Open Cambridge 2014

Open Cambridge was hugely popular this year.The city was absolutely thronged with people. I got a chance to visit the Real Tennis court in Cambridge, have a tour of the Senate House, miraculously get entrance into Queen’s College Old Library and on the way home free entry into the Folk Museum. Am looking forward to Open Cambridge 2015!

Thesis review

Online video sharing my experience of being a PhD student at Leicester – only for student at the University of Leicester I’m afraid.

Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2014

I was in Norwich today for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and it was wonderful. Of course the lovely warm sunshine helped the day go with a swing but the entertainment really was superb. As we were only there for the day we didn’t have time to do most of the things. The Festival is running between Friday 9th May and Sunday 25th May and there are numerous activities to take part in. Today we had a super time at ‘The Garden Party’ in Chapelfield Gardens and outside the Forum. It was nice to be back in Norwich and really lovely to bump into Adam and Jo and their little family in Chapelfield. In between picnics and trips into the centre to listen to Swervy World busking and to partake of a nice cup of tea we saw acrobatics, bands and amusing shows. Andres and Ellie enjoyed a ride in the ‘The Astronauts’ Caravan’ – quite literally a caravan that turned around tricking its occupants into thinking they were moving too. We all really enjoyed watching the stunning La Ballade de Bergerac, a show by the Lost in Translation Circus and their amazing acrobatics. We danced (somewhat badly and embarrassingly) to the Orkestra Del Sol and admired the Anchors Aweigh carousel – a people powered carousel ride for children. We marvelled at the Haywood Hix show ‘Works’ – their silent organisation of the crowd and elaborate setting up of a whole chain of interactions presumably in homage to Newton’s Third Law. We ended the day by watching Acrojou’s show Frantic a comment on our obsession with busyness. We went home tired, a little sunburnt but very happy.

Craxton at the Fitz

It’s been a wonderful few months at the Fitzwilliam while the John Craxton exhibition has been on. His post 1945 work was particularly stunning, especially the large pictures of sailors and goat-herders all depicted in bright displays of light and colour. Judging by the photographs that were in the exhibition he certainly knew how to jazz up the Greek isle of Crete into something tantamount to a feast of Cubist travel brochure tourism delight.

Martin Rees – Our Universe and others

I’ve just got back from a lecture by Martin Rees (of Astronomer Royal fame) at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences. What an interesting speaker he is! Some thought provoking questions were raised such as – could there be numerous Big Bangs and multiple universes? He talked of the horizon of what we could see and how much bigger the universe might actually be. I was throughly convinced of the multiverse I have to say. He reminded us how far cosmology had come in just a couple of hundred years, the cosmological constants that are now established and the divide between the quantum and gravity fields of science. Of course there was a mention of the Harvard announcement today that they’d found gravitational waves thereby proving Einstein’s last unproved theory. Evidence of an expanding universe – tick! In an exceedingly humble ending Professor Rees said Physics had a long way to go. Learning the rules of the universe was he surmised like deducing the rules of chess and it’s a long way from doing that to becoming a Grand Master. All in all a fascinating talk.

Agenda – Online Broadsheet

Fantastic to see two of my poems in Agenda‘s latest online broadsheet. You can read ‘First Communion’ and ‘What you brought with you here here.

Suzi Shimwell on KUSP’s poetry show

Exciting times as 2013 ends – I hit the radio in Santa Cruz last week. You can hear the interview and my poems online. Many thanks to Gwynne Harris for interviewing me and Dennis Morton for having me on the show.

Richard III – Free Online Course

Leicester University have launched a free online course all about Richard III so proud is it of the King they found in a car park. It’s fantastic to see universities opening their doors to the public and offering free education. The Leicester course is in collaboration with Futurelearn an organisation that has the sole aim of bring free online course from major university to people who want them.

Literary Leicester 2013

Literary Leicester has been fantastic this year – I’m particularly pleased with myself because I managed to go to almost everything. It’s all been so good it’s hard to choose the best but I did enjoy listening to Amitav Ghosh (who came all the way from India for the event) talking about his character based approach to writing, Jo Shapcott reading her bee poems, Michael Schmidt religious explorations and the sheer energy of Paula Byrne was astounding. Sadly Antonia Fraser was taken ill on her way up so we didn’t get a chance to see her. Luckily it’s not over yet…I’m just off to see Roger McGough and tonight we’re going to be treated to an evening with Michael Frayn

Saturday Night at the Opera – Turandot at the Royal Opera House

Saturday evening Andres and I hot footed it to London to see Turandot at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Sitting up in the gods we got to peer down through the red and gold decoration of the theatre to the red and black of the stage. It was a wonderful performance. Marco Berti singing the part of Calaf was my favourite, his voice was just fantastically rich and deep and brought a wonderful warmth to the stage and the audience was just wild for Eri Nakamura’s performance of Liu. The Opera House is an interesting place to wander around and has several restaurants and bars. The sympathetic renovation melds well with the modern addition to the building and I particularly liked the roof space where we got to look down on the pedestrians in Covent Garden and hear the music of the street performers float up to us. It was just amazing to see the performance again after the last time I was there 20 years ago. And of course entirely different watching it to being on the stage!