Culture Trip: Everything you need to battle those Week Five Blues

Five cultural picks to get you through Week Five

Week Five is fully underway! Notorious for essays piling up, tears, endless deadlines and the all-too-familiar Week Five Blues. Whilst most universities have a reading week at this point in term, Cambridge has so kindly decided to make us power on, so here are my recommendations of the week to make your days a bit brighter and help you get out of your head.

With constant tragedy on the news, lockdown, and possibly being away from Cambridge, we can all agree that this is probably the weirdest (and perhaps most difficult) Week Five yet. The Tab Culture Trip is sending you nothing but pure positive vibes to battle that midterm slump! Here are our culture picks of the week to get you through this week’s essay crisis:

Album: ‘New Ways But Love Stays’ (1970) by The Supremes

(Image credit: Author’s own screenshot)

The funky sound of ‘New Ways But Love Stays’ is the perfect mood-booster to fight off the notorious Week Five Blues. The Supremes’ symphonic soul album, filled with tambourines, psychedelic instrumentals and choral-influenced pop, is guaranteed to make you want to groove along to the beat.

It deals with big themes like love and unity, which, coupled with an even bigger sound, create an expansive feel that is instantly uplifting. ‘New Ways But Love Stays’ starts off so strong with ‘Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music’ and consistently delivers banger after beautiful banger!

Theatre: ‘A Blown Job’ (ADC Theatre, 24th to 27th February)

(Image credit: Charli Foreman)

The CUMTS presents ‘A Blown Job’, a riotous musical comedy about a bank manager turned bank robber who is seeking revenge on the partner who framed him. If you haven’t yet seen any online theatre projects, ‘A Blown Job’ is definitely the place to start!

Let yourself be swept away by the light-hearted songs and hilariously chaotic plot that’s ‘designed to spread joy’ for the cast and audience alike – the perfect antidote to the Week Five Blues.

On the topic of musicals, the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society’s ‘The Spotlight’ is taking place on 24th February at 8pm. Come along to chat on the live call and watch the show tune performances (or belt along to them to let out some steam!)

Film: Pot Luck (L’Auberge Espagnole) (2002)

(Image credit: Author’s own screenshot)

This French-Spanish comedy is cringey and cliché in all the right ways. It follows Xavier, economics student from France, who spends a year living in a flatshare in Barcelona with other Erasmus students. Along the way, he learns the joys of friendship, freedom, romance and a united Europe, which makes him question his soulless but cushy job at the Finance Ministry.

It’s quite interesting to see how people regarded the European Union with excitement, energy, and hope – like a European utopia – and consider how much has changed in the ensuing decades. With trippy and creative cinematography, a plot that is at times utterly bizarre, and a quintessentially early 2000s soundtrack, Pot Luck is a really fun and wholesome film.

It’s available to stream on Mubi.

Television: Framing Britney Spears (2021)

(Image credit: Author’s own screenshot)

If you are looking to procrastinate your work by falling down a hole of noughties celebrity culture, then Framing Britney Spears is the show for you! This documentary is about the rise of Britney Spears, the conservatorship that she has been living under for the past eleven years, and the current #FreeBritney movement.

It paints a nauseating picture of the abuse, sexism and immense scrutiny that she faced, as the media essentially sought to destroy her. This show will reframe how you view celebrities like Britney, Lindsay Lohan and Demi Lovato, how we are always encouraged to ask what was wrong with them, rather than raising the question of mental health and the conditions that led them to behave in such ways.

It is available to watch on Sky Documentaries and on NOW TV (it’s easy to create an account and sign up for a 7 day free trial of the streaming service.)

Speaking of, if you are interested in this stuff and want to temporarily forget about the pile of work that’s beside you right now, this two-part Youtube deep dive about Lindsay Lohan is amazing.

Book: ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ by Ocean Vuong (2019)

(Image Credit: Author’s own photo)

And lastly, we have Ocean Vuong’s debut novel ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’. This autobiographical novel is framed as a series of letters to his illiterate Vietnamese mother. It’s a beautiful exploration of first love, masculinity and the immigrant experience – particularly the gay immigrant experience. It’s a quick read, perfect if you don’t have much time in the mid-term rush. It feels like you almost float through the story, carried by the tender poetic writing style.

Well, that’s all for this week. We hope you enjoy our list of what’s hot this week and we’ll see you again in Week 6!

Feature image credit: Sophie Carlin

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