Cambridge Edition March 2024 - Newsletter

Set your March in motion with our guide to Cambridge's best culture, dining & events



MARCH 2024

A Mother’s Day lunch worth £250! WIN!

FAMILY DAYS OUT A selection of springtime excursions for all ages

STAYCATIONS Gorgeous getaways across East Anglia




Moments for movement

Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

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 Editor in chief Nicola Foley 01223 499459 | Editor Phoebe Harper 01223 492249 | Editorial director Roger Payne Chief sub editor Matthew Winney Sub editor Minhaj Zia Junior sub editor Molly Constanti ADVERTISING Sales director Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457 | Ad manager Maria Francis 01223 492240 | Senior sales executive Claire Cornish 01223 499453 | CONTRIBUTORS Miriam Balanescu, Mark Box, Charlotte Griffiths, Krystian Mazurkiewicz, Ruth Sturgess, Anna Taylor, Angelina Villa-Clarke & Elisha Young DESIGN & PRODUCTION Magazine manager Lucy Woolcomb Junior designer Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman Ad production Holly May MANAGING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck


A warm welcome to the latest issue of Cambridge Edition . Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, these pages present a host of inspirational female figures. From the women’s crew ready to take on Oxford for the 78th edition of the iconic Boat Race with their powerful message of support and solidarity, to performance artist Katherina Radeva bringing her new show to the Junction and championing the permission to find joy. Ahead of her talk at the Cambridge Literary Festival next month, we also have the pleasure of speaking with author Lucy Jones, whose book Matrescence breaks new ground in exposing motherhood and the depths of its metamorphosis. As March quietly ushers in the tentative shoots of spring, so too do we embrace the desire for movement. Step outside and explore the bounty East Anglia has to offer with a select choice of staycations – from central Cambridge to the wilds of the North Norfolk coastline. Closer to home, a range of excursions await for some springtime family fun, including the return of the Thriplow Daffodil Weekend and Easter egg hunts galore. Elsewhere, discover a variety of mouth-watering offers for the upcoming Restaurant Week (page 39) and take your pick of new exhibitions, gigs and festivals to pop in the diary. As we move into March, I hope this magazine puts a spring in your step. Enjoy your read!








Illustration by Holly May , inspired by a photo from @thecambridgeacademic on Instagram






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

1. Yascordy knit, £65, Iris & Violet Add a vibrant touch of colour to cheer up those cooler days when you still need to keep cosy! 2. Green honeycomb bunny, £6, Freda & Bert A cute table centrepiece for your Easter Sunday lunch or decoration for Easter egg hunts 3. Sidney bag in tan, £420, M Hulot The ideal boxy shape crafted in beautifully soft leather, this stunning bag has room for all your spring essentials 4. The Hidden Histories of Flowers, £14.99, Kettle’s Yard This gorgeous book tracing the evolution of flower symbolism makes for the perfect Mother’s Day present 5. Votes for women mug, £8, Curating Cambridge Raise your cuppa to the legacy of the suffragettes this International Women’s Day 6. Small glass vase, £3.95, Angela Reed These bulbous bottles in beautiful muted colours are perfect for dotting around the house filled with springtime wildflowers 7. The Swirl 2 sunglasses in ecaille, £135, Jimmy Fairly Sunshine, is that you? This timeless style is guaranteed to suit a host of face shapes


Culture Club

STAIRCASE WIT Folk hero Aoife O’Donovan is set to take the city by storm with a set at the Cambridge Folk Festival, 25-28 July





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

The latest exhibition from The Women’s Art Collection at Murray Edwards College offers a bold examination of how various artists have conjured and revered the figure of the goddess, including its reinvention as both a disembodied deity and mechanical cyborg. The works on display date from the 1970s to the present day and grapple with ideas relating to female-centred ‘goddess spirituality’ deriving from the second-wave women’s liberation movement. Admire the work of US artist Mary Beth Edelson, who pioneered ‘goddess feminism’ in the 1970s, to more contemporary artists like the painter Alicia Reyes McNamara, who sought to portray a figure undefined by gender or bodily form. It takes place from 8 March to 8 September at The Women’s Art Collection. The Goddess, the Deity and the Cyborg EXHIBITION




The Big Issue With an eclectic programme of over 360 mostly free events in venues across the city, the Cambridge Festival, organised by the University of Cambridge, returns for 2024. As ever, the festival will tackle topical issues of the modern day: how we fix the NHS, putting a stop to war, and diving into the university’s work in the face of the world’s three greatest challenges: climate, cancer and AI. “For anyone wanting to learn more about our world, meet the people working at the cutting edge of research or discover the possible solutions for many challenging global issues, this year’s programme has it all,” announces festival manager David Cain. “Alongside the meatier topics, there are a huge variety of lighter events – including from Cambridge Creative Encounters. We challenged our researchers to work with professionals from the creative arts to rethink the way they communicate their research using a range of artistic media – from augmented reality, sculpture, photography, illustration and poetry, through to animation and short films.” In addition, the programme has an abundance of comedy, music, family-friendly workshops and interactive events, encompassing the four major themes of health, society, environment and discovery. “The festival team can’t wait to welcome everyone to the events in March. I encourage everyone to dive into the programme and fill their diaries to the brim!” View the full programme and plan ahead:

13 – 28 Mar


March concludes the spring 2024 concert series from Cambridge Music Festival, but you’re not too late to enjoy some spellbinding performances from musical talents around the world. On 5 March , the Fitzwilliam College Auditorium will come to life as 12 Ensemble present a rousing performance of 20th-century chamber music with Strauss’ Metamorphosen . Join virtuoso sitarist and Ivor Award nominee Jasdeep Singh Degun as he wows the Pembroke College Auditorium with his unique approach to Indian classical music on 7 March . The programme also offers a performance from Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo on 11 March before a grand finale in King’s College Chapel. Here, the award-winning choir Tenebrae will stun audiences with a rendition of Talbot’s choral meditation, Path of Miracles . Visit for tickets. SPRING INTO SONG


From 17 to 21 April , the spring programme for the Cambridge Literary Festival is taking place. With something for all ages, the festival features famous voices such as Margaret Drabble, Sathnam Sanghera, Elif Shafak and many more. “Our Spring Festival welcomes almost 100 compelling writers who offer joy, provocation, laughter and remarkable stories,” says CEO and artistic director Cathy Moore. “It presents a profusion of politics, a vibrancy of novelists, a host of historians, plus poets, broadcasters, children’s events, scientists, gardeners, philosophers and much more.” Visit



Screening in Cambridge this International Women’s Day, Vindication Swim dives into the legacy of British swimmer Mercedes Gleitze FILM GOING AGAINST THE TIDE 8 Mar

Hitting cinemas on 8 March, Vindication Swim explores the extraordinary life of Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the English Channel in 1927. Written and directed by Elliott Hasler, the biopic follows Mercedes’ upstream struggle in navigating the choppy waters of the English Channel and oppressive society of 1920s England. But when a rival claims to have accomplished the same feat, Mercedes is forced to retain both her record and legacy. Kirsten Callaghan debuts as the lead role, after training for months in the Channel herself before filming began. Joining her are John Locke ( Darkest Hour ), James Wilby ( Maurice ) and Douglas Hodge ( Joker ). Although a name largely lost to history, Mercedes also became the first person to complete many other swims, including the Strait of Gibraltar, Dardanelles Strait and the stretch between Robben Island and Cape Town. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Vindication Swim is a poignant reminder of the indomitable spirit of a woman who dared to dream beyond the confines of her era. The film’s release invites Cambridge residents to join the nationwide audience in commemorating International Women’s Day while paying homage to a local connection that shaped Mercedes’ remarkable legacy. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a sports fan or simply seeking inspiration, Vindication Swim promises a cinematic experience that celebrates not only the achievements of Mercedes, but also the collective strength and determination of women who left an indelible mark on our world. For details on screenings, visit or follow @vindicationswimfilm



Head for the Hills The Banff Mountain Film Festival returns for its 15th tour of Ireland and the UK, bringing a selection of white-knuckle films to West Road Concert Hall. “With intrepid athletes, spectacular cinematography and a big dose of adrenaline, the Banff Mountain Film Festival stars the best new films from the world’s top adventure filmmakers. Plus, we guarantee you’ll be inspired to have an adventure of your own as well,” says tour director Nell Teasdale. There are two collections of action films to choose from – either the Red or Blue Films – both promising to be equally captivating. Highlights include Chronoception – an expedition along the ancient Silk Road into the Tien Shan mountains, and Going Greenland , which follows two athletes’ pioneering combination of a renewable energy sailboat with an Arctic ski expedition. Book your tickets at

24 – 25 April





Revolution of the Middle- Aged Woman As an artist, migrant and woman, for Katherina Radeva turning 40 provided an opportunity for reflection – a moment to take stock of what she wanted from life. The answer, though simple, led to the creation of Two Destination Language’s boldest and most liberating show to date – one that is born entirely from the mission to find joy. “I decided to give myself permission to have joy on stage because if not now, then when?” says Katherina. Combining six distinct dances with voice notes meditating on themes such as joy, permission, womanhood, migrancy and time, 40/40 is a powerful cocktail of theatre and dance, promising to entertain as much as provoke thought. “The show has scope for connection since the audience is seated around the dance floor, creating a dialogue between me and their responses,” she continues. “Performing 40/40 is all about being honest and authentic; I think audiences appreciate that.” At its core, the show has a universal message anyone and everyone can take away; it’s a mantra instilled in Katherina by a close friend. “Every day, you’ve got to have a treat, and that means a daily celebration of being oneself.” Whether it’s a yoga session or going out for a coffee with a friend, these moments of self-care are vital and offer a message of quiet revolution for those overlooked or most likely to be burnt out. “The revolution is about caring for oneself because I used to run myself down to the ground. Part of self-care is engaging with culture to counteract the harshness of this world,” she shares. “We women overcome barriers every day; some of us find it hard to do the constant overcoming, so 40/40 is saying ‘if I can do it, you can too’. While we’re at it, let’s have some joy.”

Opens 2 Mar

NEWTON FAULKNER 10 MAY, CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION Two years after the Feels Like Home Part 1 tour, Newton returns for Part 2 with his stripped-back acoustics and vocals. RICHARD THOMPSON 25 MAY, CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE One of Rolling Stone ’s 100 greatest guitarists of all time, enjoy an evening of timeless melodies. RED ROOSTER FESTIVAL 30 MAY TO 1 JUNE, EUSTON HALL Celebrate ten years of the finest soul, blues, Cajun, roots, rock ’n’ roll and country in Suffolk. CAMBRIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL 25 TO 28 JULY, CHERRY HINTON HALL The full line-up for 2024 has been released for one of the most prestigious folk festivals, including a headline slot from Robert Plant presents Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian.



Kettle’s Yard’s latest display is the largest solo exhibition to date for the Cambridge- based artist Issam Kourbaj. Born in Syria in 1963, Issam’s work for the past 13 years has been dedicated to recording the conflict of his home country. As a place where over 14 million refugees were forced to flee their homes, the artist’s multifaceted practice relates to themes of displacement, shelter, time, memory and renewal – as seen with the repeated motif of the Syrian wheat seed. This powerful yet beautiful display coincides with the 13th anniversary of the Syrian uprising, which began in March 2011. Encompassing a host of artistic forms such as sculpture, found materials, performance and painting, this exhibition highlights the potential of art to enable comprehension of traumatic events on both a historical and personal scale.

CELEBRATING SELF The show blends dance and theatre to explore themes of joy and womanhood



FESTIVALS Get Ready to Groove The Cambridge Club Festival 2024 amps up the excitement with sensational acts all the way down the line-up – this summer’s instalment is destined to set Childerley Orchard ablaze

Summer is approaching fast, and we’re delighted to bring the latest updates to The Cambridge Club Festival’s 2024 line-up. Sitting among monster headliners, including Chaka Khan, Jessie Ware and the Earth, Wind and Fire Experience, this year is promising to be a blast! The festival kicks off with a bang on Friday 7 June, featuring 2000s pop sensation Natasha Bedingfield . Joining forces with UK music icons Jessie Ware and Melanie C, Natasha is set to unleash her chart-topping hits, including the iconic Unwritten . Get ready to dance the night away under the stars. Saturday 8 June promises a disco inferno with D Train , the early-80s boogie-soul-funk maestros. Their number one club hit You’re the One for Me will undoubtedly set the stage on fire alongside Incognito, The Family Stone, Sister Sledge and the Earth, Wind and Fire Experience. Chart-topper Rebecca Ferguson takes the stage on Sunday 9 June, setting the scene for an unforgettable night alongside Soul II Soul, Gabrielle and the legendary Chaka Khan. The party doesn’t stop there, with the return of fan favourites Uncle Funk’s Disco Inferno on Saturday night. Finally, get ready to move in the Discovery Den with Mousse T , a true pioneer in uplifting house music. With hits like Horny and the collaboration with Sir Tom Jones on Sex Bomb , Mousse T is primed to keep the beats flowing

all night long. Also spinning the tunes are the likes of Fat Tony, Norman Jay MBE and many more. WHAT ELSE IS ON? The festival isn’t just about the music, though; it’s an immersive experience for all your senses. Explore the Food for Thought stage with live food demonstrations and tastings curated by celebrity chef Tristan Welch. Meanwhile, the apple orchard hosts three stages where you’ll find something for all ages: from the Discovery Den’s pulsating beats to top-notch comedy in the Auditorium of Intrigue. Also, the Imagination Station ensures family fun with children’s entertainers, games and fairground rides. If you’re looking for a more refined experience, luxury glamping next to stunning flower meadows offers cosiness among the chaos. Choose from pre-pitched or bring-your- tent camping, camper van spaces and enhanced on-site parking. Ticket options include The Clubhouse for VIP treatment, The Paddock for prime views and standard tickets for access to the main arena and the orchard. Secure your spot for the ultimate summer celebration. Weekend tickets are on their final release, and day ticket prices will increase soon. Visit to grab your tickets and be part of The Cambridge Club Festival 2024.

The festival isn’t just about music; it’s an immersive experience for all your senses

7 – 9 June





From a small, one-day event to a feel-good festival extravaganza, we trace The Cambridge Club’s evolution with co-founder Sam Mellor

Cambridge Edition: How did the festival originally come to life? Sam Mellor: We founded The Cambridge Club (CC) in 2017 as the sister festival to our original event Strawberries & Creem (S&C). Our initial aim was to offer something our parents wanted to attend; I think they were put off by the dance and rap music at S&C! Back then, S&C was a one-day event on Saturday, so we had to flip the site overnight with totally different music, decor and drinks for CC on Sunday. As people who grew up here and know Cambridge, we wanted to reach a new audience keen for a popular festival on their doorstep, bringing big names to the stage. We’ve come a long way from those early years with several stages, on-site camping, a range of entertainment and over 20,000 people to share it with! CE: Tell us about the vision behind CC. SM: Our guiding principle has always been about the music - celebrating the best in disco, funk and soul, with this feel-good philosophy applied to everything we do and everyone we book. We just wanted music that made people dance, both young and old, cross-generational sounds and acts that get us grooving together – kids and parents alike. Whether we’re bringing disco queens such as Chaka Khan to town, funk and soul giants like Earth Wind & Fire Experience, or modern pop icons like Jessie Ware, the thing that ties it all together is the

nature and danceability of the music. Pairing that vibe and atmosphere with a beautiful site offering a clean-cut experience, plus a friendly and welcoming audience. We want the event to be both friendly and down-to-earth, while also offering something unique – so you feel like you’ve discovered a secret club, a hidden gem nestled in the Cambridgeshire countryside. CE: What have been the highlights so far? SM: Being a festival promoter is a rollercoaster ride! Some moments have been downright surreal, such as bringing in a local Michelin- starred chef – Tristan Welch, then head chef at the University Arms’ Parker’s Tavern restaurant – to cook for Diana Ross in 2022! We’ve welcomed some amazing performers and all-time music greats to the CC stage; that has been a privilege. We’ll all forever remember sets from Nile Rodgers and Chic, Diana Ross, The Jacksons, Lionel Richie, Grace Jones, Kool and the Gang – too many to mention! I recall show- stealing performances from Gabrielle and Sister Sledge in the early days, who took a punt on a little one-day event in Cambridge and brought the house down. We’re grateful for moments that gave us something special to build on. CE: What are your hopes for the festival going forwards? SM: We want to keep serving up incredible music and memorable event experiences for

everyone, bringing some of the biggest names in the world to Cambridge, while also improving what we’re offering and expanding what goes on across the site. We only added camping in 2021 but it’s been a huge area of growth for us, expanding every year since. For CC 24, we’ve got more capacity for people to stay over on site – either by bringing their own tent or camper van, or booking one of pre-pitched tents (which range from basic tents to glossy glamping packages). The orchard has also become increasingly involved over the years; it’s a beautiful space and a unique aspect of the site, housing the Discovery Den dance stage within its confines. Also new and improved is the car park on site, so if you’re driving you can park next to the festival and walk in. We’re just getting better each year and offering more value to our audience, who are what makes the festival special and deserve the best time ever!

Our hotly anticipated theatrical delights, causing a stir all over the city Pick of the Theatre



RICHARD, MY RICHARD 11-27 APRIL, THEATRE ROYAL BURY ST EDMUNDS Based on the story of Richard III, don’t miss the world premiere of the first play by world- renowned author Philippa Gregory.

Dubbed ‘one of the greatest comedies’, this performance is an uproarious social satire.

The murderous tale is brought to life by the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club.




OF MOTHERHOOD Ahead of her appearance at Cambridge Literary Festival, Edition speaks with author Lucy Jones about her groundbreaking new book, Matrescence The Metamorphosis


Cambridge Edition: As a radical new examination of motherhood, what underexplored narratives did you want to tackle with the book? Lucy Jones: I wrote Matrescence partly to try and see clearly my experience of becoming a mother. That in itself was a challenge because pregnancy, birth and the complex realities of the maternal experience are so hidden, sanitised and bizarrely disavowed in our culture. In the writing, it felt taboo to simply write what had happened to my mind and body – through giving birth, feeding my baby, the impact of sleep deprivation, the existential metamorphosis, for example. The feeling that what I was writing was in some way wrong or seditious spurred me on. There’s an epidemic of obfuscation, misinformation and false-naming around maternal health and experience. From the misnomer ‘morning sickness’ to lies about natural childbirth and minimisation of the emotional heft of the immediate post-natal experience with the phrase ‘baby blues’. The breadth of deception was intriguing to me, so I wanted to interrogate what functions it serves and how things could be different. CE: What do you hope parents will take away from reading Matrescence ? LJ: My ambition for the book was to start conversations about the needs of new mothers and parents, about the true value of care-giving, the importance of social support, the inadequacy of healthcare and maternal subjectivity. I hope it gives people permission to speak more honestly

is peculiarly violent. Mothers are expected to work in a 21st-century way while being oppressed by adamantine social norms and expectations invented centuries ago. Care-giving in the early 21st century clashes catastrophically with neoliberal late-stage capitalism. The ideology of intensive mothering and the self-sacrificing maternal ideal is a proxy for collective care making it socially acceptable for the burden to fall on individual women. Matrescence illuminates the failing social ideas and structures. CE: Have you found this book to be a significant departure from your previous writing? LJ: Matrescence is more personal than my other books. I also came up against the limitations of English language in a new way. Our phallocentric language doesn’t yet have enough words for the maternal experience, the different forms of pain in childbirth for example. So I looked to my growing daughter and how intrinsically creative and experimental she is. That gave me the confidence to play with the text, have fun with typography, think about letters and words like paint and push the essential tools of language into new places. Much of these experiments are on the cutting room floor, but it was important to me that some character of the creative and playful experience of parenting was baked into the form of the book. The reaction has been hugely gratifying and unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It’s been very moving to hear from readers and realise there is a reservoir of power and possibility starting to burst.

THE RADICAL LENS Despite tackling rarely discussed topics, Matrescence maintains a creative tone

and might lead to consolation and companionship, as well as greater pressure on structures and systems which currently fail mothers. Everyone is ‘of woman born’ so I believe the new science of the brain, for example, could be interesting for everyone. It might illuminate what our own mothers went through to have us. I also hope it scratches away at the inadequate webs of social thought we are trapped in, which serve the few rather than the many. The modern institution of intensive, isolated motherhood in the Global North



GOOD AS GHOST A Cambridge Haunting After its West End success, 2:22 A Ghost Story is set to scare at the Arts Theatre. We talk twists and tension with cast members Fiona Wade and George Rainsford


I n recent years, Danny Robins, aka ‘the UK’s go-to ghost guy’, has had the nation gripped by ghost fever – whether that’s with his hit BBC podcasts Uncanny , Battersea Poltergeist and Witch Farm , or his supernatural stage thriller 2:22 A Ghost Story . Now, following five record-breaking seasons at the Noël Coward, Gielgud, Criterion, Lyric and Apollo Theatres on London’s West End, 2:22 A Ghost Story is coming to the Cambridge Arts Theatre from 5 to 9 March . Starring in two of the lead roles are George Rainsford (best known as a series regular in Casualty ) and Fiona Wade, who became a household name after her long- running role in Emmerdale . “We were both already huge fans of Danny Robins after listening to Uncanny . I love a good ghost story and had been fascinated by the success of the play, although I’d never seen it. As soon as I read the script, I knew I had to be involved,” says George. As Fiona echoes, “I’m absolutely obsessed with Uncanny ! I was working on Emmerdale when I first heard about the play and I hadn’t put two and two together, but as soon as I realised Danny had written it, I was in.” Despite his love of a good ghost story, George considers himself a sceptic while Fiona is a firm member of Team Believer. It’s a perspective that marries with their individual characters in the play: husband-

and-wife duo Sam and Jenny. As a young mother with a new baby, who is equally strong but also disturbed by frightening sounds in the house while her husband is away, Fiona describes the character of Jenny as ‘everything I have wanted to play as an actress’. Meanwhile, George finds Sam to be ‘very self-assured, quite pompous and verbose’. As a teacher and writer, the character is loosely based on the play’s creator. “Although Danny is definitely much nicer!” reveals George. We meet the young family on the night Sam returns from a work trip to find his wife frightened by the supposedly supernatural events taking place in the house. The topic causes tension between the two, before they are joined by their dinner party guests and discussion soon turns to the possibility of the paranormal. “As soon as these guests arrive, Jenny is desperate to share her story. She’s still frightened by what she’s heard. But there’s this awkwardness and the relationship is strained even further,” Fiona elaborates. While belief clashes with scepticism, the group decides to stay up until 2:22am to find the answers. What happens next is a twist that both Fiona and George absolutely refuse to budge on. “I love hearing the reactions from the audience afterwards because no one ever guesses where it was going to go!” George exclaims. “Throughout the

show, there’s this underlying sense of foreboding, but as the audience you have absolutely no idea where it’s going.” Aside from turning up the fear factor with regular jump scares and thought- provoking moments of contemplation on the supernatural, both describe the show as extremely funny, accessible and an undeniably entertaining night at the theatre – with something for everyone. As Fiona surmises, “Whether you’re a believer or a sceptic, it’s definitely one of those shows where you’ll immediately want to go out for a drink afterwards to unpick everything and discuss your own theories about what you believe in.” PHANTOM PLAY Fiona Wade breathes life into Jenny, infusing the character with palpable vulnerability and raw emotion



ON THE SCENE Tell You What The legendary Dr John Cooper Clarke returns to the Corn Exchange. Miriam Balanescu sits down with the people’s poet

P ensmith, lyricist and unrivalled wit John Cooper Clarke needs little to no introduction. Despite first ascending to fame in the 80s – and this year celebrating his 75th birthday – the punk icon remains unchanged. This month, the doctor (a title he gained in 2013) will return to Cambridge to honour 50 years in show business and share material from his latest collection, What . “Get him while he’s alive,” John teases over his landline (moments after ‘listening to the obituary programme on Radio 4’). “I think that’s what the flyer says, isn’t it?” What is a stylistic

“The social stuff is very broad,” he claims. “I don’t like to deal with the narrow politics of any particular period; I write about the eternal things. “I just like to take what comes out of the TV, run it through the old processing machine inside my head and regurgitate it as poetry.” However – rather miraculously – this poet has managed to steer clear of the digital world, as he possesses neither a mobile phone or a computer. “I’m not so convinced that I did the right thing, having to suffer thousands of daily punishments visited upon the analogue community,” John laughs. “You have to decide to get involved with computers. I didn’t even put it to the test. I just shrugged it off as not being applicable to me or anything that I do. “I don’t have a computer because I know how great they are. Plus, I already know too much anyway – I could do with forgetting some sh*t. But I still believe that, personally, it doesn’t offer me anything

7 Mar

continuation of his previous work – a scathingly satirical and riotously funny commentary on pop culture. “It’s been an

aggregation of stuff that I’ve been writing since I brought out my last book of poetry,” John says. “It’s my annual look at the last three days.” But what about the past 50 years? “The

PROFOUND PATTER John’s quick wit captivates audiences with his unique, droll delivery

Back in the day, there was no call for poetry

day’s work I ever did was drag poetry into the world of public entertainment where it belongs,” he says. “Back in the day, there was no call for poetry. Nobody in my social circle ever bemoaned the fact there weren’t any poetry recitals in Salford. “If people looked at their relationship to poetry, I don’t think it’s as alien as the folk myth goes. Look at the monologue artists in the old days of the music hall, Harry Champion and later people like Stanley Holloway, Phil Harris and Rex Harrison – you can’t call that singing! In My Fair Lady , it’s talking in time to some invisible orchestra.” Observations on society and culture have long been at the crux of John’s writing.

trajectory is very good,” John states. “I like that it’s got a movie quality about it, starting with too much too soon, getting all washed up in the wilderness years of the 80s, and then coming back like Sinatra. There’s a lot of drama involved. Good stories like that involve time. I’m quite outrageous in that regard: the length of time that I wasn’t doing anything.” There are, John suggests, plans to translate that story to cinema: “I think Johnny Depp owes me one for swiping my image in Edward Scissorhands . That’s exactly how I looked at the time – minus the cutlery.” Despite his rock ’n’ roll reputation, John is first and foremost a poet. “The best

other than the end of my career.

“If I was to write a novel, the most recent setting would have to be something like 1983. It’s pretty amazing, then, that I’m so relevant when I’m such an anachronism in many ways.” As a true testament to this, audiences turn out to John’s performances in droves. Cambridge is one of the cities John often returns to on his tours, where he fondly remembers cruising along the River Cam with his wife and daughter 20-odd years ago. When told that motorboats aren’t often spotted on the Backs any more – possibly something to do with the wildlife – John seems incredulous: “Swans are more dangerous than motorboats,” he says.



Discover our pick of March’s movie marvels

Ava DuVernay’s look at caste and racism roves across the US, Germany and India. Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor gives a staggering performance as journalist Isabel Wilkerson, whose non-fiction work Caste provides the foundation for the film. 8 March ORIGIN

A pulpy spin on the quintessential road movie from one of the Coen brothers. Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan are a double act to rival Thelma and Louise, attempting to outrun a band of incompetent criminals. 15 March DRIVE-AWAY DOLLS

Rodrigo Moreno’s crisp, swaggering portrait of a tired banker injects the heist genre with unexpected measures of care, lightness and laughter. Refreshingly meditative, this drama is relatable to anyone coping with a boring job. 22 March THE DELINQUENTS

Picturehouse Picks From fresh arthouse gems to theatre livestreamed from London, here’s what not to miss at the Picturehouse

DUNE: PART TWO The sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi adaptation hits screens this month. Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya will be joined by Florence Pugh, Austin Butler and Léa Seydoux in a tense showdown. 1 March

MONSTER Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with an instant indie classic. Monster centres on two schoolboys, a mysterious fire, a hurricane and an overpass. Beneath the surface of these narratives is a story impossible to anticipate. 15 March

SCREEN ARTS On 10 March, catch a musical reimagining of the sinking of the Titanic, with songs by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone. The National Theatre’s The Motive and the Cue follows on 21 March, starring Johnny Flynn and Mark Gatiss in rehearsals for a Broadway show.



CAMBRIDGE EDITION Book Club Whether you’re looking for a moving memoir or a chart-topping ‘romantasy’, these female authors are bound to satisfy your literary appetites


The Hunter BY TANA FRENCH This book wasn’t meant to be. The Searcher , Tana French’s previous Irish western following former Chicago cop Cal Hooper and his arrival in a small Irish village, was made as a stand-alone novel. But the best-selling author sensed the characters weren’t quite done. Come immerse yourself in rural Ireland once more in the company of retired Cal, his not-quite-girlfriend Lena and local teenager Trey Reddy. The trio have reached an easy equilibrium since the tumultuous events surrounding Cal’s arrival (the prior book’s subject, which you don’t need to have read), and have formed an unconventional family unit. Cal is begrudgingly adjusting to small village life, spending his days with Trey restoring old furniture together, smoothing and sanding old wood back to life. Meanwhile, Lena and Cal are getting comfortable, loping between houses in an unspoken arrangement which suits them both fine. But this

season, the heat dials up a notch – and as all good westerns have taught us, high noon brings trouble. Trey’s long-absent, no-good father suddenly rolls back into town with a rich English friend in tow and a crazy scheme to rinse that Englishman for all he’s worth. The villagers – hungry for change, both from their lives and the relentless heat – are all ears. Even law- abiding Cal gets involved, determined not to let the scheme upset Trey’s hard-won peace. Yet Trey has other ideas: beneath the teenager’s cool exterior lies plans for revenge. The characters are compelling, but the book’s setting is another huge draw. Returning to the rugged, ferocious and unrelentingly beautiful landscape of west Ireland is clearly a delight for French; her prose captures the magic of the imperious mountains, sparkling golden fields and babbling brooks, which may or may not conceal pots full of gold within their waters, depending on who you listen to.

Essential for anyone who misses Hilary Mantel, this collection of non-fiction essays, articles and reviews is another chance to spend time with her unmistakable voice. Paired with her unique way of seeing the world, it should be grabbed with both hands. Alongside her musings on the death of Princess Diana, Mantel’s own ill health and experience of domestic life in Saudi Arabia, the book also includes (for the first time in print) her stunning 2017 Reith Lectures on the craft of historical fiction, plus the task of resurrecting those long dead. The topics drift from reviewing When Harry Met Sally to the challenge of being a female writer. Though this collection was assembled after her death, immersing yourself in her words still gives you a sense of connectedness, that there are considered threads running through all her work, carefully woven by Mantel herself over the decades. BY HILARY MANTEL A MEMOIR OF MY FORMER SELF: A LIFE IN WRITING



A strange side effect of successful movies and TV is that their stars get frozen in our heads. We rewatch beloved blockbusters and box sets, where characters never age but the actors – like us – succumb to time passing. We’re powerless to resist ‘where are they now?’ style listicles, showing photos of once-youthful stars alongside their current selves. Reunion programmes for TV shows follow similarly, with an almost guaranteed audience eager for a complicated, heady mix of surprise and wistful nostalgia. Yet, as an audience becomes older, they also grow a little wiser. Unlike images, seeing now-older stars discuss events in hindsight can turn black-and-white fact into murky and confusing grey. This is the premise behind Caitlin Devlin’s debut The Real Deal : Belle Simon, once the star of a reality show set in a Brit School style talent academy, is approached for a reunion with her classmates 13 years after the show ended in controversial circumstances. The action jumps between now and then, as Belle wrestles with taking part in the show and setting the record straight. Meanwhile, young Belle enters the academy, plucked from obscurity by megastar Donna Mayfair, and begins training under her hesitant mother’s watchful gaze. Belle and her friends become overnight sensations, but with producers adjusting the content of every scene and cutting reactions to fit storylines, does anyone know the truth of what happened back then – even Belle herself? An enjoyably diverting read for any lover of reality TV – one worth adding to your to-read pile for the summer months. THE REAL DEAL BY CAITLIN DEVLIN

House of Flame and Shadow This review will be a little unusual because, if you’ve not heard of the immediate global bestseller House of Flame and Shadow ( HOFAS ), I’d advise against reading it. Resist that glossy foiled cover, the frenzy of #BookTok posts and those long reads on ‘romantasy’, alongside Maas’s domination of bookseller charts. If you’re curious about it, I’m going to point you toward another of Maas’s novels from an entirely different series. You’ll need a copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses , first published in 2015. That’s your ticket into the Maas-verse, and you can thank me later – 16 books later to be precise, which is when you’ll finally be ready to read this newest novel. Don’t worry, you won’t be alone on this journey; sales of Maas’s back catalogue rose 79% last year, while readers increasingly discovered the magic of her writing. Despite debate about the correct order to read her books, leaving the Crescent City series (of which this newest is the final part) for last ensures the most satisfying surprises. It’s difficult to say much about its story without spoilers – but, as expected, HOFAS picks up after the second book. It follows irresistible, pink-trainer-wearing hero Bryce Quinlan and her companions on their quest to right the wrongs committed against their world. If you know about this book, you almost certainly had it on pre-order and probably already finished it. This much-anticipated novel immediately shot to the top of bestseller lists and will no doubt stay there for some time. Of course, there’s a chance it may not click; you might be completely turned off by the entire idea of the genre, and Maas’s work is admittedly not without issues. But, if you do fall under her spell, there’s no going back. These books are a true delight and a total escape from reality, making you feel like a teenager reading late into the night, desperate to find out what happens next. Welcome to the Maas-verse; you’re one of us now. BY SARAH J. MAAS



HELPING YOU MAKE DECISIONS TOGETHER Local expert FM Family Law explains the benefits of mediation

BENEFITS OF MEDIATION QUICK PROGRESSION Mediation facilitates efficient and focused discussions at your own pace, helping you move quickly on to the next stage compared to negotiations through lawyers and/or court. COST-EFFECTIVE Compared to negotiating through your own lawyers and/or going to court, mediation is a more cost- effective method. These meetings are also usually fixed-fee, which makes budgeting easier. LESS STRESSFUL Mediation provides a safe and neutral place for you to discuss issues and find solutions together. It is less combative and promotes a more amicable way to resolve disputes, helping reduce feelings of stress.

S eparation can be challenging, future and financial security. If you and your former partner need support with making decisions and reaching agreements, consider family mediation. This provides a chance to take control, make decisions together and build a positive future. Family mediation helps examine and resolve issues on parenting, property and money. Sessions take place in a neutral venue, away from lawyers and courts. The mediator will facilitate and support your discussions, helping you explore various options and reality check ideas. especially when discussing issues with lasting impact on your family’s WHY CHOOSE FM FAMILY LAW? FM Family Law has three experienced family mediators who are also specialist family lawyers. We understand the legal framework of the things that matter to you, and provide information to help you understand and explore options to reach the right outcomes. Our team of expert family mediators are available to support you and your family in reaching important decisions in a constructive way. We have a central Cambridge office with parking and a

bespoke mediation suite. We can also offer online mediation over Zoom. FM MEDIATION VOUCHER SCHEME To help you take steps towards resolving your issues and discover the benefits of family mediation, FM Family Law is offering a voucher scheme to contribute towards mediation costs. The voucher contributes £500 (£250 per person) towards the first two joint mediation meetings – this is available on request when booking and subject to availability. To enquire about family mediation, please contact our team on 01223 355333 . Full terms and conditions for our voucher scheme can be found on our website

BESPOKE OUTCOMES Discussions at mediation are

completely focused and tailored to your situation. You both have the freedom and flexibility to be creative and agree arrangements – whether this is related to your children and/ or your finances – that work for you and your family, all with the support of a mediator.




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

@ameeelia.t, wearer of fine clothing

@re.pattison, international book rights agent

@tab.ead, student and cat fanatic

@itwslv , student



ABOUT THE PROJECT Founded by Mark Box, Humans of Cambridge came to life under

lockdown as an Instagram photoblog. It has since gathered a devoted following as a photographic celebration of the creativity, colour and community found throughout Cambridge. Mark uses the platform to document fleeting moments with eye-catching individuals, striking up conversations with strangers as they pass him on the street and capturing their portraits on his 35mm mirrorless camera. During most weekdays, you will find Mark with his camera at the ready around lunchtime in the Market Square, on King’s Parade, Burrell’s Walk and Garret Hostel Bridge. Follow him on Instagram @humanofcambridge for more.


Miruna , lover of chess

@annaknightvox, tattoo lover, mother and model

@willgsteinberg , fashionable student



Totally Oar-struck As they prepare to turn the Tideway duck egg blue once again, Edition speaks to members of the Cambridge women’s rowing team ahead of the Gemini Boat Race 2024


O ver the past 194 years, a prestigious legacy making it one of the oldest and most famous amateur sporting events in the world. Today, it continues gathering the finest student athletes in a sport that champions the fierce spirit of rivalry, while also being the ultimate celebration of togetherness. Although 2024 marks the 169th men’s race, it will be the 78th time a women’s team has participated since the inaugural Women’s Boat Race in 1927. Indeed, it was only in 2015 that the women’s race moved to the Championship Course – a 6.8km long stretch of the Thames winding from Putney to Mortlake, where the Men’s Boat Race takes place every year. “Having both races on the Tideway on the same day and with the same media coverage was a big step forward; I’m proud to be a part of that,” opens Lucy Havard, the Gemini Boat Race has become a defining fixture of British athletic history, with a member of the women’s 2024 squad. “We’ve come a long way in levelling the playing field in rowing for gender parity, but there’s still much more work to make it available to everyone,” echoes crewmate Freya Sutcliffe. accessible, Lucy decided to give it a go despite her shorter stature, dispelling the myth that you need to be six-foot tall to row. Meanwhile, Freya couldn’t resist the unique camaraderie it fosters among teammates. “I’d love to say I was drawn to the idea of collecting blisters like badges of honour, freezing your hands off in the cold and greeting the sunrise before most people have snoozed their alarm clocks, but that might be a hard sell,” she laughs. For Clare Hole, it was a desire to A SPORT FOR ALL In terms of making the sport more

ROWING STRONG (From left to right) Freya Sutcliffe, Lucy Havard and Clare Hole from Cambridge Women's Squad

was also a chance to follow in her parents’ footsteps, both of whom competed in the Boat Race while at Cambridge. “There’s a wall in Ely (training ground of Cambridge University Boat Club) which has all the names of each crew for every Boat Race. It would be cool to see my name alongside theirs all these years later.” That chance will come later this month. On Saturday 30 March at 2.46pm, the Women’s Boat Race will get underway from Putney. With the countdown well and truly on, rigorous preparation is in full swing with 12 training sessions a week that can be a mission to manage alongside studying. As a postgraduate, Lucy balances her training with work at Addenbrooke’s Hospital as a renal registrar. While Freya describes juggling training, a placement as a clinical medic, coursework and studying as a constant game of Tetris . “If juggling busy schedules were an Olympic event, the Cambridge rowers would be up there at the top,” she quips. unyielding teamwork, support and bonding that tethers the athletes together: a critical ingredient in overcoming the inevitable challenges. “When rowing, you meet the most dedicated and driven people who all share one common goal,” Clare observes. “It gives you so much more than simply IN IT TOGETHER What quickly becomes apparent is the

fitness, and I have never looked back since picking up an oar.” So far, sessions are progressing well as the team are put to the test in fixtures leading up to the race; the overarching attitude is one of excitement and a healthy dose of cautious confidence. Facing perennial rivals Oxford once again, Cambridge refuses to become complacent despite last year’s clean sweep of wins across all crews and races. “We think our programme has been a winning recipe, but we respect our opponents and are by no means resting on our laurels,” adds Freya. While preparation is promising, the cancellation of The Fours Head earlier this year due to unsafe river conditions means the crews are dealing with more unknowns than ever before, since the event offers a chance to race on the Championship Course. “It’s like going into a boxing ring blindfolded,” she continues. Nevertheless, optimism prevails. “We’re well-supported, both by excellent coaches on the water and in the gym, and by top-class facilities in Ely,” adds Clare. With a crew that’s a strong mixture of returners and new recruits – plus a camaraderie that’s second to none – the Cambridge women are keen to get out on the water. As Clare says: “There is nothing like the rush of racing down the Boat Race course with all the members of the crew pushing themselves to the limit.”

channel her energies into a new sport while studying at St Catharine’s College that led her to rowing, with less time to spare as an international dressage competitor. It


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