has been a struggle. So if like me you have tapped into two new seams of phlegm, have a baritone that Barry White would envy and look uncomfortably like the creepy puppet from Saw, self-medicate with these events. It’s worth spreading the germs for these beauties:

FOOD: Eraina Taverna

When? When you have the urge to break a few plates.

Where? Free School Lane (off Benet Street, opposite The Eagle)

Why? It’s perfect for your first meal out in Cambridge. Ostensibly a Greek place, with a cracking lamb kleftico to back it up, they actually serve every type of food in the universe. With over 150 (really) main courses on a menu which makes a Bible look slender, all your new not-quite-friends-yet will be able to find something. Reasonably-priced, huge portions, and not a chain.

MUSIC: Emmy the Great

When? Wednesday 12th October, 8pm

Where? The Junction, Clifton Way

Why? Her biggest hit ‘We Almost Had a Baby’ begins with the line: “You didn’t stop when I asked you to stop,” and is possibly the cheeriest song yet about date rape. This gives you some idea of the juxtaposition of the dreamy and edgy in Emmy the Great’s brand of finespun folk. Her indie credentials are also impeccable, having been a vocalist in Lightspeed Champion alongside Florence (as in ‘and the Machine’). Could just possibly stand out from all the other guitar-wielding waifs around at the moment.

Buy tickets here.

FILM: Midnight in Paris

When? From Friday 7th October

Where? Arts Picturehouse

Why? If you thought Whatever Works fell a bit short of his former glory, Midnight in Paris is billed as Woody Allen’s best film in years. Owen Wilson stars as Gil, a smart, bumbling yet loveable screenwriter (sound familiar?) taking in the wonders of Paris, encountering pain-in-the-arse intellectual Martin Sheen, French First Lady Carla Bruni as a museum guide, and by way of accidental time-travel, the artistic elite of the ’20s. Enchanting, charming, and you might just possibly get a peek of Ms. Bruni’s nipples.

CLASSICAL MUSIC: Britten Sinfonia

When? Wednesday 5th October, 7.30pm

Where? West Road Concert Hall (a stone’s throw from Sidgwick)

Why? The Britten Sinfonia are the best classical act in Cambridge, and their regular series is the highlight of its professional concert life. This week’s concert follows their typical, but successful, strategy: a big, popular work preceded by a bunch of smaller, often less known modern works. Schubert’s Death and the Maiden is as crowd pleasingly romantic as it comes, whilst Berio is a stalwart of modernity. Mozart and a world premiere from Piers Tattersall balance the program’s extremes nicely. A solid, reliable choice for your weekly dose of classical fun.

Buy tickets from The Cambridge Corn Exchange.

TV: Who Do You Think You Are?

When? 9pm, Wednesday 12th Oct. Or that desperate moment at 3am when your essay is due and you’ve watched literally everything else on iPlayer.

Where? BBC1

Why? Richard Madeley’s family tree last week was so coma-inducingly dull I thought I had slipped into a terrifying alternate universe where everyone stared moodily out of windows and were vaguely offensive to minority cultures. Thankfully, this week it’s Tracey Emin, who is a genuinely interesting person, and hasn’t got a face like an ironing board. Before the programme aired, she said: “If I’d discovered I was from a simple, ordinary family from suburbia I’d slit my wrists,” so if the genealogy starts to grind (rumour has it she has gypsy blood), hang on for some gore. Win-win viewing.

ART: Vermeer’s Women: secrets and silence

When? 5th Oct 2011 – 15th January 2012

Where? The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street

Why? If you haven’t already made your first foray into The Fitz, go now while the weather is still good – as well as being a little gem of a museum, nothing beats standing on the grand staircase with the sun streaming through the panoramic windows. For the more seasoned tab, there are few better ways you can spend a quiet afternoon than taking in the enigmatic work of the Dutch master Vermeer. None of the women who modelled for his paintings have ever been identified, so there’s an eerie intrigue about the exhibition. The soft blues and greys are also very restful on delicate constitutions.

UNION: Brian Blessed

When? Monday 10th October, 7,30pm

Where? Cambridge Union Society, Bridge Street (next to the Round Church)

Why? Do you really need a reason? Just get there early. Really early. I’d start queuing now, if I were you.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Phoenix Dance Theatre: Reflected

When? Tuesday 11th Oct, 8pm

Where? The Junction, Clifton Way

Why? Okay, I know it’s contemporary dance. Bear with me. The Phoenix Dance Theatre Company is a internationally-renowned troupe with one distinguishing feature: they are aware that they have an audience. Consequently they are about spectacle rather than pretension. Made up of four dances, the longest being 20 minutes, the dancers manage sexy, shimmering, and even (sometimes) funny. And, if all else fails, they fly about a bit on aerials at the end. Endless scope for out-high browing your new friends, even if you know it was actually watchable.

Buy tickets here.