Things to do before the end of May

Saturday 1st June is the date of this year’s Strawberry Fair – rumoured to be the UK’s largest free one-day festival. But there’s lots to see and do before then – from art exhibitions and talks to live music and theatre – so here’s a taster of what’s coming up around Mill Road…

Tiger Blue

Tiger Blue duo

SATURDAY 25th
Landmark Seizures project Special Closing EventStation Buildings (opposite Swiss Laundry, next to Station Cycles), from 12pm. Discussion, readings + performances throughout the day, with a special party 7-9pm. Hosted by Aid & Abet.
Cancer Research Fundraiser
St Matthews Church, 12-3pm. Cakes, DVD’s, books, toys & handmade items for sale.
Tiger Blue duo – Earl of Beaconsfield, 8:30-11pm.
Last Gang In Town – the Man on the Moon, from 7:30pm. Music from: New Town Kings + Defekters + Last Gang DJ’s.

SUNDAY 26th
Blues Jam – Earl of Beaconsfield, from 8:30pm.
Surviving Strings – The Brook, 8:30pm. Acoustic duo playing hits from the 60’s through to present day.

MONDAY 27th
Open Mic Night – Earl of Beaconsfield, from 8:30pm.
Irish music session – The White Swan, 9-11pm.
Quiz night – The Six Bells, starts 9pm.

Earl of BeaconsfieldTUESDAY 28th
Acoustic Jam – Earl of Beaconsfield, from 9pm. Hosted by Johnny Wright, all welcome.
Dr Doodleys Drink & Draw – Hot numbers Café, 7:30-9:30pm. This fortnights theme is picture books and is hosted by Simon Prescott.
Quiz Night – The Dobblers, from 9pm. This weeks top prize is a rollover of £57.

THURSDAY 30th
Katharine Rose – Hot Numbers Café, 7:30-10pm. Indie/folk piano and singing.
Irish music session – Earl of Beaconsfield, from 9-11pm.
Quiz Night – The Brook, starts 9pm.
Four Farces – Mumford Theatre, 7:30pm. A selection of one-act farces presented by the European Arts Company.
All about CamLETS – CB1 Café, 7:30-9pm. Talk with Richard Robertson about Cambridge’s local exchange and trading system – CamLETS.Drink & Draw exhibition

ALL MONTH
Dr Doodley’s Drink & Draw Artists annual exhibitionHot Numbers Café, runs until 31st May. Over fifteen artists who attend Drink & Draw exhbiting their work.
Mohammed Djazmi ‘s ‘Social Commentary’ exhibition – Williams Art, until 31st May.
Jill Eastland’s ‘Our Land, Our Lives’ exhibition – The Six Bells, until 31st May.

Do check with venues/organisers for more info and updates.

Mill Road Shindig!

Shindig is a regular gig night that aims to bring together music and arts all in one event. It has been running since last year and this week it’s coming to Mill Road! Each gig is different and organiser Wesley Freeman-Smith says that the aim is to:
break down barriers between creative disciplines so that visual artists, musicians, spoken word and performance artists can work together to make something unique”.

Shindig PosterOn Saturday 26th January Shindig will be at St Philips on Mill Road and Wesley describes the event as “three acts of diverse heritage, all held together by the luminous thread that is narrative”. The show includes punk/folk/rock/pop film and book soundtracks from the Retrospective Soundtrack Players; psychological instrumental sounds from Subzar and their new EP ‘I Am Not Yet Here’; and folk/pop from Anglo-American duo Rue Royale. Fay Roberts, J S Watts and Emily Scialom will also be performing and other local authors, poets and wordsmiths are welcome to get involved – for more information please check out Shindig’s Facebook page.

We’ve got a lot of talented creative people locally and I think this sounds like just the kind of thing Cambridge needs. In fact, as Wesley himself says:
Cambridge has never lacked talent, but it has lacked an appropriate venue to showcase this, and some sense of cohesion between everyone’s creative bubbles”.
So if you’re free on Saturday and fancy a gig with a difference, why not pop along to Shindig!

Shindig – Rue Royale/Subzar/Retrospective Soundtrack Players + guests
Saturday 26th January, 8pm at St Philips Church (185 Mill Road CB1 3AN).
Tickets £6 advance/£8 on the door – see the event’s Facebook page or Wegottickets

Mill Road Winter Fair 2012

SnowflakeJust in case you haven’t heard, tomorrow is the most important day in the Mill Road calendar – Mill Road Winter Fair! There will be plenty to see and do up and down the length of Mill Road as well as on many of the nearby streets; and if past years are anything to go by, any sort of plan I make will soon disappear as lots of other exciting things are discovered along the way…

Chocolate & Guinness CakeOne of my favourite parts of the Fair over the years has been the compliments booth outside Lifecraft – last year I received some very kind words and was also given an inspirational scroll to keep. This year they will be opening their doors and will have a selection of artwork and goodies for sale inside, as well as a performance from the Lifecraft Singers. I’m looking forward to visiting the Afternoon Tease stall (Gwydir Street car park) with its selection of lovely cakes, including chocolate and Guinness cake – which, given my adoration of the two main ingredients, feels like it was invented just for me! Keeping with the cake theme, I’m tempted to pop along to Cutlacks, where the will be a cake decorating demonstration (I need to learn!) as well as beer and wine tasting – which should keep Mr Mill Road happy too.

Argyle Street Housing Co-op gardensThe car park at Argyle Street Housing Co-operative (ASH Co-op is on the east side of Mill Road bridge) is well known for being a hub of activity at the Fair and this year looks set to be no exception. There will be an open marquee with music from Tariq Muhammed & The Africelt Connection and Dave Crow Barr playing some punk tunes with his electric cello. There’s also music from Jam Band Caravan, who will be playing their mixture of folk-rock, roots and reggae, as well as lots of other musicians throughout the day. The Arco Iris Samba Band traditionally play each year and I am told their performance this year should be at around 1:45pm. The Mayor of Cambridge also usually pays a visit to ASH Co-op during the Fair (in fact, some of you may remember watching former MP David Howarth and former mayor Jenny Bailey pedalling away to keep the the bicycle-powered sound system going a few years back!).

Mill Road Winter Fair 2009If you want to know more about T’ai Chi then who better to advise than the Vice-President of the T’ai Chi union of Great Britain! He and others will be on hand at the Grey Heron stall at ASH Co-op to advise about this martial art known for its health and meditative benefits, as well as other health and wellbeing practices.There will also be other information stalls as well as all sorts of goodies to treat yourself with or to buy as Christmas presents. Look out for chestnuts, chocolate truffles and a stall selling homemade chutneys – including a yummy sounding combination of onion and orchard apple, which I have heard described by others as ‘Christmas in a jar’! There’s also a stall selling a range of second-hand books as well as toys and games.

Mill Road trees in winterThere are lots of other things going on at the Fair. If you’re in Romsey then look out for special offers at Balv’s Hair & Wigs near the bridge and Billy’s off licence next door; and if you need warming up in the cold weather, the Earl of Beaconsfield has music and will be happy to serve you a free cup of coffee. If you’re looking for activities for your little ones then you will find a bouncy castle, face-painting and story-telling at Romsey Mill, a puppet show at St Philips Church at 3pm and Santa himself will be appearing at the Empress pub on Thoday Street from 3-5pm. If you find yourself on the Petersfield side of the bridge then I would recommend popping along to Lally’s News, where there will be some lovely vegetarian Punjabi food, with all proceeds this year going towards children at Addenbrookes Hospital; and just a few metres away you will find Andrew Northrop’s Butchers serving some lovely warming sausages.

I could go on, but the best thing about Mill Road Winter Fair is just taking a walk along Mill Road and seeing what you discover… Hope everyone has a great Fair!