The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Gloucestershire Edition

The Muddy Guide – Thu 9 March to Wed 15 March

9 Mar 2017

There’s a whole lot going on this week, as Cheltenham Race week kicks off. Also on the menu – macaroons, kitchen sink drama and a wine and cheese movie night.

Peter Hook and The Light, Gloucester Guildhall, Thu 9 March

Back in the day, if you wanted to tie your street cred to a band, it didn’t get much cooler than Joy Division and its later incarnation New Order. Relive those arch, post-punk, synth-pop days on Thursday when bassist and co-founder Peter Hook, with his band The Light, brings the Substance tour to Gloucester’s Guildhall. The two singles compilation albums (originally conceived as a way for Factory Records boss Tony Wilson to play the New Order singles on the CD player of his new Jag) feature old favourites, including Love Will Tear Us Apart, True Faith and Blue Monday (which was the only song that would get the cool boys on the dance floor back when I was in the sixth form a loooong time ago).

Bristol Film Festival, Thu 9-12 March

After its successful launch last year, the Bristol Film Festival returns to the city on Thursday kicking off with a screening of Master And Commander on, wait for it, the SS Great Britain! And if you want don’t want to test your sea legs, but still want to get legless, also on Thursday is a screening of Sideways, the 2004 comedy that follows two middle-aged men’s misadventures through Santa Barbara Wine County, at Bristol wine merchant Avery, where you kick off the evening with a glass of cava and move on to do a whole lot more wine tasting (with cheese to line your stomach) while you watch the film. Brings back memories of drinking along to Withnail And I! There are loads of other great films being shown in imaginative locations, from a Kubrick double bill (Dr Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange) in a cave fashioned as an eerie Cold War-style bunker to a candlelit screening of the 1923 classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Bristol Cathedral with live organ accompaniment. 

French Macaroons Masterclass, Harts Barn Cookery School, Longhope, Sat 11 March

Ooh, don’t these look pretty – I can see why there are 923,167 hashtags of macaroons on Instagram! So in a bid to make it a million why not learn how to create these photographic, sweet bites of delight yourself and bring some culinary cuteness to your feed? At Harts Barn Cookery School’s hands-on class on Saturday you can spend the afternoon designing flavours from lavender to raspberry, chocolate to lime, and filling the beauties with ganache, buttercream and anything else your imagination can dream up. Don’t forget to get the money shot before you scoff them!

Abigail’s Party, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Mon 13 – Sat 18 March

Mike Leigh’s classic comedy is 40 this year and is doing an anniversary tour of the country before it hits the West End, cheering up the provinces with some belly laughs. The drinks party from hell will bring back memories if you’re a 1970s kid like me (swirly wallpaper, mustard yellow upholstery, shag-pile carpets), making you cringe and giggle in equal measure, as Abigail, played by Amanda Abbington (Mary in Sherlock and Martin Freeman’s ex) plies her guests with alcohol, fags and Demis Roussos.

Gold Cup preview night, The Hollow Bottom, Guiting Power, Mon 13 March

Cheltenham Race Week kicks off on Tuesday and to get everyone in the mood, Guiting Power’s local, The Hollow Bottom, is hosting a preview night hosted by Racing UK’s Alex Steedman. And then, for each day of the festival, you can make the pub your home, with breakfast served from 8.30am (with the obligatory Racing Post for reading matter), lunch served all day, racing shown live on multiple screens, live music in the bar at night and beer on tap. Might as well write the week of now then.

Ladies Day, Cheltenham Festival, Wed 15 March

Dust off your hats sisters, it’s your day at the Cheltenham Races on Wednesday. I can’t help thinking about the Peaky Blinders Derby day episode when I think of the races now, but hopefully there’ll be less casualties, indeed, no casualties and you can just concentrate on pulling off a great look. Annabelle Wallis’s Grace is as good inspiration as any with her artfully wavy hair the perfect do under a hat (and Cillian Murphy on your arm would look pretty fetching too). Last year’s winner Yvonne McAvoy took the honours for Best Dressed Ladies Competition with a stunning green outfit (pictured above), proving the luck of the Irish. Note fur collar and buttoned-up coat – and the forecast isn’t looking too special this year either.

Tom Jones at Kingsholm, Sun 25 June

Today (that’s Thu 9 March) tickets go on sale for Sir Tom’s return to Kingsholm this summer. He sold out the stadium in 2012 and I’ve no doubt the silver fox will be a sell-out this year too. So quick! Don’t miss your chance to see him gyrate to his last six decades of hits. He’s still got, oh yeaahh!

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Gloucestershire Edition