Cambridge Edition December 2023 - Web





Season’s Greetings


INTERIORS Top tips for tasteful tablescaping

RECIPES Seasonal culinary favourites from local restaurants

GREEN XMAS Your guide to a more eco-friendly celebration



Farewell from me! W elcome to our final issue of the year, which is packed with all the usual Cambridge Christmas fun. From carol concerts to festive fairs, theatrical spectacles, gift guides and giveaways, there’s a feast of Yuletide delights to savour throughout the pages ahead. As well as being our last of 2023, this is a very special issue for me as it’s also my last as editor. After more than 12 years in the driving seat, it’s time to hand the baton to my fantastic colleague Phoebe Harper, who I know will do a brilliant job stewarding the magazine into 2024 and beyond. Cambridge Edition has been a huge part of my life since we launched the magazine in 2011, and I’ve always felt incredibly lucky to have such an enjoyable job which has allowed me to meet so many interesting people in the community, discover all the new and exciting things Cambridge has to offer, and fly the flag for the city I love. I’m more than a little nostalgic as I write this, thinking back to the very first days of the magazine: as optimistic as we were about our little project, I don’t think we dared hope we’d still be going strong more than 12 years later! Despite it being a tough time for local magazines, we’ve managed to thrive, and that’s all thanks to the support from readers and advertisers we’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy over the years – so a big thanks to you for coming along for the ride. But as one chapter closes, another one unfolds, and I’ll be taking on a new role at our publishing house overseeing the filmmaking magazine Definition . While my tenure as the editor of Cambridge Edition concludes, I won’t be too far away. You will still find me popping up in these pages from time to time, continuing to share my love for this city. Enjoy the issue – and goodbye from me!

EDITORIAL Editor in chief Nicola Foley 01223 499459 Deputy editor Phoebe Harper 01223 492249

Cambridge Edition Magazine Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire CB22 3HJ, 01223 499450, • All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of the publishers. • Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Cambridge Edition or Bright Publishing Ltd, which do not accept any liability for loss or damage. • Every effort has been made to ensure all information is correct. • Cambridge Edition is a free publication that is distributed in Cambridge and the surrounding area. Editorial director Roger Payne Chief sub editor Matthew Winney Sub editor Martin Puddifer ADVERTISING Sales director Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457 Ad manager Maria Francis 01223 492240 CONTRIBUTORS Miriam Balanescu, Mark Box, Charlotte Griffiths, Anna Taylor, Angelina Villa-Clarke & Elisha Young DESIGN & PRODUCTION Senior designer Lucy Woolcomb Junior designers Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman & Holly May MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck









Illustration by Holly May , inspired by a photo from @elensham






Follow @cambsedition on Instagram for lots more stunning snaps of the city



# instacamb Our favourite Cambridge Instagram pics of the month. Use #instacamb for a chance to feature!



This month’s must-haves from local indies WISH LIST December

1. Pcjuca knit hat silver mink, £15, Iris & Violet This classic knit hat in an easy neutral colour is a must-have December accessory 2. Turtle bag sage colour, £8, Small and Green Christmas shop in style with this fair-trade bag. Don’t leave the house without it! 3. Tapestry of Life tank top, £69.95, Ark Cosy up by the fire in this colourful woollen vest while brightening up your winter wardrobe 4. Winter Nights soya wax melts, £1.50 each, Freckleface This warming blend promises a dose of hygge with scents of cedarwood, sandalwood and leather 5. Pistachio desk, £399, Ugo Design (bespoke sizes from £255) Sustainably crafted in Cambridge, this desk is the perfect base for creative projects 6. Elizabeth Scarlett Joy hot water bottle, £36, Lilac Rose The perfect companion for cold nights to keep the winter chill at bay 7. Rya Nicholson mug, £36, Kettle’s Yard The ideal size for slow cups of tea, this wheel-thrown mug has been made from British stoneware clay by East Anglian potter Rya Nicholson


Culture Club

HORNS OF PLENTY Cambridge’s cult classic alt-panto Hansel & Gretel is back at the Junction in time for Christmas. Find out more on page 15





CULTURE CLUB The must-see events around Cambridge this month Arts & Culture



A new exhibition held in Murray Edwards College explores the influence of water on women artists, both as subject matter and artistic medium. Featuring works from 17 artists between the 1920s and present day, Women and Water examines the many forms and guises the element can take – a source of pleasure, place of refuge or symbol of renewal and the passage of time. The display has been curated in partnership with The Ingram Collection – one of the UK’s most significant publicly accessible selections of modern and contemporary British art – and draws inspiration from the iconic sunken Fountain Court at the heart of the college. Expect pieces from Eileen Cooper, Laura Knight, Tracey Emin, Elisabeth Frink and more, including new work from Phoebe Boswell. Showing until 25 February, it’s free to visit and open daily from 10am to 6pm.




A Dame to Delight Ahead of his starring role in Mother Goose at the Arts Theatre, we catch up with Cambridge’s number one pantomime dame Matt Crosby Matt Crosby’s love affair with pantomime began, like many of us, in childhood, when he became spellbound by the kaleidoscopic lights and colours of the spectacle. It was during this time that he experienced a formative moment to which he attributes his long- lasting career as Cambridge’s leading lady, having been the Arts Theatre’s pantomime dame for over 15 years. “I remember never being one of the children who got picked to sing from the song sheet at the end of the show and get a goody bag,” he recalls. “Perhaps that’s why I’ve gone into panto – to find out what’s in those goody bags after all!” Since then, Matt has

flourished under the wing of actor and comedian Michael Fenton Stevens, “My first mum in Cambridge!” as well as writer, director and resident dame Brad Fitt, who have both overseen his development to become the dame he is today. Two actors with very different styles, their influences remain years later. “Michael would obviously be a bloke in a dress, whereas Brad

would go all out with the makeup – he had the most beautiful face as a dame!” It was producer (and now CEO of the Arts Theatre) Dave Murphy who finally took the risk of letting Matt take on a dame role. “Dave always had so much faith in me. Every year he still turns to me and says: ‘You’re our dame!’” This year, Matt will be treading the boards as Gertie Goose in Mother Goose – a show described by Sir Ian McKellen at this year’s Pantomime Awards as ‘the King Lear of the pantomime’. It wasn’t until he read the script that Matt fully understood what he meant. “It’s a huge role with a lot of lines to learn! It’s so

exciting, though, because Cambridge has never done Mother Goose before.” Without giving too much away, Matt will be leaning into the ‘mumsy’ aspects of his character in this year’s performance, foregrounding what is ‘a loving and caring lady’ rather than just a man in a dress. Aside from the sheer talent of the team, the show’s greatest calling card is how it appeals to a Cambridge audience, with a very English setting littered with relatable local references. Though lines are still to be learnt, the city’s favourite panto star is aching to get the show on the road. “There comes a time when you’ve got to hang up your bra and no longer be the Cambridge dame to let someone else have a go. But it’s definitely not yet.”

SHE’S BEHIND YOU! Mother Goose will be playing at the Arts Theatre until 7 January and is suitable for all ages – book your tickets now



A CHRISTMAS CAROL No better accompaniment for a cold winter’s night, on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 December, the Chapterhouse Theatre Company returns to the atmospheric setting of Ely Cathedral for its production of A Christmas Carol . Be transported to Dickensian London with dazzling musical sequences and authentic period costuming. Tickets available at TIMELESS TALES

These marvellous musical performances are sure to get you in the spirit A Song for Christmas




Touted by The Guardian as ‘the perfect antidote to the corporate Christmas’, this seasonal show celebrates the UK’s festive customs. Enjoy traditional Christmas music, song and celebratory readings performed by the combined talents of Kellie While (Albion Band), Simon Nicol (Fairport Convention), Simon Care (Edward II) and Ashley Hutchings.

Prepare to sing your heart out as the UK’s favourite choirmaster returns to the Corn Exchange for Sing-Along-A-Gareth-Two . Complete with new songs (some of which will be created on the spot by Gareth himself), this promises to be a feel-good performance filled with entertainment celebrating the connection born from community and song.

A folk songstress at heart renowned for her soulful vocals, Kate is setting off on a winter tour performing songs from her Christmas albums. These heartfelt performances continue the proud tradition of Yorkshire carols, many of which are still sung in pubs across the county. Join her for an uplifting session of warming Christmas cheer.




A round-up of uproarious comics you should catch HELEN BAUER: GRAND SUPREME DARLING PRINCESS CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION, 2 DEC A side-splitting show dedicated to the many women in her life, check out this performance from Live at the Apollo star Helen Bauer. CHRIMPROV ADC THEATRE CORPUS PLAYROOM, 6-9 DEC Cambridge Improv Factory returns for a comedy special that’s sure to deliver a laugh a minute. ED GAMBLE, FERN BRADY, JEN BRISTER - LIVE AT CHRISTMAS CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE, 16 DEC Don’t miss this festive spectacular hosted by some of the country’s finest comedians, headlined by the ever- popular Ed Gamble.


An independent publisher joins forces with a historic Cambridge college to release a limited edition of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience The Folio Society x King’s College

“Blake was a visionary artist as well as a great poet and his Songs of Innocence and of Experience is the pinnacle of illustrated texts.” For Kate Grimwade, production director at The Folio Society, William Blake’s technique of ‘illuminated printing’ is a prime example of the elegant combination of art and literature. As a tradition that the independent publisher endeavours to uphold, a project has been underway since 2022 to access the original manuscripts of Songs of Innocence... held at King’s College – known as Copy W – so they can be examined and rephotographed to create a limited edition book that’s as true to the original as possible. “There are different copies of the poem in libraries around the world, but we were drawn to Copy W because of its perfect condition, intense colouring and finally because the borders around each picture had been drawn by Blake’s wife,” Kate tells us. Collaborating closely with the college, the publisher worked with the rephotographed manuscript to trial different papers and compare proofs against the original pages to achieve the best colour match possible – a process which took three separate visits. Finally, in November 2023, the project came to fruition with a beautiful new book at the end of the process, delivered with intricate

binding and a clamshell box designed in- house to echo imagery from the manuscript. Although staying true to the original work, there are some changes. These include an introduction written by Patti Smith, who was inspired by Blake as a young girl. “We decided to keep the transcription of each poem separate from the imagery. Our aim all along was to get the reader as close as possible to the amazing experience of sitting with Blake’s original manuscript.” Kate describes the process of having intimate access to the manuscripts as a ‘huge privilege’ – and essential in understanding the weight, shade and texture of the paper Blake would have been working with. Not least, it revealed that the images were set within a large page, leading the team to reproduce these at full size – with a large border that allowed for a ‘more luxurious reading experience’ true to Blake’s work. “As WB Yeats said: ‘Every page is a window open in Heaven’. As a publisher of illustrated texts, The Folio Society had to pay homage to this part of our literary and artistic heritage.” The Folio Society’s limited edition Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake, introduced by Patti Smith and illustrated by the author, is exclusively available from



6-31 Dec


The ultimate alternative Christmas show, Hansel & Gretel returns to the Junction this December. Phoebe Harper talks fairy tales, forests and folk music with artistic director Alex Byrne Out on a Grimm

D espite being hundreds of years old, fairy tales are embedded in our cultural consciousness, each one bringing with it wonder and enchantment, but also a shared knowledge and expectation. For Alex Byrne, artistic director of New International Encounter (NIE), these are just some of the things that make fairy tales such fertile ground for imagination and creativity. “These stories deal with essential, immediate and timeless issues in life – whether it’s famine or fear of losing your way – while creating a real sense of jeopardy that ultimately enables heroism and fortitude to win through,” he says. “At the same time, they’re just very sweet and wonderful stories.” Having created five Christmas shows for Cambridge Junction over the years, Alex is revisiting NIE’s original family- friendly performance from 2011 with a production of Hansel & Gretel . The show was subsequently met with a rapturous reception, going on to tour around England – and even through a series of small towns in Norway for one season. Despite a brand-new cast (with the exception of one original member), Hansel & Gretel stays true to all NIE performances

as an actor-musician show, whereby all cast members also play live music throughout. For this particular tale, you can expect a live score of acoustic folk music with an Eastern European feel. Alongside piano, accordion and flute, Alex hints at a series of ‘silly songs’ – including one humorous number from the wicked witch herself on the joys of eating children. Heightening an all-round immersive experience, the Junction will transform into a snow-covered forest clearing. The seating will be arranged so the audience is sat on either side of the performance as if it were taking place in the round, again adding to that intimate feel. Although the show is very much an alternative to the classic Christmas panto, there will be plenty of opportunities for audience involvement as you are taken on a magical journey. “I always try to create a wonderful adventure for the children who come to see the show – many of whom know and love these tales as bedtime stories – but there’s always something for the adults, too,” assures Alex. The story itself doesn’t stray far from the original work of the Brothers Grimm, aside from a few contemporary points of reference – a cost-of-living crisis rather

CHRISTMAS CHEER While the story can be seen as a cautionary tale, it closes on the kind of positive note this time of year demands

than a nationwide famine, for instance. Most importantly, despite the treacherous lure of the witch and the cautionary moral lessons these tales deliver, Alex is sure to draw things to a close on a note of optimism and feel-good cheer. “Many of these stories can have very unhappy endings, but generally, I want to create that wonderful finish which offers a sense of hope, light and finding your way back home again.”

Hansel & Gretel is showing at the Junction from 6 to 31 December. Tickets can be found at




CAMBRIDGE? Love Cambridge is the brand

developed by Cambridge Business Improvement District (BID) to deliver a range of events and projects that animate and entertain our city. Offerings include the Love Cambridge Gift Card, open-air cinema nights, Wimbledon screenings, magazines, maps and more.

STAY SAFE THIS CHRISTMAS This festive season, Love Cambridge is flying the purple flag

Visit or @lovecambridge_ on socials.

We want you to enjoy every moment in the nighttime economy, so we are flying the purple flag proudly in the city for your safety. At this time of year, we have lots of helping hands if needed or wanted. These include dedicated Taxi Marshals to ensure your rides are worry-free, a helping hand from St John Ambulance whenever you need it and the warm glow of our NightLite – a safe space for anyone and everyone run by the Cambridge Street Pastors, who will be around town with water and their famous flip-flops if you want a chat. Finally, there’s the discreet assurance

of Ask for Angela if circumstances ever turn uncomfortable. With our comprehensive approach, you can focus on making memories and embracing the season. Let your worries melt away and embrace the comfort of safety as you revel in the festivities. Your wellbeing is our top priority – and we’ve got your back. Taxi Marshalls will be about every Friday and Saturday in December, the Street Pastors will be at Downing Place Reformed Church and around the city every Saturday, and St John Ambulance are on hand 15 December and NYE.

LENDING AN EAR Cambridge Street Pastors can be found around the city every Saturday in December



IN SEARCH OF SANTA Finding Father Christmas In hot demand this December, check out these nearby spots to take your little ones in search of unforgettable Yuletide magic


Make your way to Wicken Fen where both Father and Mother Christmas will be paying visits to cosy Fen Cottage on separate occasions throughout December. Here, you can also join the friendly elves to make your own decoration. Be warned that tickets are in short supply. But you can still consider a scenic walk around Sedge Fen with the 12 Days of Christmas trail. This free activity combines the best of the great outdoors with traditional Christmas spirit.

SANTA’S MAGICAL JOURNEY, THURSFORD Head to the mesmeric setting of Thursford, North Norfolk, for a festive extravaganza that is well worth the trip. Embark on a marvellous journey through the North Pole, bypassing giant teddy bears ready to load Santa’s sleigh, and on to the toy factory where Christmas elves are hard at work – before visiting the man himself. Tickets also include the Enchanted Journey of Light – a breathtaking festival of luminous sculptures sure to captivate any visitor. Book now at

ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE CHRISTMAS FAIR On 9 December, Alliance Française will be hosting its annual Christmas Fair, where friends and families can step into a world of delights in the run-up to the big day. Expect stalls, games and entertainment, plus mouth-watering refreshments including crêpes and hot chocolate. Rumour has it that, this year, Mother Christmas herself will be making an appearance!

AUDLEY END MINIATURE RAILWAY Running till Christmas Eve, hop on board the Polar Express to venture deep into the enchanted woods where Santa’s winter workshop awaits. But hurry! This annual family favourite is selling fast, now with most slots left during weekdays and after school hours. Don’t miss out on a chance to take a magical train ride to meet Santa, take part in reindeer food making and letter writing – and enjoy the Holly the Christmas Fairy show and adventure play area. Book now at



EDITION’S GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS CAROLS Get your festive senses tingling with these fine choral performances in and around Cambridge this December

Christmas Carols on the River

On 9 December, the choir from St John the Evangelist, Let’s Go Punting and the Traditional Punting Company will join forces to deliver their annual charity Christmas carol event. This year, 100% of ticket sales for Christmas Carols on the River will be donated to Tom’s Trust – a local charitable organisation that provides psychological support to children with brain tumours, and their families. “Our annual charity event is a highlight in our yearly calendar, a popular festive experience that is enjoyed by all. We’re honoured to be working with another local charity, to help those going through the most difficult time of their lives. We can’t wait to see you all onboard,” says Joe Merwiak, director of the Traditional Punting Company. From 2.15pm, hop onboard a chauffeured punt as you glide your way down the River Cam along the College Backs for an hour-long festive experience to the sound of your favourite carols. Warm blankets provided! Find out more at carols-on-the-river



Eboracum Baroque return to the Georgian splendour of St Andrew’s Church, Wimpole, for an assorted programme of festive music on Sunday 3 December from 2pm onwards. The concert features seasonal vocal and instrumental works including arias from Handel’s Messiah , a pastoral recorder concerto, music for trumpets and traditional French Christmas carols by Charpentier and Lalande. There’s also lesser-known festive works by Porpora and Galuppi. There will be refreshments and a chance to mingle with performers. Secure your tickets to this and other festive events from the choir including a performance of Handel’s Messiah at The Church of St Andrew and St Mary in Grantchester on 15 December at

Throughout the month, Stapleford Granary will be hosting 12 Days of Christmas . This includes three evenings of candlelit performances that have a spiritually inspired theme in honour of Advent. On 1 December, folk musicians Melrose Quartet will play a spirit- lifting selection of traditional carols, wassails and seasonal songs, before some informal group carol singing led by the Come & Sing choir in the courtyard on 7 December. Elsewhere, check out the reputed Pixels Ensemble on 11 December for an evening of music, and the Elina Duni & Rob Luft candlelit concert on 13 December for a haunting vocal experience influenced by jazz and folksong. Find out more at




On Friday 22 December, the magnificent Ely Cathedral will come alive with Hark! The Herald – an evening of traditional carols and other seasonal music performed by the Cathedral Choir and accompanied by Prime Brass. However, you’ll need to act fast, since tickets to this hotly anticipated event are almost sold out. If you do miss out, there will also be carol services led by the choir with plenty of opportunities for your participation, taking place at 6pm on both 23 and 24 December. Visit to secure your spot now.

Christmas Carols at the Leper Chapel A rare opportunity to pass through the atmospheric doors of the Leper Chapel, this year’s carol services will take place at 4pm and 5pm on Sunday 10 December. Led by Christ the Redeemer Church with a brass brand, visitors can also enjoy mince pies and some warming mulled wine. Although this is a free event, be sure to book your ticket to guarantee a space in this small venue. Visit

KING’S COLLEGE CHAPEL: A FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS Since it was first broadcast in 1928, the Christmas Eve service at King’s continues to attract millions of listeners as an iconic event. This year, the service will be broadcast live across the world from 3pm via BBC Radio and MPR. For those hoping to be in with a chance of attending in person, set a date to apply for the annual ballot for next year’s tickets, which typically opens on 1 November.

FAIRHAVEN SINGERS: MUSIC FOR ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS Taking place in the spellbinding setting of Trinity College Chapel on 10 December, this annual Christmas concert is a highlight of the festive calendar for choir members and audiences alike. The programme includes a mixture of seasonal favourites and new revelations, with masterpieces from the likes of Parry, Howells and Poulenc interspersed with carolling classics and offerings from the likes of Annabel Rooney and Iain Farrington. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy one of Cambridge’s most beautiful buildings and an unforgettable performance. Oh, and did we mention that a glass of wine is included in the ticket? Book now at fairhavensingers/



TAKE TO THE STREETS CHAMPIONS OF MILL ROAD A heartfelt celebration of diversity and community, we dive into the Mill Road Winter Fair ahead of this year’s event on 2 December


S tanding on the top of Mill Road bridge, you will find a bench. Its inscription reads: ‘Suzy Oakes, 1950-2011. Champion of Mill Road.’ Fondly recalled by many as a charismatic figure, Suzy, along with her team of volunteers, was the driving force behind the current incarnation of the Mill Road Winter Fair. Taking place on the first Saturday of every December, the fair has heralded the start of the festive season since 2007. The event’s origins are rooted in the team’s desire to celebrate the diversity, energy and sense of community that is unique to this mile-long stretch of Cambridge. The success of the fair has since generated other initiatives that foster community engagement, namely Mill Road Fringe and the charity Love Mill Road. Beginning with just a handful of traders gathering outside Mill Road Cemetery, the fair has evolved to take over much of the street, which is closed to cars for the day. Yet despite this increase in scale, the fair itself and the growing Mill Road Fringe programme of events throughout the year are still organised by a team of volunteers, who, like Suzy, remain passionate about keeping the creative spirit alive. “Every year, it always comes down to a handful of people with tremendous energy – it’s an enormous effort by a small committee, but the ripple effect is huge,” says Kate Collins, a member of the Mill Road Winter Fair Committee, who also coordinates Mill Road Fringe. “It’s extremely rare to find a local event of this scale that is entirely run by volunteers.” Bursting with local traders, crafts, food and drink stalls – and all manner of exhibitions, workshops and performances – the fair draws crowds of thousands, who come to experience an ever-evolving roster of talent and entertainment. Although the line-up changes every year, the fair has become known for a few of its celebrated traditions, including the fire engine pull, Morris dancers, Arco Iris

2 Dec

CAMBRIDGE, UNITED The hugely popular street festival is now in its 15th year of merriment

samba band and the parade, which kicks off at midday and is led by a marching band made up of local schoolchildren. Throughout 2 December, Mill Road will be abuzz with pop-up performances and busking spots dotted along the street. There will be over 100 stalls as an eclectic array of shops are turned inside out and clusters are set up on Donkey Common, Petersfield Green and elsewhere. Events will also be taking place in various venues along Mill Road, such as film screenings at the Covent Garden Drama Studio, art at Romsey Mill and appearances from much-loved regulars including Cambridge 105 Radio and Cambridge Hands-On Science. MORE THAN FAIR Though the fair is the committee’s flagship event, charity Love Mill Road supports other projects in the neighbourhood that enhance the local arts and culture scene. Mill Road Fringe is organised by the same volunteer-led committee as the fair and has added multiple events to the local cultural calendar – from mini film festivals and sell- out poetry evenings to a Summer Shindig on Romsey Rec. Next spring, Mill Road

Eco-Chic Fashion Show will celebrate the street’s vintage and charity shop wares. “We are working with local charities, people and organisations to build a sense that Mill Road represents Cambridge’s creative cultural quarter,” says Kate. A vital thread in the vibrant tapestry of the local populace, the myriad initiatives and events overseen by the Mill Road WInter Fair Committee can only survive through investment – not just in terms of funding, but also human dedication. Indeed, the fair alone entirely relies on volunteers, even if just to act as stewards to oversee safe road closures. “We are always on the lookout for people who want to help - on the day as a volunteer steward and longer term as part of the team. There is no better way to get to know your community,” Kate adds. As the fair returns for another year and the search continues for members of next year’s committee, the community calls for the future champions of Mill Road to preserve this historic local event.

If you would like to volunteer, contact



Cambridge Photographer Mark Box shares some of his favourite portraits from the streets of Cambridge this month – can you spot anyone you know?

ABOUT THE PROJECT Humans of Cambridge is an Instagram photoblog by local photographer Mark Box. It began as a lockdown project and has turned into a sensation, featuring an ever-growing number of Cambridge’s colourful characters on the @humanofcambridge grid. Mark is out most days snapping, and can usually be found in the Market Square, on King’s Parade, Burrell’s Walk and Garret Hostel Bridge – your best bet for being papped is to head out around lunchtime wearing something suitably eye-catching!

An artist and her art

When your creative side kicks in after being asked what you’d do with a million potatoes!

A Brazilian at heart

24 DECEMBER 2023


When your footwear is as colourful as your personality!

Marie, a beautiful French woman with a heart so full it filled me with joy

Vintage style done right. Love those braces!

Such a lovely couple! Adore the colours, the skirt – and the pink hair

Orange is the new black




Cambridge University’s Disabled Staff Network will be holding a special screening this month of a film which calls for social change – Miriam Balanescu finds out more A s we ready ourselves to celebrate the festive season, this month brings another important fixture that often network was founded as a social space for those with disabilities in the city. Interweaving the different voices of Lights, Camera, Activism!

Grab some popcorn and cosy up with these film picks to finish the year

those who attended a groundbreaking summer camp for disabled teens – before many of them went on to become part of the disability rights movement in the US – Crip Camp brings untold narratives about living with disability to light. “It is a great, joyful film,” insist Anna and Alison. “It tells an empowering story of young disabled people who lived together, had fun and sex, shared experiences of oppression and organised politically. By coming together, these young people realised that it was not their impairments or disabilities that prevented them from participating in society as full and the thick of the pandemic in 2020. “The moment had a particular significance as physical closeness was not an option for many of us – and especially many disabled people,” Anna and Alison tell us. “However, the online launch as well as the virtual discussions about the film and disability activism gave a sense that we can always do more together. “The film invites us to amplify voices that often don’t get heard and to build community. This is why we wanted to organise this event and make it open and hybrid, so that more people can join and reflect about a better future for disabled people – and our societies as whole.” That hybridity comes in the form of an open discussion after the screening, enabling attendees to share their thoughts and experiences. The event also aims to be as accessible as possible. Anna and Alison conclude: “Community – as the film shows – is what makes our everyday lives more humane and joyful, but is also what makes social change possible.” equal citizens, but the barrier was the unjust society itself.” Also poignant was the timing of the film’s original release, coinciding with

goes under the radar. With a special screening of Netflix documentary Crip Camp , Cambridge University’s Disabled Staff Network will be marking Disability History Month. “We decided to organise the screening because we appreciate the way the film tells one of the many empowering stories of the disability rights movement,” explain Dr Anna Gkiouleka, who will be convening the event, and Professor Alison Dunning, co-chair of the Disabled Staff Network’s organisational

Legendary director Hayao Miyazaki goes out on a high – his final feature has all the vivid imagination of his best-known films and poignantly explores themes of climate change and grief. Where to Watch: UK cinemas When: 26 December THE BOY AND THE HERON

committee. “The screening offers an opportunity to reflect on the long history of disability activism, but also to meet each other and

Community makes our everyday lives more joyful

feel the warmth of community among disabled people both inside and outside the university.” The event will be the network’s first collaboration with CRASSH, the Cambridge-based Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, and a celebration of two years since the

A drag queen wreaks revenge in this spiky thriller that tests the boundaries of desire and gender. Where to Watch: UK cinemas When: 1 December FEMME


Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell are sworn enemies in this punchy rom com set in Australia. Where to Watch: UK cinemas When: 26 December

HAPPY CAMPERS Crip Camp nabbed a best documentary feature Oscar nomination in 2021



Completing his working-class trilogy, the war in Ukraine looms large over a relationship in Aki Kaurismäki’s latest. Where to Watch: UK cinemas When: 1 December FALLEN LEAVES


A mother fights to bring her children to a foster care home after a pregnancy forces

her to look at the future afresh. Where to Watch: UK cinemas When: 8 December

Picturehouse Picks The team at the Arts Picturehouse bring you filmic tidings to round off 2023

THE LORD OF THE RINGS (EXTENDED EDITIONS) Few movies make for such perfect consecutive watching as Peter Jackson’s Tolkien trilogy. Follow the hobbits on their perilous quest across Middle-earth. 16 December

WONKA Timothée Chalamet takes the lead in a cinematic chocolate box, transporting us back to the magic of Roald Dahl’s stories. Riffing on the original, the film looks at Willy Wonka’s early years. 8 December

MAESTRO In his follow-up to A Star Is Born , Bradley Cooper decides to go both behind and in front of the camera a second time round – this time delving into the life of Leonard Bernstein, the esteemed composer-conductor. 8 December



CAMBRIDGE EDITION Book Club Close out the year with an imagined insight into the life of a literary giant, an exploration of heritage and the latest from a millennial maestro


Fifteen Wild Decembers BY KAREN POWELL

Brontë aficionados will adore this fictionalised glimpse into life in the Haworth Parsonage. Told by Emily, the second-youngest Brontë, she and her sisters head out into the world so they can help provide for their increasingly destitute family. She is willing to sacrifice time spent on her beloved moors and knuckle down into studies, but despite her grit, life away from home is hard. The sisters seek comfort in each other; but when illness returns them to the moors before dividing them forever, the remaining siblings retreat into imagined lands, escaping the harshness of an unforgiving life and exploding with creativity. This invented account of Emily’s short life is stunningly rendered,

with beautiful depictions of the changing seasons and extreme weather encountered by the family. Powell manages to create heart- in-mouth moments of peril even though the facts of the sisters’ hard existence are well-documented. It feels wrong to describe this book as a delight, because the tragic events of the Brontës’ lives feel cruel enough when simply listed, and experiencing them from Emily’s own point of view is deeply painful. Yet the moments of joy depicted somehow become magnified when set against such hardship, and the love that Emily has for the natural world is magnificently conveyed. A must-read family saga that makes the perfect gift for a Brontë fan.


This novel opens with 26-year-old corporate lawyer Sameer collapsing into bed after several all- nighters working to close a deal for his high-powered city firm. He is on the cusp of being sent to Singapore to head up a new office, but a growing sense of unease is gnawing at his insides. At some point, Sameer needs to tell his Leicester-based family that he’s headed even further away from home, making it even less likely he’ll join their business any time soon. Childhood friends Rahool and Jeremiah have also made the jump to London, and during one of their regular meet-ups, Rahool reveals he is doing what Sameer won’t, returning to Leicester to work with his family. But a racially motivated tragedy sees all three men back in their hometown, wrestling with an unexpected, unwelcome future. Sameer is set further adrift: he takes an unanticipated six weeks off ahead of moving to Singapore and goes to his family’s original home in Uganda, seeking out his roots and reconnecting with the raw beauty and opportunities of this lush country. With a dual narrative that jumps between Sameer’s story and a set of letters written in the 1960s by Sameer’s grandfather Hasan, this stunning book wrestles with questions that echo across the ages: what does it mean to honour your family’s sacrifices? At what point do you strike out on your own? And how can you keep yourself and your loved ones safe in a world mired in prejudice and racism?





This diary is an utterly absorbing observational account of 61-year- old Nina’s life as she uproots from Cornwall to drop herself and her cockapoo Peggy into London for a year-long ‘sabbatical’ while she navigates a break-up with her husband. She takes up lodging in Camden, in the house of fellow writer Deborah Moggach, from where she explores the city, socialises with her growing children (whom she adores) and many literary friends (including Cathy Rentzenbrink and Meg Mason), and potters her way back to normality. She joins Hampstead swimming ponds and wades through the associated politics. She rubs shoulders with acclaimed authors and artists in encounters which should feel name-droppy, but just don’t, and still has to tackle completely mundane decisions about whether to defrost a Charlie Bigham’s fish pie or not – or which detergent to use at the laundrette. The effect is somehow completely enthralling – even the short lists of Instagram posts she’s scrolled past are compelling. Parts hilarious, parts heartbreaking, you can dip in and out or splurge in one sitting. Either way, this is an empowering, uplifting read that feels like you are strolling around North London in Nina’s company. How often do you get the chance to spend time with such an interesting individual?


Stand-up comic Andy has been broken up with, so like all good millennials, he’s finding his feet with a listicle. The book opens with his wryly observed ‘Reasons Why It’s Good I’m Not With Jen’, whose ick-making traits will make many wince in recognition. Andy has moved to his mum’s house, having vacated the London flat he shared with Jen. His mum, who deadpans that she loves Jen just a bit more than she loves Andy, brings him tea laced with Disaronno and he declares it feels like Christmas. Andy’s post-break-up behaviour will be painfully familiar: he scrutinises Jen’s Instagram Stories for clues as to why he was broken up with, buys bottles of her perfume and throws them in a canal, and saves the new Bon Iver single for a train ride so he can wallow in self-pity. His mates cluster round to offer support on a boys’ night out, but only after cajoling from best mate Avi – whose wife Jane is Jen’s closest friend – and Andy reels at the realisation their quartet will never be the same. He heads to work, delivering a half-hearted set on the other side of the UK, and navigates finding a new place in London on a comedian’s salary, trying out a canal boat and a 78-year-old prepper’s spare room. Slowly, he starts pulling himself back together while trying to work out what went wrong, but without Jen’s side of the story, can he ever move on? Alderton has a gift for depicting relationships whether between friends, romantic partners or family members, and her asides will make millennials burst out laughing and crinkle their noses at how well they’ve been ‘seen’. This is a whip-smart, gleefully written insight on how we muddle through contemporary relationships which will no doubt become a series sooner rather than later; you’ll probably smash through this book in one indulgent sitting, delighted by the chance to spend more time with these imagined relationships.



Following the release of her debut novel Peach Blossom Spring last year, Edition catches up with Cambridgeshire-based author Melissa Fu A Cambridge WRITER’S DIARY

I adore going into Cambridge – it’s a jewel of a city and just a stone’s throw away, as I live in a village on the outskirts. Michaelhouse Cafe is one of my favourite places to write, especially when I’m lucky enough to get one of those tables upstairs that are great for people watching. In 2014, I was very lucky to find a local writer’s group called Angles. Though I’m less active now, I was a member for years and it was great to be surrounded by so many people who had studied creative writing and were well-versed in giving helpful critiques and workshopping. I learnt so much about the craft of writing as well as the art of giving and taking feedback. Sometimes, I think working with Angles was like earning a mini master’s degree in creative writing. I can be quite erratic with when I work best – it used to be in the mornings, but now that I have a dog, he has kind of wrecked that morning writing routine! I guess you could say that I do ‘thinking writing’ when I’m walking him instead. It’s a struggle to find the time to sit and write and then protect that time when you do have it. When I have a certain project and the momentum starts going, it calls to me and I can go back to it every day – even if it’s just to do something small like write a little, re-read it or read something related. Setting deadlines to move myself along can help – such as completing smaller sections of the writing itself or doing something external like applying for grants, prizes or residencies.

it’s about the stories we carry from place to place and how they can sustain what can’t be kept in physical objects. I enjoyed the research element of writing the novel tremendously. It was a big change for me, since up to that point I had mainly written creative non-fiction that drew on my own experiences. I’m not a historian or trained in history at all – I was just diving into all these various histories of China. It was daunting at first, but became freeing when I realised I didn’t need to tell that entire history. I just had to find the story of one family living through that time. The novel began as a short story about my father’s peach trees, which now informs some of its final chapters. Writing that short story meant so much to me, I put my whole heart into it. A writer friend of mine gave me the useful feedback that, within the short story, I had set out a promise I didn’t quite deliver on; there was more to tell. So, I decided to ignore the 5,000-word limit, and just write. I’m now working on what I hope will become my second book, and it’s completely different from the first. In between, I have abandoned a few different projects, since not every idea necessarily becomes a finished product. It’s OK to work on something for a while to figure out whether or not it’s going to stick. And it’s OK to walk away if it doesn’t. Nothing is ever wasted. But with this new one, I’ve reached a point where I don’t think I can walk away from it, so watch this space.

Peach Blossom Spring is my debut novel. The story begins in 1938 during the Japanese invasion of China, and follows three generations of a Chinese family through to the early 2000s, as they go back and forth across the country. First, they flee the Second Sino-Japanese War, then the Chinese Civil War. Eventually, they go to Taiwan with the nationalists, who lost the Civil War. The son ultimately emigrates to North America. It broadly follows the outline of my father’s life and his generation. In a big-picture way, I’d say ANOTHER WORLD Melissa Fu’s debut novel morphed from a short story about her father’s peach trees into a fascinating journey through Chinese history




Cambridge Edition Christmas Giveaway We’re going to make one reader’s Christmas with a huge prize bundle worth more than £2,000! Featuring afternoon teas, festive hampers, theatre tickets and much more, read on to find out how to enter!



FESTIVE BOUQUET FROM EUROFLORIST WORTH £35.99! Smell the roses with a fresh festive


bouquet delivered straight to your doorstep from Euroflorist. This frosted white rose bouquet is sure to brighten up your home in the days before Christmas and make the big day extra special. Euroflorist has been delivering flowers since 1947 and offers a seven-day freshness guarantee.



Guaranteed fun for all the family and perfect for a cold winter’s

afternoon, Asmodee is giving away a bundle of games to enjoy over the season. The ‘Fab Four’ includes the fast-paced observation game Dobble Connect, explosive word fun with Pass the Bomb, the Bunny Hops! board game and the hilarious doodling game Toodles.

CIDER BUNDLE & GIFT SET WORTH £51.95! Handcrafted in Cambridgeshire using the finest selection of British


apples, Cranes Cider is offering a selection of products for you to savour. The bundle includes a Cranes Mulled Cider Gift Set, featuring a blend of festive flavours including cinnamon, cranberry and orange. Also try a selection of six cider variations with the Cranes Cider Bundle, including a premium low-alcohol alternative. And finally, get a Cranes Apple Cider Gift Set, which comprises a medium-dry cider and pint glass. The perfect combination for the cider lover in your life!




A TRIO OF WINE FROM THE NED WORTH £36! One of New Zealand’s fastest- growing and best-selling brands, The Ned is giving away a whole case of its finest produce. This case includes three wines which are each perfect for festive soirées. There’s The Ned Sauvignon Blanc, with its tangy, thirst-quenching flavours of gooseberry and lime; The Ned Pinot Grigio which is as juicy as a fresh peach; and The Ned Rosé, bringing a punnet full of summer berries to your glass despite the winter weather! 5



Cambridge Satchel Co is giving away one of its statement products – The Bowls Bag in black with Strome black modern tartan. Although inspired by an antique, this head- turning favourite is ideal for modern life with a compact size that stores all your essentials.


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