Holly’s Highlights: Week 4

HOLLY STEVENSON rounds up the best of cultural things to do this week, whilst hunting for a turnip, fake blood, and the most hideous tie in existence.

Art Arts Picturehouse botanic gardens cambridge contemporary art Cambridge Union Clare Cellars clare jazz culture downton abbey festival of ideas Film George Clooney Holly Stevenson holly's highlights itv Music Quentin Blake St John's College TV utopia

Finding props for a play is like being on the strangest treasure hunt ever. This week, I had to acquire a turnip, a curtain tieback, fake blood, and the most hideous tie I could find in less than 24 hours. My ‘prize’ was a great performance by the cast, and the slightly metatheatrical (my current favourite essay word) feeling of seeing the dip I had just bought from Sainsbury’s being flung over the stage in a fit of acted rage. Speaking of plays, I’ll be going to see Antigone this week, mainly because it’s always gratifying to see a girl who has it worse off than you. It helps get a bit of perspective when your flatmate has taken up all your freezer space with bacon vodka (seriously).

FESTIVAL OF IDEAS: Imaginary Lands

Where? St John’s

When? Friday 28th October, 2-3.30pm

Why? In the second week of the Festival, we move away from all the shouty famous people towards some intellectual reflection (after all, that’s what we arts students are best at – sitting around thinking, preferably with something gin-based) in the calm surroundings of John’s Old Library. There is something about looking at and holding old books which fascinates me, and in this workshop you create your own imaginary land based on antiquarian maps and accounts of the New World.

© Wojtek Kowalski

FILM: The Ides of March

Where? Arts Picturehouse

When? From Friday 28th October

Why? George Clooney takes a break from starring in coffee commercials to act and direct a hot new political thriller. Man of the moment Ryan Gosling stars as the innocent yet able Stephen Meyers, the junior campaign manager for the Governor of Pennsylvania (Clooney) and his bid for presidential candidacy. Everything’s at stake in this fast-paced plot, as Meyers is exposed to the greasy sleaze of rival spin-doctors.

ART: Angie Lewin and Rob Ryan exhibition

Where? Cambridge Contemporary Art, 6 Trinity Street

When? 28th October – 20th November

Why? Though not a space on the scale of The Fitz or Kettle’s Yard, this shop is excellent for playing the ‘if I had a million pounds to spend on artwork…’ game. Angie Lewin and Rob Ryan are both printmakers, and although I’m sure Lewin’s nature-based prints are nice, I’ll be heading straight for the Rob Ryan. You may have seen his intricate paper designs in John Lewis on mugs and stationery. His adorable and slightly cheesy messages might even make you shed a tear.

TV: Downton Abbey

Where? ITV

When? 9pm, Sunday 30th October

Why? I have resisted thus far, but in the week of the last episode, I must confess: I’m a massive sucker for Downton. I want an enormous ancestral house, with a butler and chauffeur. I want to dress for a six course dinner every night. I want to wear ridiculous hats. Will Mary marry Carlisle? Will Sybil run away with the chauffeur? Is Peter Gordon who he says he is? The answers may well give me a Lady Chatterley-style crisis.

MUSIC: Led Bib and better than TV at Clare Jazz

Where? Clare Cellars

When? 9pm, Sunday 30th October

Why? I’m not normally one to blow my own trumpet (or my college’s, for that matter), but these guys do the aforementioned trumpet blowing rather well. The Mercury Music prize nominees are also great for Jazzophobes – their vibes are more punk rock than hardcore jazz. According to The Evening Standard, they’re: “Like crossing the road in a reverie and being run over by a passing bus – but in a pleasing way.” Expect ear-melting sounds and crush injuries.


SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Cambridge University Botanic Gardens

Where? Off Trumpington Road, on the way to Homerton

When? When you have the urge to press your self-destruct button

Why? I know it seems slightly nonsensical to recommend going to some gardens when it’s October and drizzling for England; but not only is it a beautiful open space (even under grey skies), jam-packed with different plants, it’s just far enough out of the Cambridge madness for a walk and a chance to chill out. And, because you’re a student, admission is free.

UNION: Quentin Blake

Where? Cambridge Union

When? Wednesday 2nd November, 7pm

Why? If I were intellectually minded, I would recommend the ‘This House Believes there is No Alternative to the Cuts’, debate. But because Downing alumnus Quentin Blake’s brilliant drawings were an integral part of my childhood, and by week 4 I want to regress back to being 7, when my main preoccupation involved Barbies, I’ll be spending my time here

Quentin Blake’s panorama of Cambridge