Cambridge, England – July 2001

If you had been down in Harston this week you might have had a bit of a shock. If you had been walking past my house last Wednesday night, on your way perhaps to the local pub, then you would have been rewarded with the sight of my near naked body well and truly jammed in my bathroom window. Which I can assure you is not a sight for the squeamish.

It all started when I decided to take my green campaign a stage further and, instead of driving to Cambridge, cycle there for my meeting. What I didn’t remember was that my door key was on my car key ring and that the Blonde was also out that night at some posh dinner. Consequently, when I got home (slightly worse for wear after several pints in the pub) I had two choices; either wait on the doorstep till the Blonde came home (probably drunk) at 3am or try to break into my house through the second floor bathroom window which I had left open and looked impossibly small.

After a few drunken attempts to climb onto the roof I popped next door to ask to borrow a ladder. The next door neighbour had just come home, and for some reason I didn’t quite feel comfortable with prying into, was wearing a boy scout’s uniform. Thankfully he lent me a ladder and offered to hold it for me whilst I scrambled onto the roof. Then the fun really began.

After a few attempts to squeeze my overfed frame through the tiny window my Scout Master neighbour convinced me that it wasn’t my impossibly broad shoulders which were preventing me form slipping Bill Sikes-like through the window but my jacket and t-shirt. Being slightly worse for wear, and desperate not to spend the night on the doorstep I took off my shirt and jacket and tried again to force myself through. This seemed to work until I got stuck at waist level. Quite sensibly off came my jeans and boots.

Now this wouldn’t have been a problem if the other next-door neighbour hadn’t decided to look out the window at that moment. She took one look one look at me prancing around on the steeply inclined roof in my boxer shorts and screamed. This was the boost I needed and with a mighty push I finally managed to slide through the open window. In my excitement I didn’t notice that I managed to scrape half the skin off my sides and it wasn’t until the next day, when I could hardly walk, that the extent of my injuries became apparent. Needless to say I got no sympathy at work and a stern lecture from the Blonde for upsetting the neighbour.

Without further ado I shall quickly move on to this month’s guide to Cambridge.

This month I turn my eye to the artistic life in Cambridge. According to the local tourist information brochure I picked up a few days ago, ‘Cambridge has many talented and distinguished artists. A few enjoy a well-deserved lifestyle, others have not been recognised for their efforts, dedication, originality and skill’. After a few more pages of pretentious dribble, ‘the Cambridge open studios may help to rectify this anomaly’.

Which is a great idea. And so this month (July 2001), a number of small artists open their studios for the public in an attempt to raise awareness and hopefully flog some pieces so that they can eat this month. Actually, one disgruntled artist told me that Cambridge Open Studios exists for the purposes of promoting the making of original works of art and craft, and to provide an opportunity for the public to become involved in the arts by meeting artists in their studios, seeing their work and how it is produced.

The catalogue looks intriguing to say the least and it’s quite hard to pick out specific exhibitions or shows which might be worth seeing.

The first exhibition which caught my eye was Fernando Caceres (7 Haymarket Rd, Cambridge, Tel 01223 513075). Fernando is an Andean Peruvian artist whose work is based on the analysis and legends and myths of his native country. He will be throwing his studio open on July 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22.

Browsing through the catalogue the next artist who caught my eye was Ellie Collins (5 Green’s Rd Cambridge, 01223 360237). Her work is described as a focus on the trivial and sub-cultural, often eschewing the use of brushed marks to initiate diverse directional tensions within the confines of the image. Whatever that means… Her studio will be open July 14-15 and July 21-22.

Katy Bailey (101 Milton Rd Cambridge, 01223 565519) has an interesting collection of passionate, strong-based drawings exploring the power and beauty of the nude. She throws open her doors July 21-22 and July 28-29.

Full details of the exhibitions can be found at:

Email enquiries can be made to:

The artists involved can be found here:

Further exhibitions around the region this month include;

Babylon Gallery – Ely

A preview exhibition for the Cambridge Open studios will be held between 8th June and 15th July.

Julia Heffer Gallery

A selected display of work by Cambridge Open Studio artists in this centrally located art and craft gallery. Runs from 2-31 July.

Cambridge Central Library

Lion Yard, Cambridge

A wall and showcase display of artists’ work in the Lending Section of the Library.

July 2 – 14 Monday & Thursday 9.30 – 7, Tuesday, Friday & Saturday 9.30 – 5, Wednesday 12 – 7

Philip’s Beer of the Month

Each month I shall, at considerable personal risk to my liver, selected a beer of the month from my local supermarket.

This month’s tipple is the wonderfully named Old Fart (£2 from Waitrose). This 5% volume beer is manufactured by Merrimans Brewery. According to the label it’s made from the finest malt and hops and was conceived in celebration of all the cantankerous old boozers who make life a misery. And how does it taste? Smooth, malty with a little bit of a bitter aftertaste. Highly recommendable.

Well, that’s about all for another month. I am off to Liverpool next weekend and the North Sea jazz Festival the following weekend – both of which I shall be writing about for BootsnAll. I shall try to squeeze in a couple of trips to Germany in the coming weeks as well.

Have a good month wherever you are in the world. Ja Mata!!

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