Holly’s Highlights: May Week

HOLLY STEVENSON’s guide to a cultural May Week.

Arch and Anth cardboard boat race chris ramsey culture Fitzwilliam Museum Holly Stevenson holly's highlights May Week museums tom deacon

Holly Stevenson is back with her final highlights selection: A May Week special!

Get soggy in the Cam

Possibly the greatest Cambridge tradition of recent years is the annual Cardboard Boat Race. At 2pm on Suicide Sunday, over 70 boats, made of nothing but cardboard, PVA and gaffer tape will launch from Magdalene Beach and sink slowly and gracefully into the Cam. Prizes are given for the fastest craft, the wackiest design and ‘most innovative’ means of propulsion, so attach an outboard motor, don a jaunty hat, and leave the competition for dead.

Be cultural

At this time of year, Cambridge is either full of earnest tourists queuing up to look at the busker in the bin, or drunken stumbling students in ruffled black tie. Either way, it’s like trying to escape a zombie apocalypse. The Fitz and the newly refurbished Arch and Anth museum are genuinely spacious, cool sanctuaries. Plus the war masks will look a lot less scary than your hungover housemates.

See the fireworks anyway

You’ve got no May Ball tickets, so your overdraft is looking nice and healthy, right? Then splash the cash and hire a punt to watch the Trinity, Clare or John’s fireworks on the 18th and 19th June. I always invariably miss them because the empty bar is more appealing than having my face smashed into some guy’s sweaty armpit just to look at some coloured lights, so load up on sparkling and nibbles and you could be one up on all those crowding on the bridges.

Come over all thesp-y – inside or out

When I say drama never stops in Cambridge, I mean it. As well as all the May Week shows, the ADC is resolutely ignoring any idea of celebration. If May week makes you want to hide in a dark room, Sikes and Nancy at Corpus next week is advertised as the ‘ultimate anti-May week show’, perfect for escaping the relentless cheer and eye-scrapingly bright dresses of May week.

Have a laugh

Edinburgh Festival Previews are happening at the Junction throughout May Week, all of which are guaranteed to be infinitely more amusing than standing in heels for 11 hours, being vomited on by a fresher, or the bar running out six hours early. I’d personally recommend Chris Ramsey and Tom Deacon, mainly because they also look like they had quite a disappointing night out.