This Sunday I am performing at two typically Cambridge events…
The first event is the annual Strawberry Sundae – a bank holiday benefit for Strawberry Fair free festival. All day fundraising in the Portland Arms, looks like a sparkling line-up of music, poetry and spoken word. I’m looking forward to taking the stage at around 4pm.
The second event starting at 6.30pm at the CUC building in town, is the closing event for the Nasty Women – Cambridge Sisters Exhibition that has been running all week. The feminist art collective are raising money for CWRC and Rape Crisis, defending women’s rights in the city.
These two events in that seem to me to embody all that is quintessentially “Cambridge”, what I mean is that these events reflect Cambridge “memes” that I knew about before I even moved here.
After squatting in London for several years I arrived randomly in the mid-nineties at Drummer Street bus station with little more than a rucksack, and a couple of vague notions concerning Syd Barratt and an imaginary job in a bookshop. Aside from that I knew two other things about Cambridge – one of them came from Atilla The Stockbroker – “I’m going down to Cambridge to Strawberry Fair with a doggy on a string…” But as I rode in on the bus a traffic sign read “Cambridge Welcomes you… to go somewhere else please”.
The second thing I knew was an appealing rumour about the women here. Before I left Hackney I was twice taken aside by friends, in hushed voices, and told of the terrifying strident feminists of old Cambridge Town.
“Beware” They said “It was the Cambridge Women Anarchists who went on the rampage in Soho’s red light district after the CJA protests in Trafalgar Square. Fired up feminists vandalising sex shops and frightening the pimps”.
That seems to me to be at the heart of what Cambridge is about – Strawberry Fair and Nasty Women. Both of them on this Sunday too.
Copies of “The Short Answer” flash fiction chapbook will be on sale at both events.
Hope to see you there!