Commoners Comedy

I had no idea the Cornerhouse pub did comedy nights, but I met organiser Ali Warwood when we were both judging the annual Bake Off competition at The Dobblers back in May. Now I like to think I can get most things I want or need on Mill Road, but comedy nights are sadly not one of them – so in much need of a night out, Mr Mill Road and I decided to pop along to the Commoners Comedy night on 11th June…

Commoners ComedyThe Cornerhouse is just over a ten minute walk from Mill Road and the pub was just as I remembered (it had been a while since my last visit), with lots of friendly and familiar faces. Most of the seats were taken when we arrived and people were eagerly awaiting the start, but we still managed to get ourselves a spot that we figured wasn’t quite close enough to the front to risk being picked on by the comedians – though it turned out we weren’t quite far enough front the front… thanks Ali! ūüėČ

There had been a couple of last minute changes to the advertised line-up, but there were still six comedians on the bill and we were not disappointed. Trev Tokabi‘s observations on our cultural idiosyncrasies were pure genius – a lot of comedy is observational, but Trev’s delivery is perfectly timed and the more stupid he made us look the more we laughed! Jamie Green (who compere’s the Wise Crack Comedy nights in Cambridge) was hilarious, and Candy Gigi was just brilliantly odd! Sean Cannon, Nigel Lovell and headline act Jenny Collier all had us laughing out loud too. But a special mention must go to Ali herself – she organised the whole event and also brilliantly compered the evening and made everyone feel welcome.

If you fancy a night of comedy – or just a night with a difference – then I highly recommend going along to one of the Commoners Comedy nights. They’re on the second Thursday of each month and usually run from 7:30pm until half past ten. If the comedy’s not your thing though, it just so happens happy hour at the Cornerhouse is currently from 7-8pm, and if comedy is particularly your thing then why not get along to one of the Commoners Comedy Open Mic nights (on the last Sunday of each month).

COMMONERS COMEDY РThursday 9th July, The Cornerhouse CB5 8JE. 7:30-10:30pm, tickets £3 adv / £5 on the door. Full details and line up here.

Music scene must be heard!

The Man On The MoonI had originally intended to write this blog article a few months ago and for it to be about our music venues in this part of the City. I was going to lament that although the Boat Race is now long gone and Anglia Ruskin University no longer has a weekly line-up of gigs open to the public, at least we still have the Man On The Moon as a last remaining dedicated medium-sized gig venue. However, it was announced a couple of months ago the the Man On The Moon would be closing at the start of October, and even after protests it sadly did close at the start of this month.

Landlord¬†John and his family moved from the White Hart pub (which became the Back Street Bistro restaurant) on Sturton Street¬†in 2000 to take over at the Man On The Moon, and over the¬†next thirteen years the pub¬†became well known both locally and further afield for its music.¬†They’ve hosted some big names over the years – including Therapy? and Wendy James from Transvision Vamp – as well as regular music nights across all genres including hip-hop, soul and rockabilly and even lindy hop dancing.

The Man On The Moon has now been taken over by new leaseholders and a new landlord has also been chosen. Although they are keen to open the¬†pub again soon,¬†I am not yet sure when this will be¬†(the new landlord has also¬†already taken on another local pub – The Royal Standard, on Mill Road). Following on from its closure there had been a peaceful protest in the form of a community cafe¬†at the Man On The Moon,¬†but that came to an end last week. However, the previous ‘Moon team are still booking gigs at other venues and are planning for the future, so if you want to get in touch with them you can contact them via the details on their website.

Man On The Moon

Since we’re on the subject of losing music venues, it seems only right that I mention the¬†Boat Race on East Road – which I’m sure many of you will remember. It was¬†a dedicated gig venue that had music seven days a week and was known for hosting up and coming talent – the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Placebo, Oasis¬†and¬†Groove Armada¬†all played there before making it ‘big’ – including local bands and artists¬†such Right Turn Clyde, Ezio¬†and The Broken Family Band.¬†The Boat Race closed almost ten years ago – much to the dismay of local music lovers – and although there¬†were campaigns to save it¬†(and¬†bring it back ) it was sold and eventually became The Snug.

Man On The MoonOf course the Portland Arms (and¬†in recent times also¬†the Cornerhouse) put on some great gigs and are well known locally for hosting up and coming bands like Beverley Kills and favourites such as Editors, Akira The Don, Carter USM and Ellie Goulding – but it’s on the other side of town; and besides, a City with a population in excess of 120,000 surely deserves more than one dedicated¬† medium-sized venue, doesn’t it…? The last year has thankfully seen an increase in gigs happening on and around Mill Road and a number of the local pubs and cafes now have regular music nights. However, the last remaining dedicated medium sized gig venue in this part of the City¬†was the Man On The Moon.

Given the current lack of local music venue and the need for action to make sure our music scene doesn’t suffer any further, there will be a special meeting TONIGHT to talk about making¬†things happen!

The ‘Campaign for a Music Venue’ open meeting will take place at The Hopbine (sister pub to the Portland Arms) from 7:30pm. It’s a public meeting and all are welcome, so if you support the idea of creating/developing a dedicated music venue, you have some ideas on how it could work or you just want to find out more,¬†then make sure you go along tonight.

‘Campaign for a Music Venue’ open meeting – 7:30pm, Tuesday 15th October
The Hopbine, 11-12 Fair Street CB1 3HA

Your favourite High Street

The Telegraph newspaper are running a campaign called Reinventing the High Street, aiming to put the heart back into the country’s traditional high streets. People are asked to nominate their favourite simply¬†by emailing highstreet@telegraph.co.uk.

Mill Road BridgeI don’t know about you, but I think there’s something pretty special about Mill Road and I think it deserves a place among the best that the UK has to offer. Not only is¬†the Mill Road area¬†home to Cambridge’s best independent pub, coffee house, home & garden shop, specialist food shop and record shop (all awarded this year in the Discovering Cambridge awards) and home to the Independent Drinks Retailer of The Year (as voted at the UK Drinks Retailing Awards 2013) but it’s also the location of CAMRA‘s Cambridge¬†City Locale Pub Of The Year 2013. There’s a range of events on throughout the year – including the Romsey Art Festival,¬†several street parties, various beer festivals¬†and of course the forthcoming Mill Road Winter Fair – as well as regular music nights at lots of different venues; and next week sees the first ever Romsey Calling music festival on Mill Road.

Mill Road has even been used as a location for music videos (like Mikill Pane’s ‘Good Feeling‘),¬†films (Neil Morrissey was here last month filming a new movie, Caffiend), TV programmes (including Antiques Road Trip)¬†and has had residents such as¬†Douglas Adams,¬†Dave Gilmour, Syd Barrett, Angela Hartnett¬†and Amy Williams over the years. It¬†even has its own blog and its own radio show – ‘Our Mill Road‘! There’s lots more I could say about Mill Road, but too much for one blog post (hence the whole blog!) but suffice to say it’s full of community-spirited¬†individuals and groups¬†and has lots of people¬†living, working and socialising in the area and keeping Mill Road the coolest street in Cambridge.

All you need to do to nominate Mill Road is to email highstreet@telegraph.co.uk and let them know! You know what they say – there’s something about Mill Road… .

Blog birthday giveaway!

There's something about Mill Road...I’m not quite sure where the time has gone, but¬†it’s now¬†been over¬†a year since¬†‘There’s something about Mill Road’ entered the blogosphere!¬†It¬†started as a hobby that I hoped a few people might read from time to time, but I have been – and continue to be – amazed¬†by just how much interest there has been in my ramblings, not just from the Mill Road area itself¬†and Cambridge, but¬†across the UK and even beyond.

My first post¬†was about, erm, chocolate; and since then I’ve written about all sorts of Mill Road related things – from events, books¬†and recipes¬†to community projects, photography and the particularly popular topic of our local pubs. Thank you so much to everyone who has read any of my posts, been following me on Twitter¬†or who keeps up to date via¬†my Facebook page – there wouldn’t be much point without you! As a thank you to all you lovely people I¬†wanted to offer¬†the chance to win a lovely Mill Road prize, so I’ve decided to do a special giveaway. Those of you who have been following the blog may have noticed my penchant for pubs, food and art, so I thought what better than a prize¬†combining all three…

Earl of BeaconsfieldSince the Earl of Beaconsfield changed hands last year, the pub has been transformed into the place to be for music, with weekly events including the Monday night Open Mic sessions and regular Saturday night gigs – tomorrow you can catch the Watertight Jazz group and on 17th August following on from the Great Eastern Street Party, you can catch The Great Eastern Street Preachers. They have successfully carried on the tradition of serving the best pint of Guinness in Cambridge (which you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve tested and personally verified, all in the name of research…!)¬†and also now do sumptuous stone-baked pizzas. Susie & Matt at the Beaconsfield have very kindly offered ¬£30 of vouchers for the giveaway!

FrameworksFrameworks have been catering to the picture framing needs of Cambridge artists and art lovers for over twenty years and moved to their Mill Road home back in 2011, but what may be less well known is that they offer free mountboard to local school and charity groups. I love that every two weeks there’s a new exhibition to look at in their window – one of my favourites has been food artist Jimi Kazak – and during the Romsey Art Festival (which runs until 17th August) you can see the work of local artist Sarah Blake. The lovely chaps at Frameworks have offered a ¬£20 voucher for the giveaway!

ONE LUCKY PERSON WILL WIN:
2 x £10 vouchers for the Earl of Beaconsfield, each voucher entitling the recipient to one of their delicious stone-baked pizzas plus a pint/glass of wine/soft drink AND
1 x £20 voucher for Frameworks, for the recipient to spend at their picture framing shop on Mill Road.

THERE WILL ALSO BE A RUNNER-UP PRIZE OF:
РA £10 voucher for the Earl of Beaconsfield, entitling the recipient to a stone-baked pizza and drink.

To be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is one of the following:
1. Subscribe to this blog (which means you’ll be the first to hear about new blog posts, as you’ll receive a notification email) before the closing date, by entering your email address in the ‘Follow this blog’ section, near the top right of the home page. To let me know that you want¬†this¬†to count as your entry into the competition (or if you’re already following the blog)¬†please add a comment at the bottom of this blog post (or instead of a comment you can send an email to theressomethingaboutmillroad@hotmail.co.uk) by¬†the closing date.
OR
2. Follow me on Twitter and retweet any of my Twitter posts marked #MillRoadGiveaway Рonly applies to posts on/before 21st August (you can retweet more than one post if you like, but it will only count as one entry for the draw).
OR
3. If you want to double your chances you can do both of the above! ūüôā

So if you’ve acquired some art at the Romsey Art Festival and need to get it framed, or you’re looking for the perfect excuse to pop to the pub – why not enter the giveaway. Good luck! ūüôā

Rules: This giveaway is open to UK residents only and the winners will be independently drawn at random from all those who have completed step 1, 2 or 3 above by the closing date. Entry is free. Automated entries not accepted. The closing date is Wednesday 21st August at 11:59pm. The draw will take place within seven days of the closing date. When notified of their win, the prize winners will need to provide a UK postal address for their prizes to be sent to. In the event of being unable to contact the winner/s within fourteen days of the draw, another winner/s will be drawn. By entering the draw, entrants agree that in the event of them winning the competition their name and city/town can be published on this blog (and associated accounts on Twitter and Facebook).

Best indie pub

pint of beerLocal MP Julian Huppert launched his Discovering Cambridge competition in January, in order to support the independent shops and businesses we have here in Cambridge. People nominate their favourite in a different category throughout each month, with a winner announced at the end of the month. There will also be an over all winner announced at the Mill Road Winter Fair on 7th December.

The¬†Mill Road area has had winners in three of the six categories so far and now lays claim to¬†Cambridge’s best independent music shop (Rhythm Online), best independent specialist food & drink¬†outlet (Limoncello) and¬†best independent coffee shop (Hot Numbers). The category for July is best independent pub and you can nominate your favourite by email, twitter or post – see Julian Huppert’s website for more information.

Beer bottlesBest independent pub is an interesting category – the vast majority of pubs are owned by larger breweries and chains; yet¬†they are, in the main, run by a landlord and/or landlady who probably runs only that pub and who brings their own character to the place. Pubs that are part of larger breweries and chains¬†often¬†have certain restrictions placed on them (such as only being allowed to purchase their beer from a specific provider) but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t¬†plenty of¬†room for making their own unique mark in their local communities (in fact, I reckon most people would¬†be more likely able to name the¬†landlord/landlady of their local than which¬†pub company¬†it belongs to…). I’m not quite sure what definition Julian is going with for his competition (and where part-tied pubs fit in) but if it’s¬†only pubs that are not tied to¬†a larger chain or which are the only pub¬†run by that tenant/owner, then that leaves just a¬†small handful in Cambridge.

Earl of BeaconsfieldI’m going to¬†nominate the Earl of Beaconsfield – Susie¬†and Matt took over the pub last October and have made it into a really lovely¬†place that not only¬†looks after¬†its existing regulars but is welcoming to new visitors¬†too. There’s all sorts of¬†regular music nights (Sunday blues jam, Monday open mic session, Tuesday acoustic jam, Thursday Irish music session and regular jazz Saturdays) and they’re all free, the back room that was¬†previously out of bounds has now been completely transformed into a large games room, the pub now serves food¬†and the beer garden has also had a much needed makeover. They’ve also set up Facebook and Twitter accounts for the pub, as well as recently launching a brand new website. Given all the¬†hard work¬†Susie and Matt have put in to the Beaccy and the great changes that have come as a result in such a short space of time (and bearing in mind the fact that they had never run a pub before!)¬†I think they thoroughly deserve some recognition for their efforts.

Mill Road itself has lost¬†over 60%¬†of its public houses in the last twelve years alone, and now just two pubs remain.¬†So there’s never been a more important time to make sure you use your local, and the sunny weather¬†is the perfect time¬†to try out the ones you haven’t been to for a while or visited before. Just¬†don’t forget to nominate your favourite indie pub by 31st July (tomorrow!).

Summer Event & Carnival this weekend!

The Petersfield Area Community Trust (PACT)¬†are holding their Summer Event this Saturday¬†on Norfolk Street, starting at midday and running through until 5pm. There’s lots to see and do on the day, including live music,¬†street art and exhibitions, cheerleading, belly dancing, sports, facepainting, a treasure hunt and a Carnival Parade.

PACT Summer Event 2013 poster 2

There will be a charity auction, where you can bid for the chance to win¬†a days motorbike training, a Dell computer, a¬†year’s free swimming¬†or even a gallon of ale; and also a tombola, with prizes including meals for two, event tickets and a full body Swedish massage! All the prizes have been donated by local businesses, including¬†The Dobblers¬†and Kymmoy as well as Mill Road’s¬†Nutters Hair Salon and Tulip Restaurant (more information and a full list of prizes¬†can be found¬†on the PACT website). There will also be various workshops throughout the day, including a hula hooping workshop led by Siana – winner of Petersfield’s Got Talent 2012 and Bling Ya Ting 2013 – and a session run by Cambridge Community Circus.¬†For the¬†full line up of events, performances, workshops and activities, please see the PACT website.

The PACT Team are still keen to hear from anyone who can help out on Saturday Рwhether setting up, stewarding during the day or helping clear up afterwards. If you can spare a couple of hours on Saturday, please email pactcambridge@bigfoot.com. Whether you fancy your chances in the silent auction, want to see some local art, try your hand at hula-hooping or enjoy some live jazz, the PACT/Norfolk Street Summer Event looks like it will have something for everyone!

Festival comes to Mill Road…

A buskerThe Cambridge Buskers & Street Performers Festival 2013 will be taking place on the weekend of 28th-30th June. The festival, which started in 2008, sees lots of performers and musicians playing across the city and this year there‚Äôs a packed line up of performances on and around Mill Road ‚Äď including outside the Earl of Beaconsfield, Urban Larder, Perfect Pizza, Hope Street Yard and The Co-operative.

Buskers & Street Performers Festival 2013The festival programme has¬†a list of all the acts performing and the locations of each¬†– though do check the website for updates –¬†and talks about what a great area Mill Road is (see page 12)¬†and even mentions this very¬†blog! There’s lots of acts performing on all three days and on Saturday at Hope Street Yard there will also be various food stalls, including¬†Mill Road’s own Perfect Pizza and local ice cream extraordinaire¬†Jack’s Gelato. If you haven’t tried Jacks Gelato before then I highly recommend you do – as well as delectable classics such as chocolate and vanilla, Jack makes lots of other tempting flavours and¬†even his own allotment rhubarb sorbet! He can be found throughout the summer¬†at various locations around town, including Mill Road.

Gwydir Street Party poster 2013Saturday 29th June is also the day of the Gwydir Street Party Рwhich is Victorian themed this year to mark 150 years of the street Рand there will be lots of music and entertainment throughout the day including a hog roast, beer festival, circus performers, a puppet show and several stalls. So it certainly looks like the Mill Road area is the place to be for the last weekend in June!

Below is the current line-up of buskers and performers who will be around Mill Road as part of the festival.

FRIDAY 28TH JUNE
Earl of Beaconsfield:
1-2pm TJ & The Doghouse
2-3pm The Revellators Duo
8:30pm The Broadside Boys
Perfect Pizza:
1-2pm The Revellators Duo
Urban Larder:
1-2pm John Meed

SATURDAY 29th JUNE
Co-operative Mill Road:
11am-12pm The Misspent Ukes
Earl of Beaconsfield:
12-1pm The Misspent Ukes;
Further acts throughout the day TBC.
Hope Street Yard:
11-11:20am Sammy Magic
11:20-11:40 Magic Man
11:45-12:15 Sarah Louise
12:20-1pm Finkel Brothers
1:15-2pm Flaming June
2:15-3pm Tomi Komi
3:15-4:15 The Revellators Duo
4:20-5pm Music & Spies
5:10-5:50pm Hope Brothers Band
6-6:45pm Ellis & Connelly
7-8pm Broken Arrow
Perfect Pizza:
1-2pm Paul McCaffery
3-4pm Music & Spies
Urban Larder:
12-1pm Paul McCaffery

SUNDAY 30th JUNE
Co-operative Mill Road:
12-1pm Paul McCaffery
1-2pm The Times
2-3pm Cate Williams
3-4pm Ain’t Misbehavin
Earl of Beaconsfield:
1-2pm Rebecca Heyne
2-3pm Flaming June
3-4pm Gog Magog Molly
Perfect Pizza:
1-2pm Ain’t Misbehavin
2-3pm Paul McCaffery
Urban Larder:
12-1pm Rhythm & Shoes
1-2pm Paul McCaffery
2-3pm Ain’t Misbehavin’
3-4pm Graham Hazel