Holly’s Highlights: Week 3

Culture Editor HOLLY STEVENSON cracks out her top cultural tips for the week. You love it.

Art Arts Picturehouse byard art Cambridge Union Society classical music culture festival of ideas Film Fitzwilliam Museum Holly Stevenson james may Music noah and the whale Pizza poetry Richard Dawkins Roger Moore The Cambridge Corn Exchange top gear

It’s week 3, my hot water is broken and I have just read an essay entitled: The Darke and Vicious Place: The Dread of the Vagina in King Lear. Things are bad. Thankfully, not in the world of culture though. The Cambridge Festival of Ideas opened on Wednesday, and with such a wealth of events going on – most of them free – it seems rude to ignore it. I will be searching for my inner child once more by going to a workshop led by Nick Sharratt, the illustrator who managed to make Jacqueline Wilson books less depressing. I can’t wait.

FESTIVAL OF IDEAS: Richard Dawkins, The Magic of Reality

Where? Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Site

When? 5-6pm Saturday 22nd October

Why? Richard Dawkins seems to be the new Jesus. When I went to see him at the Union, scientists gazed up in awe at him and swarmed around him to be blessed/get their books signed. In this talk, he is ‘showing that it has a beauty and magic that far exceed those of the ancient myths.’ I fail to see how anything can top Zeus giving birth to Athene from his head, but I will be going to find out.

ART: New Works

Where? Byard Art, King’s Parade

When? Until 6th November

Why? Byard Art is one of my favourite spaces in Cambridge: not only is it compact with something different in every corner, but every time you happen to look out of the plate glass window you come eye to eye with King’s College Chapel. New Works showcases works by four very different artists: Amanda Atkins, Elisabeth Lecourt, Susan McArthur and Beckie Reed, creating an exhibition of liveliness and variety. A perfect way to bathe in decent art and the frosty sunlight this afternoon.

TV: James May’s Man Lab

Where? BBC2

When? 8pm, Tuesday 25th October

Why? The idea that the ‘man lab’ is the last bastion of the ‘modern man’ in a world overrun by women’s lib and Nivea for Men products is simultaneously ridiculous, hilarious and pitiable. In the last series, James May was nostalgic and patronising (quite frankly, if men need someone to tell them how to make a fish finger sandwich, then bring on the frozen embryos and turkey basters). Expect more Top Gear-esque tomfoolery in this episode, when May must find his own way out of Dartmoor prison with nothing more than a compass and an Ordnance survey map. What (gasp!) will he do without his iPhone?

MUSIC: Noah and the Whale

Where? Cambridge Corn Exchange

When? 7.30pm, Tuesday 25th October

Why? The dark nights are drawing in, it’s getting ball-crackingly cold, what better than some cutesy indie to warm the cockles? Noah et al have bouncy melodies and even bouncier hair, so expect more glitter and catchy tunes than you can shake a stick at. They’ve also got a pretty good track record in Cambridge: we approved last time they were here in the summer, and even got to chat with them.

CLASSICAL MUSIC: Access All Archives

Where? Polar Museum, Whipple Museum, Sedgewick Museum, Museum of Zoology, Fitzwilliam Museum

When? 6.30-11.30pm, Monday 24th October

Why?  Most students in Cambridge never visit its wide array of museums. After a long day in lectures, it takes quite a brave soul to choose to relax with some casual browsing at the Scott Polar Museum. To solve this conundrum, the museums have ganged together to come up with a cunning plan. Following on from the huge successes of last year’s event five Cambridge museums are putting on a wide array of events. Expect funk fusion, glowing cubes, live drum machines, performance poetry and gamelan, all for a fiver.


FILM: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Where? Arts Picturehouse

When? From Friday 21st October

Why? Lionel Shriver’s novel is being adapted in what is slated to be an amazing film about a young American boy (Ezra Miller) who commits a massacre at his school. All of this is told from his mother’s view (Tilda Swinton). If you’re looking for a good time this weekend, don’t go and see this film. If you want to see a powerful emotional thriller à la Columbine, then book early: it’s going to be big.


FOOD: La Margherita

Where? 15 Magdalene Street (opposite Magdalene)

When? Pizza Sundays and Pasta Mondays

Why? La Margherita is everything an Italian restaurant should be – family-run, friendly, and with food just like mama used to make. On Pizza Sundays and Pasta Mondays, you get an authentic homemade Italian dish plus a drink for a fiver. Though I would recommend spending a bit more in their ‘gelateria’ – the ice cream’s so good it’ll make you weep.

Jean-Louis with his ice-cream. My sugar-induced tears just out of shot.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: CB1 Poetry Reading: Gwyneth Lewis

Where? The Punter, 3 Pound Hill (near Kettle’s Yard)

When? 8pm, Tuesday 25th October

Why? Ordinarily, I am wary of performance poetry ever since an actor was invited into one of our seminars and proceeded to cover himself with glittery flour and fling himself repeatedly on the floor (I am not making this up). However, although Gwyneth Lewis is Welsh and went to Girton (Ed: both of which are actually cool), her poetry and librettos on the philosophy and beauty of space, among the finest of her extensive works, almost make up for it.

UNION: Roger Moore

Where? Cambridge Union, Bridge Street

When?  8pm, Tuesday 25th October

Why? Don your tux, swirl a martini (shaken, not stirred, of course), and toodle down to the Union to see exactly how much Sir Roger looks like a lizard nowadays. And for some sage and debonair anecdotes, of course.