Christian has worked on the river as a tour guide as long as he has been in Cambridge. It began about 12 years ago for him and in 2010 he decided to take the plunge (no pun intended), convinced a local carpenter to have a stab at making two punts, and with his savings Christian began to run his very own business as a private river tour guide.
The country boy from a small village in rural East Germany had upped and left with pigeon English, a fishing rod and had managed to find himself living in Cambridge running his own business in the tourism industry. For anyone who lives in Cambridge, you will no doubt be privy the grueling activity of what is brutally known as ‘punt wars’. I will spare the innocent with the details, they are not pleasant and are in any case mostly untrue. Blown out of proportion like the tales you might well be told upon the backs of the river itself. To cut a very long-winded story short, Christian wanted out!
One day came home to announce his desire to run a pop-up cinema. Thinking of how much fun we had with our home made cinema, I said yes but in all seriousness expected him to forget about the idea just as quickly as he’d taken his boots off. 3 months later, he mentioned it again and then again after another 2.
Taking him for his word, I began to book up venues. At this point, I should point out, we didn’t actually have any equipment; just a banged up projector that I had been given by someone I am now out of touch with and a bed sheet that we used as a screen. Naturally I avoided parting with this information when cold calling locations as I saw how ridiculous I would then appear if they knew.
The next time Christian mentioned he wanted to run a pop-up cinema, I told him that his luck was in … because we’d already been booked to do a couple of screenings. After swallowing the oversized mouthful of hummus and bread a little harder than he planned, he sat down, wide eyed and thought about the news I’d just given him. Before I had time to sit down myself he began googling cinema screens for all he was worth.
The next steps have been relatively easy; we’ve brought screening licenses and insurances, we ventured down to Portsmouth to buy our cinema chairs for our open air auditorium. We’ve written press releases, we’ve been on planes to Europe to meet projectionists and screen specialist. We’ve counted out savings, and spent it all on popcorn machines and silent disco headphones, we’ve learnt more about computers and websites and logos and technology within this venture than we have learnt in a lifetime. But most importantly we have taken a leap of faith, we have said ‘fuck-it’ to the man and have gone all out. And, we have booked more venues and that feels right.
It is a simple question; what do you want from life? For us, it is not to be owned, to worry, to join the rat race, but to dream, to hope and maybe, just maybe to fly!